Do You Need a Hosted App for That?

Q&A with Bill Kane, CEO of Mumboe
With the increasing availability of hosted applications for specific tasks like contract management and core business processes including finance and HR, business owners are challenged with deciding which ones make sense. How many are too many? We talked with Bill Kane of Mumboe, a hosted contract management solution.

There’s such an outgrowth of hosted applications for small and larger businesses. Mumboe provides one solution but other companies, such as those providing document sharing can do, to some degree what Mumboe can do. Beyond hosted applications, I think of traditional databases such as File Maker, Access and Alpha Software. These software products can also manage applications. What’s the value add of Mumboe?

Mumboe is the only company focused on providing enterprise-level contract management functionality in a simple, intuitive and affordable package. While there are many applications, hosted or not, that contain pieces of the functionality that Mumboe offers – such as collaboration tools, document storage and sharing, etc. – Mumboe is 100% focused on managing business agreements.
We’ve heard from our small business customers that they tend to use a combination of different tools accomplish this today, such as

  • Microsoft Word to create the agreement
  • Shared network drive or local drive to store agreement documents
  • Spreadsheets to track key information such as responsible parties, renewal/expiration dates, governing law, et
  • Email to review and share documents
  • A Calendar application to create reminders, etc.

Mumboe brings all of this different functionality together in one easy to use application that includes the key features our customers need, such as:

  • Agreement Summary – Allows users to see at a glance the key terms they want to track, such as parties, governing law location, expiration dates, renewal dates and special terms.
  • Audit Trail – Complete history of all changes made to an agreement can be captured and tracked.
  • Organization features – Supporting documentation including amendments, notes, emails and image files can be attached to a primary agreement.
  • Collaboration features – Users can assign Tasks, create alerts and reminders, share agreements, etc.
  • Full-text search – Provides the ability to search across all agreement documents for key terms, agreement types, etc.
  • Encrypted, permission-based security – includes the ability to control individual user access to specific folders.

Mumboe offers the same (or comparable) functionality as large enterprise contract management solutions, but in contrast, the product features a simple, intuitive user interface, on-demand pricing model and no commitment, pay as you go pricing. That’s what got customers such as interested.
With the huge growth of hosted applications providing a range of solutions, when should businesses consider limiting or critically analyzing their hosted application uses? Is there a stage when they are using so many applications, things get out of control?
There is certainly a tradeoff for businesses between using one large application suite to address multiple needs, and using more targeted solutions that are focused on solving a specific problem very well. With a large application suite, you get standardization across the enterprise, which makes it easy for IT to manage. However, this approach limits the R&D investment and functionality the vendor makes in any one area. The advantage of using on-demand applications is that they don’t need to be designed for IT manageability, so they tend to deliver a much better user experience.
Integration will undoubtedly be one of the key growth drivers for on-demand applications. The issue is already driving major providers such as, Cisco/WebEx, and Intuit to introduce platform initiatives geared toward integrating other applications. This shift is going to provide enormous advantage for smaller businesses with limited IT resources, because the responsibility now lies with the software provider instead of with the customer to make integration work. Integration is built into the Mumboe application DNA, and over the next few months we expect to announce several integration initiatives with major applications used by businesses to manage relationships with their customers, partners and employees.
Digital Signatures are a big part of contracts – are digital signatures a part of Mumboe’s solutions now or in the future?
There is no question that e-signature applications have received a lot of attention in the media, and these companies have attracted many customers with the simplicity of their idea and affordable pricing model. It is definitely in Mumboe’s plans to add this capability to our application. However, our customers have told us that it is very low on their list of priorities, and many customers have said they would not use it even if they had it, because their own legal process requirements forbid it. In surveys of our customers, they have almost universally prioritized other features such as:

  • Secure, central repository for storing and sharing agreement documents;
  • Collaboration features such as the ability to create Events and assign Tasks;
  • The ability to manage user access permissions to specific Folders;
  • Full-text Search across all agreement documents; and
  • Creating their own custom data fields in Mumboe.

As a company, we are very focused on incorporating customer feedback into our application, and prioritizing our development plans around our customers’ needs rather than market trends.