5 Key takeaways about the future of contract management technology

The Bay area made a fitting backdrop for legal operations professionals who gathered to discuss the future of contract management.

The Bay area—widely renowned as the heart of technological innovation in the United States—made a fitting backdrop for legal operations professionals who gathered for a happy hour in Palo Alto last week to discuss cutting-edge technologies like AI and its potential to revolutionize Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) and legal tech as we know it. 

Co-hosted by Agiloft and Deloitte, the networking event featured a lively panel discussion between Agiloft’s Prashant Dubey, as well as Mark Ross from Deloitte and Sheena Ferrari from Zendesk. 

Their conversation covered a wide range of topics, but centered on AI’s limitations and potential, the need for data-centric contract management, and the evolution of legal operations professionals becoming strategic business enablers.  

Here are the top 5 takeaways from their discussion: 

1. Balancing data-centric CLM platforms with human-centric processes

It’s widely acknowledged that for CLM platforms to be effective today, they must be data-centric. However, it’s essential to recognize that CLMs operate within a contracting business process that remains fundamentally human-centric. It’s important to note: Yesterday’s human-centric definition is different than the present and future version of human-centricity, and these definitions will continue to evolve alongside technology. 

2. AI’s role in CLM

AI holds immense potential for CLM and many other business applications, but it won’t replace human involvement, the panelists agreed. Instead, AI complements or “supplements” human activity, not supplants it. Panelists and attendees were optimistic regarding AI’s ability to empower legal professionals by allowing them to focus on high-value, strategic tasks while AI efficiently handles their routine, repetitive work. 

3. Challenges in implementing AI-driven CLM

Ironically, despite AI’s promise, many organizations struggle to establish a comprehensive contract repository — a “single source of truth” —complete with extracted metadata and parent-child relationship structures. This challenge is fundamentally human-centric. Convincing organizations of the value of CLM, securing funding for its purchase, and defining the scope remain non-trivial efforts.

4. Success factors and expectation management

CLM implementation outcomes depend not only on technological capabilities but also on proper expectation management. Clear communication about what AI can realistically achieve is crucial.

5. The importance of soft skills in Legal Ops

While functional and technical skills are vital in an AI-driven legal landscape, legal ops professionals must also possess soft skills, Prashant said. Storytelling, executive communication, and change management are essential for Legal Ops to be recognized as strategic business enablers within the organization.


There’s one thing that’s for sure: it’s an interesting time to work in the legal world, particularly within legal technology. There are many opportunities for innovation in this industry, but with it comes the need for pragmatism and human-centric approaches to this technology. By utilizing AI, honing our soft skills, and managing expectations of technology like CLM, we can all find ways to continuously refine and improve our contract management processes.  

Learn more about how Prashant Dubey says AI will “supplement” humans, “not supplant them.” Read our blog now. 

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