Sharing is caring: the importance of contract data visibility 

Did you learn to share at a young age? You should continue that in your professional life and share contract data throughout an organization. It could be the key to success you're missing.

Sharing. We were taught about sharing at a very young age when our siblings or friends tried to start playing with our (and very clearly OUR) toys. There’s even the book by Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten published almost 40 years ago that expounds upon sharing being one of those things.  

Organizations should probably take these Kindergarten lessons to heart…. Play fair, clean up your own mess, don’t take things that aren’t yours. To stay out of the rabbit hole though, let’s concentrate on just one, sharing. Now Fulghum says to share everything but that is probably going a couple of clicks too far in the business world. HOWEVER, sharing data can be a game changer.  

Think of the wealth of information that sits in your contracts. Completion dates, quantity discounts, cancellation terms, delivery details, obligation intricacies, payment options, and the list goes on. Does this data directly impact legal? Does the legal department control any of the moving parts within the contract? While they are the foreman constructing the document itself, they typically do not manage any of the details once the contract is signed.  

  • Finance needs to know what the last delivery date was, was it satisfactory, and should the supplier be paid?  
  • Sales would love to know if the customers are paying on time or if they decided to cancel their contract.  
  • Procurement wants to know if they’ve reached the agreed upon quantity discount.  

A lot of times this contract data is not in the systems these different departments work in so they can easily find out the information for themselves.   

We conducted a recent survey that found 50% of our respondents that have a CLM share their data, most with three or more departments. Now – the sharing of data can come in a couple of forms. Are you responding to requests for data as they come in to your department, whether it be legal, procurement, or sales? Or do you have systems integrated into each other with departments working in their own systems that they know and love, i.e. access to data?  

If it’s the more manual response system you’ll be saying, “the integrated idea sounds great, but our systems don’t talk to each other, and we have data siloes everywhere – way too expensive to solve!” and you would be wrong. What is the price of having misinformation in any department versus solving the root cause and creating a single source of truth for your data that authorized users can reach in real time?  

Contract data is a way to gain a competitive edge in any industry. Recently we covered this in the biotech/pharma space. If a highly regulated industry can appreciate that sharing data is a way to gain a competitive advantage, almost any industry can.  

According to MGI research The Future of Contract Lifecycle Management is Data-1st!, one of their points is that “real-time data shared and connected throughout an organization is exponentially more valuable than static isolated data.” The report comes from the perspective of contract data specifically. Another study by World Commerce & Contracting in conjunction with PwC found that “The need for streamlined data flows that equip teams to work collaboratively has never been more urgent.” This study discusses the importance of CLM and how organizations should make it a priority to recognize the benefits of contract data that runs throughout every business.  

With this much research going into the advantages of sharing contract data throughout an organization, don’t you think it’s about time you look into how good you are at sharing? Your mother would be proud.  

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