A great contract lifecycle management (CLM) system lines up the right people, processes, and technology to manage contracts efficiently while surfacing the insights and highlighting the trends that your company needs to know about to operate successfully and deliver business goals.
Done right, CLM systems coordinate, track, and automate the creation, negotiation, execution, and monitoring of all the contracts that an in-house legal department handles. This not only saves time but also makes it easier to access the data and content in those contracts, which can be used to inform business decision-making.
With a manual approach to contract lifecycle management, your corporate law department may be stuck reinventing the wheel on routine tasks and scrambling to provide vital insight to the business.
Consider equipping your people with technology and processes that deliver intelligent CLM — an investment that helps you bring critical intelligence to strategic planning and helps your team be more responsive to business needs. Possibly the most important benefit is that it frees up your lawyers’ time for higher value work.
Support critical business decisions
Most GCs find themselves needing to justify their budget from time to time. That task is easier when your department is seen as a business driver rather than merely as a cost centre.
Legal departments can use their CLM solution to shift the way they work with the business. For instance, a contract lifecycle management system enables your team to create self-service portals for business users. They then see your team as a business-enabling function within the organisation, rather than as simply the “go-to” people to find documents.
At a higher level, when you truly maximise the CLM system’s benefits, you can equip your team to extract actionable insights from your company’s contracts.
By using CLM as a “system of intelligence” to analyse clauses and other elements of the contract, you can identify your risk areas to help the business take preventative action.
So corporate lawyers can move from reactive to proactive lawyering as they navigate the contract repository, helping the business make better decisions. In this way, a well-designed CLM solution can help legal departments at companies of all sizes take a newly empowered role in their organisations.
Be more responsive to business needs
Simplification, automation, and digitisation are the name of the game in business today. With a manual approach to contract management, the legal team does not have holistic visibility into the status of business contracts, which means the business doesn’t either.
When contracts are scattered across shared drives, they aren’t searchable. When they aren’t in a consistent format, it can take days of manual effort to identify all of the company’s responsibilities to vendors, customers, and other outside parties. Could you easily advise on the question: “Can we offshore our marketing department?” If you don’t have a streamlined view of all your obligations to third parties or your agreements on data privacy, you’ll have trouble giving a complete answer.
A CLM system offers real-time visibility and automated features that make finding documents across all stages of the lifecycle — from initiation to drafting to negotiation to approval to execution, obligations, compliance, and renewal — quick and easy.
This helps the legal team work more collaboratively and responsively with colleagues; it also makes it easier for parties on all sides — the lawyers, the business, and the customer — to have a good experience in negotiations.
Allow lawyers to focus on higher-value work
Lawyers tend to be born problem solvers and risk mitigators. They joined the legal profession to get their teeth into complex and interesting matters and their job satisfaction depends on being able to focus on this kind of high-value legal work rather than having their time taken up with repetitive tasks and mundane activities.
Manual contract management definitely counts as the latter. A modern approach to CLM brings significant efficiencies, freeing legal staff to work on work they find more stimulating. In the long run, this focus on more value-added, interesting work will pay off for the business and the legal department. You’ll have more satisfied employees, which should improve recruitment and retention. With the team delivering higher-value work to the business, it will be easier for GCs to defend the legal department budget and headcount.
Modernising your approach to contract lifecycle management is a beneficial investment that will pay off for years to come. You’ll help your business make more strategic, better-informed decisions by providing a real-time overview of risks and obligations. You’ll enable a shift in how the legal team interacts with the business — and how the business perceives the legal team. You’ll also simplify your approach to drafting and storing contracts, freeing up your lawyers to practice law rather than complete manual tasks — thus improving their job satisfaction.
Learn more about why and how to choose a CLM system in our white paper, “See the bigger picture: Shift from handling contracts to contract lifecycle management.”