Like many of you, I am a houseplant fanatic. I feel like I check on my "jungle" as much as I check my email. So when my fern starts to look crispy or my monstera looks wilted, I notice. Much like those work emails, I don’t just read the message and leave it be. I respond actively and look for a cause (and a corresponding solution) to any problem that arises.
For plants, a common problem is needing more space to grow. And that same problem is common in the contract management world; sometimes you just outgrow the capabilities of your current contract lifecycle management (CLM) solution and need a better environment to grow.
Switching from one CLM tool to another can be a totally different story compared to starting out fresh with a new one. Transplanting CLM solutions can be messy and confusing at times, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are three top CLM transplanting tips to make this process a little easier.
Start With a Plan
Any houseplant aficionado will tell you that plopping your plant haphazardly into a new pot without restraint is a good way to waste time and money. You need research, a plan, and the proper tools to get your plant as happy and healthy as possible. It’s the same story for your contracts. Both are going to grow over time, so the new pot or solution needs to support that.
Even before looking at demos or talking to sales reps about a new tool, the importance of starting with a strategy is critical. This means that you need to know who you are as a business and what your needs are. Understand what you need to fix, what would be nice to have, which departments are going to be involved in it, and what you do vs. don't need in a CLM solution.
But don't keep the research and planning to one or two people. If multiple departments and stakeholders are going to be using this solution, ask them what THEY need as well. Involving your team, asking questions, and keeping track of what you want and don't want are essential for ensuring that your new CLM solution fixes any current problems and will allow your business to grow.
Without proper planning, it is easy to experience information overload from the countless demos full of features and functionality. Knowing everything in advance keeps things focused and keeps information fatigue at bay.
Think of the Now and Later
Planters are not agile and they don't need to be, however a CLM solution should be. Agility is the ability to flex, pivot, and quickly grow to meet your needs. Older CLM solutions can be rigid and restrictive; not really a solution at all. Agile solutions, like Malbek, can align with where you are going and growing as a business.
A great sales team will be honest about their existing functionality and product road map, helping you understand if and how the solution will adapt to your needs and grow with your business. In order to ask the right questions you need to know your needs now and later. A good CLM solution will flex and pivot with your needs for years to come.
Have a Vision for the Process
Like growing something from seed, rolling out a new CLM isn’t always going to grow to full height overnight. That’s why it's really important to understand what is involved in "transplanting" from one solution to another.
Some companies choose to phase out their old solution and slowly implement the new solution one department at a time. This may mean a temporary period where both are running in parallel until your new CLM solution is fully implemented. Others prefer to cut over right away to the new solution, but be aware that this requires lots of planning beforehand.
Either route can work but it's best to know what process will work for you. Ask yourself these questions. Do you have budget to pay for two systems in a phased approach? Can you extend your agreement with your legacy system if roll out goes longer than expected? How long will the process of migrating your documents take? How quickly can you train your team to use the new system?
Knowing the limits of your resources and the implementation process of the new CLM beforehand will save you headaches later. Starting with a plan, knowing the process, and understanding what's best for you and your team are all important parts of transplant your contracts.
Like pots to houseplants, a CLM solution has to fit your needs. It's important to think about current capabilities as well as future flexibility to have a lasting solution. Be aware of current functionalities and future features that will be available. Know your requirements now and what you will need later so you can quickly forget the days of rootbound torture that was your old, restrictive CLM solution and enjoy all that a new solution can offer you.