Contract lifecycle management (CLM) technology is getting a lot of buzz right now – and with good reason. It has been shown to help mitigate risk, make contract workflows more efficient, and improve profitability. These benefits would be a welcome addition for any organization, but in order to get there you need to start with a quality CLM implementation process that is executed well. Here are two of the important steps you can take to help start your implementation on the right foot.
Get the right people involved
Your internal implementation process starts with assembling the right cross-functional team of stakeholders. As a leader in your company's CLM implementation effort, you most likely work in the contract management or legal functions, which will be the main users of the new solution. However, a successful implementation with wide user adoption depends on buy-in from other areas of the business, as well. Some of the functions to consider including – and the reasons why – are:
- Contract management: With up-to-date knowledge of processes, workflows, and common challenges, this team will have input that will be key to defining the path to the most effective use of the new technology.
- Legal: Legal professionals can help you achieve consistency in contract language and awareness of contractual obligations that will help the company avoid risk.
- Finance: The finance team can help ensure you control spending, preserve cash, and reduce costs for bottom-line improvements.
- Sales: Sales team members have valuable, hands-on insight about every step of the contracting process, which can help you identify efficiencies that may otherwise go unnoticed.
- Procurement: Procurement professionals understand the data needed to optimize reporting that helps with risk avoidance and obligation management.
- Others: Don’t limit your implementation team to the areas listed here. Depending on your needs and existing processes, it may be wise to include members of the Marketing, Human Resources, Compliance, or R&D teams to ensure you get the best value for your organization.
A comprehensive team will help provide a less disruptive change management experience by establishing a greater sense of comfort and willingness to change across all affected areas of the organization.
Ask good questions
There are questions this team should consider in advance of implementation to help guide you in the decisions you’ll be asked to make when you begin working with your vendor. These are questions that do not have right or wrong answers but are intended to prompt you to think about key aspects of how you will use your new CLM technology. The answers will help keep you focused on what’s most important and help you understand the scope of the implementation.
- What types of contracts will be generated in the CLM solution?
- Which legacy contracts will be migrated into it?
- What is the existing, pre-approved language to be brought into the solution for development of the initial clause library to ease contract assembly?
- Who are the key personnel required by contract type?
- Who is the required approver at each step by contract type?
- Who will be required in rule-based circumstances with additional layers of approval to maintain efficient contract cycles? For example, who will approve discounts above threshold and changes to pre-approved clause language?
Reporting, discovery, and obligation management
- What is the standard, required metadata the team needs to capture to drive actionable reports and alerts?
- Which alerts and notifications are needed to drive revenue optimization and risk reduction through effective obligation management?
Contracts are a mission-critical asset that your company’s business relationships are built on. By providing a better way to manage this key piece of your operations, a CLM solution has the potential to deliver improved performance and reduced risk across the business. If you prepare for implementation by getting the right team on board and discussing core questions about your processes and goals, you will be well positioned for a smooth and successful CLM implementation.
For more information, download our free eBook: The Path to CLM Implementation Success.