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Allison Caggia

The Do’s and Don’ts of CLM Implementation: A Comprehensive Guide

Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) has proven to be a critical component for modern-day organizations seeking to streamline operations, reduce risk, and enhance compliance. In fact, a recent joint report by KPMG Law and the World Commerce and Contracting Association shows that digitizing the contracting process is now a priority for 76% of organizations.  

Implementing a CLM can significantly affect how efficient, collaborative, and cost-effective your business is. It can be a complex task but with proper planning, teamwork, and ongoing commitment, your organization can reap its full benefits. In this blog post, we will explore all the best practices as well as things to avoid when looking to implement a CLM. 

The Do’s: 

Set Clear Objectives 

An organization should establish clear objectives to ensure a successful implementation and maximize benefits. Work cross-functionally to determine what your organization is trying to achieve and what each department’s needs are. Improving efficiency, cost-reduction, and risk mitigation are just a few areas where you can see success in implementing a CLM.  

Identify and Engage Stakeholders 

Having key stakeholders involved from inception is key to collaboration. Having input from legal, procurement, finance, and other teams can help make sure the CLM software matches up with all your company’s needs. Create a clear communication plan, have a kickoff meeting, and continue to ask for input from each of these areas, as this will also increase buy-in, reduce resistance, and ensure the system meets the diverse needs of the business. 

Assess Current Process

Assessing a company’s current processes before implementing a CLM is of utmost importance as it serves as the foundation upon which successful CLM implementation is built. By evaluating existing contract management processes, organizations can pinpoint inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and areas of improvement. This step will ensure that the CLM aligns with the company’s specific needs and objectives. 

One of Malbek’s customers met with each impacted team and dove into their specific business outcomes and expected results and addressed their current challenges. By collaborating so early in the process, they were able to drastically improve processes across the board. These results speak for themselves, we have a happy software company who is thriving, thanks to implementing our CLM: 

Choose the right CLM solution  

Selecting the right CLM solution is a strategic decision that will affect many aspects of your business including customer engagement, operational efficiencies, and competitiveness. Become well-versed and informed of all available options and evaluate which best fits your organization’s needs. Make sure to consider ease of use, integration capabilities, scalability, customer service, and training. Rushing the decision can lead to significant challenges and missed opportunities. Carefully evaluate all systems and make sure they align with your organization’s goals so that you pick the best system that will deliver value to your business and customers. Many customers tell us they create a scorecard to use during demos with key vendors based on their requirements. A scorecard can drastically help make sure everyone is on the same page in vendor selection. 

Plan for Data Migration 

Legacy migration and implementation are independent processes that should run in parallel. Having a comprehensive approach that addresses data complexity, volume, quality, security, and compliance will help for a smoother migration process. Establishing stakeholders, evaluating your current process, and leveraging tools and technology will make data migration a success.   

Training and onboarding  

Here at Malbek, our customers’ success is our priority. Keeping that top of mind has created strong relationships and satisfied customers, resulting in a 120% retention rate. Make sure to communicate with employees before the process begins and invest in training to make sure everyone is proficient in the system. Make sure your CLM system of choice offers robust and top-notch customer service so they can help you navigate the system and troubleshoot issues that arise. This will help maximize user adoption and avoid any resistance or delays in use.  

Monitor and Measure 

Establish KPIs to monitor the performance of your CLM system. Continually assess its impact on your contract cycle time, efficiency, and compliance. Collaborate with department heads to see where there are any issues and where improvements can be made. Troubleshoot any issues and work with the CLM staff to see how you can continually evolve your CLM to work smarter for you.  

One of our customers, an industrial gas supplier, was missing contract expirations, renewals, and price increases, which was impacting their profitability and resulting in revenue loss. Within three months of implementing Malbek’s CLM, contract analytics helped this customer win big: 

The Don’ts

Lack of Communication and Preparation 

It is so important to communicate with all employees about the impending changes. Doing this ensures better user adoption and will avoid user resistance. You want to create a positive feeling about the implementation and let your employees know how it will improve collaboration and efficiency across the board. You also want to reassure your employees that they will get proper training (as well as ongoing training) to make this an easy transition and that they will be equipped with all the best practices so that they can maximize the benefits the CLM has to offer. 

Ignoring Customer Feedback 

Customer feedback is a valuable source of information about the company’s needs, wants, and pain points. It is so important to hear from your customers in order to make sure the implementation of software meets their expectations and aligns with their goals. It is also important to get feedback during implementation to create a pleasant user adoption experience and can also help uncover issues and help quality control. Making your customers feel heard also helps create a strong relationship and can lead to positive reviews, referrals, and long-lasting customers.  

Don’t Rush Implementation  

Rushing implementation without having clear objectives, key stakeholders identified, and a plan in place, can make for a bumpy transition and may result in a solution that doesn’t fit your business strategy. It can also lead to data quality issues that can have a negative effect on decision-making. Also, rushing implantation can lead to inadequate employee training, which can result in poor user adoption rates and frustration among users. Make sure to do thorough testing and quality control checks throughout the process to avoid problems down the road. 

Overlooking Integration  

Integrating CLM software effectively with your existing systems is crucial for several reasons. First, integration ensures that customer data is consistent across various systems, eliminating errors, duplicate records, and misinformed decisions. It allows for cross-functional collaboration as each team can easily access and share customer information. Integration also helps provide a holistic view of customer interactions, which enables informed decision-making and personalized customer experiences. The average Malbek customer has 5+ integrations to upstream and downstream applications to ensure their CLM is connected and informed with the rest of their business.  

TIBCO Software Inc., a global leader in enterprise data, entrusted Malbek to streamline processes during acquisitions. Malbek Konnect Marketplace enables Malbek Contrax to connect with popular applications such as Slack, Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, SAP, DocuSign, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle SAP, DocuSign, AdobeSign, and more. These connectors require virtually zero technical expertise or customization, allowing contracts to live beyond the confinements of the CLM software itself; increasing collaboration, visibility, and accountability across the board. One TIBCO business user stated “99% of the application could be administered by the business admin themselves, especially integrations, forms, and workflows. This global implementation led TIBCO to increase efficiencies and reduce contract lifecycles by 70%.  

Ignoring Scalability 

Ignoring scalability can hinder your ability to adapt and grow and must be a critical consideration when implementing a CLM. If your system lacks scalability, you may not be able to handle increased data volumes, customer interactions, or business operations as your company grows. It can also come at a cost, as having to constantly upgrade as your company expands can increase expenses. Scalable CLM can also help your organization keep a competitive edge and respond quickly to market changes, new opportunities, and customer demands. A scalable CLM system ensures you can maintain a high level of service and responsiveness.  

Malbek’s customer, Pantheon, was experiencing hyper-growth and needed a solution that would allow their newly built Legal function to keep pace with increasing contracting demands and chose Malbek as its first-ever comprehensive CLM solution. After implementation, the Legal team took advantage of the following features to support its business needs including shared workspaces, robust integrations, powerful contract metrics, and ease of use and configuration resulting in a 36% increase in efficiency in just the first quarter after implementation.  

Ignoring Data Governance  

Data governance is not just a technical concern; it’s a fundamental aspect of responsible data management and risk mitigation. By keeping this top of mind during implementation, you can avoid data-related issues, compliance issues, and security breaches, all of which can have severe consequences for your organization. By prioritizing data governance, you can ensure your CLM software operates efficiently and securely; while delivering a great customer experience.  

Successful CLM implementation is an ongoing process that involves planning, teamwork, and ongoing commitment. By following these do’s and don’ts, you can confidently navigate the complexities of CLM implementation and achieve your desired outcomes. CLM implementation is a worthwhile investment that will drive efficiency, reduce risk, and increase compliance within your organization.  

For more insights into our vision and the transformative impact of our solutions on contract management, visit Malbek.