For CLM adoption success, legal tech must become enterprise tech

In a normal year, Agiloft spends this week braving New York City in February to showcase our solution at one of the legal world’s biggest events of the year, LegalTech. Last year’s corresponding blog highlighted that despite how far legal technology has come, the roadblocks in adopting new technology are the same. In January of 2020, it seemed unlikely that these old roadblocks of distrust, lack of support, and motivation would ever be worn down, but then the pandemic struck. As the legal world rushed to adopt technology to keep business moving, it became clear that it wasn’t just the legal department that needed a technology overhaul.

In a recent Artificial Lawyer article, Agiloft CEO Eric Laughlin predicts that in 2021 “Legal tech buyers, vendors, and associations will collectively wake up to realize that they are talking about enterprise software, not legal tech. Contract lifecycle management is the showcase for this realization, with users across the enterprise and connections to the rest of the enterprise tech infrastructure.(…)”

Contracts may be owned and managed by the legal department, but ultimately touch so many other departments that it is inaccurate to label contract management systems as simply legal technology. Since contract management is not confined to legal, then the most effective solutions will extend to these touchpoints across the enterprise.

There are three main examples of how enterprise contract management has implications beyond the legal department:

  1. Using contract management as enterprise software solves a common contracting challenge by establishing a company-wide single source of truth. Contracts are frequently doomed to be spread across various platforms such as SharePoint, Excel, or even in various filing cabinets. A single source of truth is invaluable for a variety of reasons, but chiefly because it allows for high visibility, auditability, and, as a result, increased compliance.

  2. Departmental collaboration was difficult enough before and the pandemic exacerbated how important it is to get timely feedback from multiple parties. Contracts frequently get held up in bottlenecks because the there is no previously established and enforced way of organizing department feedback and review. With contract management systems, collaboration can be streamlined through tailored permissions and workflows that allow for greater departmental collaboration without sacrificing security.

  3. Increase your contract processing time, and the whole company moves faster. In a recent webinar Agiloft customer and Director of Programs and Contracts at CDW, Stephanie Santander, discussed how selecting and implementing Agiloft as their contract management system provided long-term benefits of compliance as well as the short-term benefits for the sales staff and the entire enterprise “which includes a 42% improvement on time spent processing contracts.”

Digital transformation of any sort can seem overwhelming. Starting small in one department can help it seem more manageable, but contracts and contract information are not confined to one department, so your contract solution shouldn’t be either. As we’ve said before, contracts are the lifeblood of modern commerce. Legal departments will have more success adopting and utilizing contract management solutions if they begin to see contract management and legal tech as enterprise tech with the potential to transform the entire organization, using contracts as an entry point.