Constructing success: 5 CLM implementation essentials 

Learn about the 5 key elements for a successful CLM implementation - or any software for that matter - with links to other resources and information.

You would not build a house without using the essentials needed, like nails, beams, cement, etc. While there are definite materials and tools needed to create a house, the outcome of using those materials can result in very different styles of houses, likes shaker, ranch, even a split-level. But regardless of style, you use the same types of raw materials, with little variation, to build a solid house.  

Let’s use this comparison to discuss contracts and contract lifecycle management (CLM). Just like building a home, there are several essentials needed to have a successful CLM implementation.  

5 key elements of a CLM implementation 

The five elements of a CLM implementation that should always be used are:  

Right team – Make sure you choose partners that listen to you and look out for your best interests, not just their bottom line.  

Right tools – Know which features you do and do not need. But consider the many things, beyond being a repository for contracts, a CLM can do for your organization. For example,  Agiloft’s enterprise CLM integrates seamlessly into over 1,000 different inter-organizational systems already in use so adoption is easier and data flows freely amongst different applications. Your CLM needs are not cookie-cutter, and your solution shouldn’t be either. 

Stakeholder input – You need to hear from key stakeholders and users before you choose a tool. You don’t need every person involved, just representatives, to ensure that the different organizational needs are heard. If you don’t make these stakeholders part of the decision process, you may have failure on your hands before you even get started.   

Dedicated product manager – This essential element is sometimes overlooked to the detriment of any software implementation. Placing someone in charge of the success of any software implementation is critical to the success of that implementation. There should be a designated, responsible person engaged and invested, even to the point of being rated and rewarded for the CLM implementation’s success. If no one is held responsible, then there is no consequence for failure.   

Change management – CLM can be a game changer for your organization and there is a level of monetary investment that has been made in obtaining the software. Utilizing the software can increase efficiency and lessen risk, all of which can ultimately result in cost savings. So, to not have it adopted and utilized can be a waste in the actual cost of the software, as well as the efficiencies not realized and risks that continue. Using a standard project management approach (e.g. waterfall or agile) and a change management approach to roll out process changes, along with patience, can be the difference between success and failure.   

Different organizations, different CLM data needs 

Back to the simile of home building. The different styles of homes also come with different types of furnishings that correspond to the style of the home. With CLM implementation, different types of organizations will have different types of contract data, or furnishings, if you will, that their CLM will need to handle. They may have few or many regulations, different coordinating departments, and/or varying numbers of people who need different levels of access.   

The outcome of a CLM implementation may look different for each organization since organizations start with different data needs:  

• Unique data points to track contract data 

• Custom contract templates  

• Custom clauses and fallbacks  

• Unique AI needs   

Like building homes, planning a successful implementation requires the same essentials, but outcomes can be wildly different. Know your CLM partner’s success rate of implementation (e.g. Agiloft carries a 99% implementation success rate) before finalizing your decision. Also make sure they are, and their solution is, flexible enough and able to scale with your needs as your organization grows with the successful implementation of a CLM solution.   

Even more information

If you want to hear more about how to successfully implement a CLM along with the necessary steps after implementation, listen to Factor’s Michael Callier and Agiloft’s Danielle Haugland discuss the “Five-Star Recipe for CLM Implementation Success.”  

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