We have now arrived at our 6th and final webinar in the series called "Pulling Back the Curtain", which has focused on the different steps involved in the contract lifecycle management buying journey. Our panel includes industry veterans, Stephanie Corey from UpLevel Ops, Matt Patel from Malbek, and Teju Desphande from Oya Solutions. Click here to listen to the complete webinar:
Now that you've selected a contract management solution, here are the 5 ways to set yourself up for success with it.
Maturity can't be rushed
Everyone wants to be on the right side of the maturity model, but if you are on the left side, you are not alone. Many organizations are still operating with thousands of contracts in a shared network folder or Sharepoint online repository but no other contract management automation. The tendency might be to skip ahead to complete maturity as fast as possible, but this isn't feasible. Change is hard and slow. It's a better idea to progress incrementally, moving next to some level of automation for things like renewal reminders. Then you can move onto adding workflows and a clause library. Eventually you can do eSignature and have mobile access to your contracts. An agile, phased approach has a much greater chance of success.
Start with the prep work
Throughout this series we've focused on how important prep work is when overhauling your contract management processes and selecting a solution. If you've taken the time to identify the types of contracts you have and how they flow through the legal department, you will be well on your way to eliminating inefficiency and developing a lean approach to your contracts. The hard prep work makes it so much easier to identify the CLM solution that will best fit your needs. It also means you've already figured out who your critical stakeholders are. Knowing your project lead and implementation champions, sets you up for success. Since contract management is never one and done but evolves based on your business model, these individuals will keep you on track so you don't lose momentum.
It's important to make sure you don't bite off more than you can chew when starting your contract solution implementation. Application fatigue can set in over the course of a person's career from experiencing multiple, less successful implementation projects. Doing your day job plus a large software implementation project can quickly cause burnout. From an adoption and success standpoint, it makes more sense to pick a project that has a 12-week length and fit whatever is reasonable in that 12-week sprint. Even if it's just one template and one simple workflow or training the core team on bare functionality, these small victories are monumental in keeping the project rolling.
Streamline and align
Think of contracts as an enterprise asset not just a tool (or a headache) for the legal department. Yes, legal may own the task of getting agreements from start to finish, but sales, procurement, IT, and finance often have a part to play. When starting a project like this, make sure you involve all the relevant areas of your business. Identify what their individual needs and goals are in order to achieve the greatest business benefit. This doesn't mean you have to get everyone on the system immediately. Continue to follow the phased approach, but involve all the right departments.
Embrace the change
Change is never easy. It doesn't matter if you have the most perfect tool in the world. If no one is using it, then it's a failure. Hopefully you've followed everything that has been recommended in our previous webinars. Things like identifying stakeholders, project champions, and technical people from the outset are all part of change management. Be sure to over communicate what's going on because it helps to make people feel more involved. It's far better to have people sick of hearing from you rather than having no idea what's going on. This will help build support and greater levels of adoption.