How mature is your organization’s current CLM program?
Maturity has a different meaning for each organization. Recognizing your organization’s CLM maturity stage can help in setting goals for the year ahead. It can also offer a framework for communicating at the leadership level on expectations related to risk, slower cycle times, and areas for improvement.
What do we mean by maturity?
- Early-Stage Capabilities: lack of standardization and centralization. Mostly ad hoc, traditional approach to legal work (although could be a good substantive quality)
- Intermediate Capabilities: systems and standardization in place but without full compliance, utilization, and integration
- Advanced Capabilities: sustainable automation, self-service capabilities and focus on continuous operational improvements, strategic impact, and highest risk-complexity work
Maturity was also the topic of discussion at one of the lightning rounds at the Agiloft Summit from January 23-25 in Las Vegas.
In the lightning round, moderated by Agiloft’s Andy Wishart, Chief Product Officer and CLM Futurist, the panelists answered the question: How are you and your business maturing through the adoption process of CLM within the organization or with the organizations that you’re supporting?
Below is a brief recap of the insights and answers provided by four industry thought leaders.
Christy Schumacher, Sr. Manager, Consultant, Qualitas
Schumacher began by explaining how she finds comfort in knowing that the CLM issues her organization faced aren’t unique.
“It’s been done before. There are roadmaps and a multitude of solutions. That’s the pep talk I give myself,” she said.
However, she gained this advice in hindsight: Five years ago, when implementing Agiloft, she just wanted to get from the reaction to the organized phase.
“Once user adoption and attraction start to build, there’s a dramatic and meaningful impact on an organization and its business model.”
Schumacher told the Summit audience that storytelling is invaluable to the process.
“When you’re implementing a solution nobody wants to learn anything. They’re going to reject you. Just remember, you’re not the hero. The person you’re talking to is the hero. You’re the guide. Make them understand the value of CLM and how it connects them to their existing goals. Stand back. Let them shine. That’s where I found some good success.”
Rob Trimble, Sr. Project Manager, Lifepoint Health
When Lifepoint Health first took on CLM, it had multiple portfolios. The company started a phased implementation with the least mature of the portfolios. Then, over the course of two years, Lifepoint began implementing all of them, working to instill tactical governance along the way.
“We’re seeing the value we expected. We’re automating manual forms and processes. For our sell-side contracts, we really didn’t manage the rates in the contract system. The finance group had an Excel sheet. The visibility from CLM is a huge win. And now we not only have the rates, but we have historical rates. That’s a sign of data maturity,” Trimble said.
Courtney Hexham, Manager, Legal & Compliance Operations, Hagerty Insurance
Hexham discussed how the most important part of her organization’s Agiloft implementation was to slowly ease into a new system so as not to disrupt the company’s workflow.
Hagerty had users that weren’t direct company members. Users included contractors handling their own work by accessing Hagerty’s systems; subject matter experts reviewing lower-risk contracts; vendors completing risk assessments, onboarding procedures, security professionals, and more.
The company had grown out of their old repository, but the new one had to work in a similar manner.
“If people don’t like it, they won’t use it,” Hexham said.
As a result, Hexham took additional end-user interface training with Agiloft and branded the company’s end-user interface to match Hagerty’s style.
“We made Agiloft look similar to the previous system as far as the required fields. Then, we gradually added more functionality with an agile mindset,” she said.
Today, Hagerty’s CLM benefits include tracking contractual obligations, self-service contract functionalities, greater data visibility for risk and contract origination, and a clear look at the budget to ensure on-point spending.
Kami Paulsen, Managing Director, Elevate
Kami Paulsen, managing director and author of The CLM Rx, said: “One of the most important steps that I talk to our customers about is pulling together the assets they need to get started. This is a process that reaps rewards and makes things move faster.”
Then she asked: How do you get to the next stage of your journey? Paulsen provided an answer that focused on the importance of establishing goals and north stars.
“Looking at that north star and remembering you’re trying to automate your process will help you make hard decisions.”
“Write down your goals at the beginning,” she instructed. “Then, once CLM implementation experience is gained, the workflows are ready, and the business is comfortably utilizing the self-service functionalities; that’s when expansion begins. That’s when a company can start asking about further automation and AI tools for deeper expansion. It’s taking what you learned during the implementation, examining the rich data gained, and making informed decisions about your next steps.”
“If your teams can contract in-app, stay in Coupa, or in Salesforce; all the while contracting seamlessly—then you’ve gained so much value from that deal internally, you can’t help but make champions that are excited to expand,” Paulsen said.
Maturity is an ever-evolving journey, and there are multiple paths toward it, as illustrated by the panel. Some organizations start with the need for increased automation, while others think about putting a repository in place for different types of contracts, organizing data, and using it to make decisions. Then, the implementation expands to include layering in services on a document-by-document basis.
This process can’t be forced or rushed. Every business or organization gets there in its own time. However, when true CLM maturity sets in, there is a unparalleled level of success available to the enterprise. The long-term type, the type that takes root and spreads efficiency throughout every aspect of an organization.