Just Eat General Counsel James Sporle on How He Drives Alignment and Efficiency

September 4, 2019 • Contract Management • 6 minutes

What’s for dinner? A dreaded question heard in most households around the world that Just Eat, the world’s largest online takeaway ordering and delivery service, has been making easier to answer since 2001. A pioneer and leader within the online food and delivery landscape, Just​ ​Eat​ serves up the world’s largest menu to more than 26 Million active customers by providing an easy and secure way to order and pay for food from more than 100,000 Restaurant Partners, across 13 countries, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 


Millions of customers, thousands of partners, and subsidiaries across the globe catapulted Just Eat to the FTSE 100 in 3 years—Just Eat’s growth seems to be fueled by jet propulsion. Because a business’ ability to grow is directly dependent on their ability to ink agreements, their legal team had to create an agreements process that moves as fast their business does, reconciling speed and compliance, for an industry that never sleeps. How does the legal team keep up? James Sporle, General Counsel at Just Eat tells us how they leverage contract management technology to meet demands.


Talk about your process before implementing contract management technology. What the catalyst was to evaluating a contract management solution? “[Before] We were still using manual analog processes to store contracts and to execute them,“ ​James​ ​Sporle,​ Group ​General​ ​Counsel,​ at ​​Just​ ​Eat says. “We​ ​used​ ​to​ ​do​ ​the​ ​typical:​ ​create​ ​contract,​ ​email,​ ​download,​ ​edit,​ ​and​ ​email​ ​or​ ​fax back-and-forth​ ​methods.​ ​Some​ ​of​ ​our​ ​vendors​ ​even​ ​preferred​ ​actual​ ​mail,​ ​which​ ​created bottlenecks​ ​in​ ​getting​ ​the​ ​signatures​ ​we​ ​needed​ ​quickly.​ ​And​ ​if​ ​you’re​ ​familiar​ ​with​ ​contracts, you​ ​know​ ​the​ ​issues​ ​this​ ​type​ ​of​ ​negotiation​ ​process​ ​can​ ​create,​ ​especially​ ​where​ ​compliance​ ​is concerned.”


When James says typical he means it. Around 90% of the world’s businesses are likely still manually managing their contracts and agreements process, resulting in inefficiency translating to time and revenue loss. IACCM estimates that revenue loss to be around 9.2% of the total revenue of an organization. What challenges specifically was Just Eat facing? “The two biggest challenges that we were facing…were time and e-signature,” said James.


It wasn’t all about the numbers, however. Aside from the business needs, James wanted to drive more impact across the organization and change the perception of the legal team. Knowing the importance of an agreement to the organization, he knew changing his agreements process was the way to do it. “Our​ ​main​ ​goal​ ​when​ ​we​ ​started​ ​was​ ​ultimately​ ​to​ ​change​ ​the​ ​perception​ ​of​ ​contracts​ ​and​ ​how we​ ​handled​ ​them​ ​at​ ​Just​ ​Eat.​ Contracts​ ​hold​ ​valuable​ ​information​ ​for​ ​the​ ​history​ ​of​ ​the​ ​organization​ ​and​ ​what’s​ ​planned​ ​for​ ​the future.​ ​If​ ​we​ ​can​ ​leverage​ ​that​ ​data​ ​we​ ​can​ ​make​ ​smarter,​ ​more​ ​strategic​ ​decisions—we’ll​ ​have more​ ​insight​ ​into​ ​more​ ​opportunities​ ​that​ ​fuel​ ​growth.” 


In​ ​2016 ​Just​ ​Eat decided​ ​to​ ​purchase​ ​a​ ​contract​ ​management​ ​platform​, looking to ​increase​ ​scalability and​ ​remove​ ​compliance​ ​friction​ ​by​ ​bringing​ ​all​ ​their​ ​people,​ ​processes,​ ​and​ ​documents together​ ​in​ ​one​ ​place. 


For those unfamiliar with an RFP process, it can be an arduous and time-consuming. To achieve their lofty goals of ​improving ​collaboration​ ​and​ ​accelerating the agreements process and negotiations, delivering more revenue and value to the organization and their customers, all while maintaining​ ​compliance, Just Eat sought out a robust, holistic solution that would empower them to manage every document, across all subsidiaries, all in one place.​ They needed to evaluate multiple solutions, and the search began. 


In 2016 Just Eat found what they were looking for. 


We chose Concord, James said, because, “Unlike​ ​other​ ​contract​ ​management​ ​solutions​ ​we​ ​looked​ ​at​ ​that​ ​take​ ​months​ ​to​ ​implement, Concord’s​ ​platform​ ​was​ ​up​ ​and​ ​running​ ​in​ ​a​ ​couple​ ​weeks.​ ​Aside​ ​from​ ​the​ ​quick implementation,​ ​Concord​ ​provided​ ​training​ ​throughout​ ​the​ ​onboarding​ ​and​ ​beyond.​ ​The​ ​platform was​ ​intuitive​ ​and​ ​simple​ ​to​ ​use,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​training​ ​was​ ​especially​ ​helpful​ ​for​ ​best​ ​practices​ ​when​ ​it came​ ​to​ ​setup​ ​and​ ​organization.”  Initially​ ​on boarding ​60 users across ​Legal,​ ​Marketing,​ ​and​ ​Contract​ ​Managers,​ ​in France​ ​and​ ​the​ ​UK,​ Just Eat has now successfully on boarded more than 500 people organization wide—​Marketing,​​ ​Finance, Property,​ ​Business​ ​Intelligence,​ ​HR,​ ​Operations,​ ​and​ ​IT—​across​ ​multiple​ ​subsidiaries​ ​globally, and in less than 2 years. 


What did this mean for legal team? What did it mean for the agreements process and how they were managing their contracts? “​Before​ ​Concord,​ ​contracts​ ​were​ ​cumbersome​ ​and​ time-consuming,​ ​slowing​ ​down​ ​business,” Sporle said. “When​ ​we​ ​started​ ​using​ ​Concord​ ​it​ ​quickly​ ​became​ ​apparent​ ​how​ ​powerful​ ​the​ ​platform​ ​really was,​ ​and​ ​what​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​value​ ​we​ ​could​ ​see​ ​by​ ​implementing​ ​it​ ​company-wide.​ ​The​ ​visibility​ ​it’s given​ ​us​ ​into​ ​our​ ​entire​ ​contract​ ​portfolio​ ​has​ ​helped​ ​us​ ​accelerate​ ​growth​ ​while​ ​maintaining compliance,​ ​which​ ​is​ ​what​ ​we​ ​need​ ​to​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​be​ ​competitive​ ​in​ ​today’s​ ​business​ ​landscape. Coming into the search for a contract management solution Just Eat has met their goals for efficiency and delivering revenue. James continued, “Our​ ​time-to-signature​ ​has​ ​shortened​ ​drastically,​ ​and​ ​that’s​ ​largely​ ​due​ ​to​ ​the​ ​online​ ​negotiation Concord​ ​has.​ ​Our​ ​vendors​ ​appreciate​ ​the​ ​collaborative​ ​process,​ ​and​ ​[Concord]​ ​has​ ​helped​ ​us create​ ​stronger​ ​relationships​ ​with​ ​our​ ​preferred​ ​vendors​ ​as​ ​we’re​ ​able​ ​to​ ​better​ ​manage​ ​our contracts​ ​with​ ​deadline​ ​alerts.​ ​Ultimately​ ​we’ve​ ​improved​ ​metrics​ ​in​ ​time​ ​to​ ​contract​ ​creation, time​ ​to​ ​signature,​ ​and​ ​visibility​ ​across​ ​the​ ​board.”  


Just​ ​Eat​ ​has​ ​been​ ​able to​ ​improve​ ​collaboration​ ​and​ ​accelerate​ ​growth​ ​across​ ​the globe and business​ ​units​. “I​ ​wanted​ ​Legal​ ​to​ ​be​ ​innovative​ ​and​ ​seen​ ​as​ ​forward-thinking​ ​enablers.​ ​With​ ​Concord​ ​we​ ​can​ ​do that.​ ​The results we’ve seen from Concord are more time and more happiness in my legal team. It’s​ ​easy​ ​to​ ​help​ ​other​ ​departments​ ​get​ ​the​ ​approvals​ ​and​ ​signatures​ ​they​ ​need,​ ​faster. Legal​ ​has​ ​the​ ​control​ ​we​ ​need​ ​to​ ​ensure​ ​compliance​ ​while​ ​helping​ ​speed​ ​up​ ​other​ ​business processes.​ ​It​ ​helped​ ​us​ ​meet​ ​our​ ​goals​ ​and​ ​then​ ​some.”  


So what does Sporle see for the future of contract management? “I think this is an entrenched trend now,” said James. I think law firms and in-house legal teams alike know full well that they need these tools to give themselves better control better visibility and better efficiency on how they’re doing business. So you’ve got to be using these tools or you’re simply not going to be as efficient as your competitors. Without​ ​a​ ​contract​ ​management​ ​platform​ ​it’s​ ​impossible​ ​to​ ​have​ ​those​ ​kinds​ ​of​ ​insights. Scattered​ ​information​ ​and​ ​documents​ ​make​ ​it​ ​difficult​ ​to​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​business​ ​strategy.​ ​Something like​ ​Concord​ ​has​ ​been​ ​needed​ ​for​ ​so​ ​long,​ ​and​ ​contract​ ​management​ ​will​ ​be​ ​key​ ​to​ ​driving business​ ​going​ ​forward.”


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