What Legal Ops needs from CLM today: Flexibility, extensibility, scalability

As business becomes integrated, legal teams need a CLM that plays nice with all of the enterprise's applications and tools.

Traditionally, CLM was built for legal departments, but that’s not entirely true anymore. As an increasing amount of the business becomes integrated, legal and especially legal ops teams need a CLM that plays nice with all of the applications and tools across the enterprise.

Consider the multitude of ways that CLM can transform the business:

  • Advanced CLM can help drive efficiencies beyond just legal. The value in a truly flexible CLM is scalability, extensibility, and seamless integrations with hundreds of applications.
  • With true enterprise CLM, sales, legal, procurement, and other functions are able to exchange relevant data, drive efficiency, and realize value while keeping each function in the loop and in compliance as things change with the economy, regulations, company structure, M&A, and more.

In fact, “once a business process is transformed from paper-based to digital workflows, it will become the ‘new normal’—representing the next phase of digital transformation,” according to Gartner research. Additionally, 68% of legal departments now say that “digitizing manual processes” is a top priority.

So what’s the hold-up? Why hasn’t your organization converted from a manual contract process to an automated one? You know you’re ready to move into 2023 with all the digital advantages that the market currently offers. You know there’s a better way than manual. You want to work less and become a revenue driver for the business. Finally, you certainly would rather spend your time on more important projects that further drive the success of the legal team.

Are you putting off a decision because you’re uncertain of which CLM is the best for you? Or do your executive decision-makers not understand the looming need for contract management?

You’re the legal team. You were hired for your talent, and you deserve to work with the best legal technology. Legal ops is one of the departments where CLM shines. In fact, Deloitte reports that “more than three-quarters (76%) of survey participants say the legal staff is spending a lot of time on manual tasks and working outside of available technology tools. Only 18% report being able to automate most routine tasks using current technology. These statistics will need to be reversed to reduce the burden on legal teams.”

Whatever your reason for hesitation, we’re here to help you make the most strategic decisions about contract software and your legal department.

Competition is getting more advanced, are you?

As a legal ops professional, you likely understand the importance of CLM. But does your general counsel or leadership team? Do you know that most of the competition you’re up against is already automating their contract processes, putting them ahead of the curve?

Do they know the importance of being faster and more efficient with enhanced customer experience? We have seen CLM drive efficiency but also help raise NPS scores. The success of your contracting at all phases of the contract lifecycle effect this score. Slow, manual, and error-prone contracting processes will sink an NPS score. Not to mention that once your customer has to deal with a frustrating, lengthy process they will look elsewhere.

Big decisions must be backed by accurate data.

It is not uncommon for branches or departments within a business to operate independently in enterprise organizations. Even if specific divisions work with the same contract at specific points, there may not be many opportunities for the legal department to provide or gain insights from another team within the organization. The risk is that legal departments may start to behave as silos, using contract management software systems that do not communicate freely with other systems across the enterprise.

Transparency and shareability is key. General counsel, financial officers, and strategic project leaders require readily accessible reports, data analytics, information and materials. Working within a shared system of data analytics and information like a contract lifecycle management system can ensure you get access to performance data across different departments.

Using KPI Metrics to Track Contract Performance

When you’re deciding on new vendors or adjusting contract language based on new regulations, you need the data and other pertinent information about current contracts in order to find, retrieve, amend, negotiate, and execute agreements. You can’t go into negotiations without the information and history of a customer or vendor and your past deals. There’s no time to dig up paper contracts that may not even be in your files. You need the information at your fingertips and all of it automatically archived together in a single location.

But it’s not only about retrieval. CLM software also helps to increase the strategic advantages of these contracts.

As part of the legal ops team, you know how important contracts are to any company. But did you know that CLM can help maximize the strategic advantages of those contracts? You can become a more proactive lawyer by analyzing contract insights to understand which provisions are most likely to lead to lengthy negotiations and when to amend standard language to streamline the process. You can even make the business process more efficient by assigning employees secured links to contract reviews or one-click approvals, so they don’t have to go through your team each time they need something.

The most responsive player wins.

Work needs to be fast, executed in minutes, and due yesterday. We need emails answered in a blink, tasks carried out with the utmost efficiency, and access to the data needed to complete all these duties. Manual paper contracts aren’t the only problem—many legal departments have some sort of digital repository such as SharePoint, shared drives, or a low-tech CLM, but often these solutions aren’t working correctly, are siloed, can’t integrate, or are too rigid to grow with the business as it inevitably changes.

Meanwhile, your competition has a sophisticated CLM solution and can find and retrieve contracts in seconds or create a new agreement in minutes. When the most important documents are the ones you can never seem to find, it’s frustrating and risky. If it takes you days to collect contracts that are scattered across various hard drives, you’ll lose out and put your company at risk by not being able to identify insights such as responsibilities you have to third-party vendors and customers. With a modern, flexible CLM system, you’ll avoid costly mistakes that might otherwise occur due to lack of or incomplete information. You have real-time visibility for real-time decision-making.

Scalability must be considered.

How often do you see legal teams using inflexible, siloed contract solutions that cannot be scaled and used across international borders, company divisions, and departments? Oftentimes, these solutions were deployed years ago and didn’t grow with the business as it expanded, and consequently, different technologies were adopted. The right CLM will scale with your business as it grows over the years.

If you automate your process, other companies will see you as ahead of the curve and on the cutting edge, especially since your contracting process is so accurate and efficient. CLM can help you scale the enterprise, too, putting you in a better position to make strategic decisions that will benefit your business for years.

You’ll also experience an enhanced understanding of the ecosystem of relationships with suppliers and customers and terms that led to successful outcomes, as well as trends that alert you to situations that may be problematic or expose the business to unacceptable levels of risk.

The truth is our business processes are evolving at a break-neck pace. We can move ahead with the times or we can hold ourselves back. In business, staying ahead is vital to keeping customers happy and revenue flowing. Today, with a global recession breathing down our necks, no one can afford to lose customers or waste money on poor processes.

Want to learn more about CLM? Read the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant report on CLM as well as our blog posts, case studies, webinars, and whitepapers. The more you know, the more effective you will be at making a CLM decision.

To get specific information about how CLM can transform your contracting, schedule a call with us today.

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