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June 30, 2022

How Certa helped Box reduce onboarding cycle times by over 78%

Challenge

Following their IPO in 2015, one of the most closely followed IPOs in history, Box, the cloud content management platform, continued to grow. Continued growth has its own unique challenges, though. Linda Chuan, Head of Strategic Sourcing and Procurement Operations at Box, who has worked in the sourcing and procurement field for over 25 years at every type of company, from smaller startups to Fortune 100 companies, had seen this before.

Chuan knew how data can easily become siloed and information and contracts can get misplaced, lost, or take an inordinate amount of time to track down. She wanted to prevent this from happening as Box grew further, and knew that enabling a view into the suppliers that the company’s various departments were bringing on board was crucial. 

“Without visibility—into how much spend was with a supplier, if it was a strategic or critical supplier to the company, or how we manage it—it would be very, very difficult for me to do my job,” said Chuan. “Supplier lifecycle management is critical for me as a head of procurement, in order for me to be able to proactively manage that supply base and provide my C-suite with recommendations.”


Box wanted to institute transformative change in the way its partners onboarded suppliers. The company knew that a major competitive differentiator in the future would be visibility into the onboarding process, from ticketing to approvals to contract fulfillment. Box wanted onboarding to happen faster, for communication around who owned which approval and at what point in the process to be clearer, and to avoid a lack of transparency that might hamstring the lifecycle management process at points. One area that Chuan wanted to enable quickly was a means to capture metrics that would help identify the fast or slow parts of the onboarding process. With those in place, pinpointing the specific steps that needed to be addressed to improve cycle times would be easy.

Box set out with a goal to cut the cycle time of getting a supplier reviewed and onboarded. After a comprehensive RFP process, the company decided that bringing Certa on board was the best bet it had to transform its lifecycle management processes to an efficient, flexible system that sped up its business and empowered procurement teams.

Solution

Certa provided a complete end-to-end third party lifecycle management platform that was exactly what Box needed to bring its supplier onboarding to where it needed to be, now and into the future. The first step was to roll out the supplier onboarding portion of the solution, then workflow approval and command collaboration, and e-signature automation and other functions. 

According to Chuan, another one of the reasons Certa stood out among its competitors was it was the only solution Box was looking at that supported parallel workflows, which is a crucial tool in reducing onboarding times. No longer would Box’s procurement team need to handle approvals in a rigid, sequential order, whether or not one approval was actually dependent on another; the functionality to simultaneously request approvals from disparate departments was a game-changer for the company.

The user-friendly UI was another major plus as Box implemented the Certa platform; that was a must for Chuan, as even the most functionally impressive solution is not very useful if the interface is so bad that it’s hard to get widespread user adoption. 

Certa worked closely with Box and especially Chuan to implement the solution. “They were easy to work with,” she said. “I see Certa as a partner because they’ve been truly invested in my success—I saw that in the implementation.”

Looking forward, Box plans to add on other Certa modules to increase efficiency. “I can’t wait to roll out the self-service configuration platform,” Chuan said. “That way we don’t need to ask the Certa team for help—we can do it ourselves when it comes to small tweaks and configuration changes.”

Results 

With Certa, Chuan reported, “we have been able to reduce our cycle times by over 78%.”

“The business impact of working with Certa has been tremendous,” said Chuan. “Not only do I have a centralized view of the processes, but everyone comes through this mechanism. Anyone can request practically anything they would need to engage a supplier, whether a proof of concept agreement, an RFP, a renewal contract, or a new supplier contract. That means I have visibility into all that data, and I know how long it’s going to take the process to move from supplier request and onboarding to contract completion.”

Chuan has also seen a significant cultural impact at Box since Certa came on board. In the years since Box has become a public, global company, its dealings across industries and the world have come with increased requirements, laws, and regulations where it needs to remain compliant. With Certa on board, there’s a cultural awareness at Box that the responsibility that comes with being a global company is being met: a formalized process to evaluate and bring on suppliers, review contracts to manage commercial and legal risk, and so on.

“As Box continues to grow internationally, and as we mature our responsibilities to the company and our stakeholders, working with Certa helps us make sure we are bringing on less risky supplier relationships and work better with the suppliers that we do leverage,” Chuan said. “With Certa I’m able to enable the business to act on this increased awareness of supplier risk—I have this tool that’s easy to use and easy for suppliers to engage with and provide me with the information I need.”

For Chuan, this is just the beginning of an exciting future for her team. “I believe the future of procurement is that we will become the central nervous system of the entire company. We connect all of the different functions together. And with the help of Certa, we can have the visibility needed to do so.”

Also, check out a video of Box's testimonial here!

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