How a phased approach and targeting friction points leads to real improvements.

If you are looking for a declaration about how the modern procurement team must embrace AI, blockchain, and digital transformation, you will not have any trouble finding vendors making claims about blending-edge technology.

For reality-based lessons learned from decades of successful, and failed, contract lifecycle management (CLM), there is the webinar “Keeping It Real – How Contract Management Should Work.”

In this session, Lucy Bassli, Founder and Principal of InnoLaw Group Lucy Bassli; Melody Smith, Associate General Counsel of Klein Tools; Tania Seary, CEO of Procurious Tania Seary; and others discuss how organizations really manage contracts—the good, the bad, and the coffee stained.

Tip 1: Introduce a Legal Review Policy

Who owns what in your contract management process? Legal, Procurement or someone else?

In smaller organizations, the review policy may default to whoever has the contract saved on their desktop. In larger organizations, like Klein Tools, legal must review every contract. The question to ask is whether your Legal Review Policy supports your business objectives as it relates to operational efficiency and risk management.

The working relationships between procurement and legal will vary significantly across companies. As Lucy Bassli shares in the ‘Keeping it Real’ Webinar, these groups need to collaborate on a plan and a policy or end up acting as bottlenecks; to ensure success in this, they need to breakdown the contracting process into phases and assign ownership.

Tip 2: Know your audience—establish templates with guidance and playbooks

In the long-run, AI and machine learning will not matter if your CLM is out of step with your users. Most organizations realize new efficiencies by establishing clause libraries and deploying automated solutions with contract templates. However, as the Agiloft leaders on the Webinar share, the real value comes when you know your audience. This looks like anticipating your users’ ecosystem and integrating playbooks and guided prompts where they need them—usually in Microsoft Word.

Another step that can speed operational efficiency is leveraging CLM analytics, as Klein Tools has done, to determine how often contracts remain with their standard language or end up using fallback clauses. Examination of these analytics has led some corporations to realize the benefit of defaulting to their fallback language in templates to improve cycle times.

Tip 3: Map the contract process—understand your current landscape

Associate General Counsel Melody Smith shares her experience of walking the manufacturing floor to collect contracts—some had coffee stains and others had oil smudges. Just because you may not like what you find does not mean you should delay the process of discovering what you have. Just remember that many others in procurement and legal have gone through similar struggles and some have had it much worse. Melody and her team have now deployed a global automated CLM solution, and they are realizing the value of the early work they did in mapping their contract process.

Tip 4: Breakdown the points of friction and prioritize them in your CLM solution

It is common when an organization moves to automate their CLM to lead with all the features that they want from a repository to application integration. However, the experts agree that the greatest success comes from a CLM solution with a stable foundation that prioritizes the biggest friction points for users. Then, continue to build on that foundation with an agile, customizable, and feature-rich solution.

To learn more about how real Procurement Teams navigate CLM with a phased approach, checkout the webinar “Keeping It Real – How Contract Management Should Work” here.