Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) is often caught in cross-functional turf wars. Consequently, many find that the system in place is not the hoped-for “silver bullet,” especially as unmet requirements surface across the organization. Moreover, the benefits documented in the CLM business case may always seem just beyond reach, especially as phased roll-outs stall amidst frustration and disappointment that what was pitched by the vendor turned out to be more difficult to actualize than it seemed.
Here is some practical advice on how to pull a CLM implementation out of the muck and redeem the investment value, gleaned from a recent webcast featuring Daniel Lee, Director of Legal Technology & Analytics at DaVita, Jonathan Johnson-Swagel, Senior Legal and Business Operations Manager for Uber, and Laura Barrios Griffin, Vice President and Corporate Counsel with Edwards Lifesciences – all of whom inherited a CLM that was selected and implemented by someone else.
Assess your Current Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) tool and status
If you're taking over a CLM roll-out mid-flight or are tasked with implementing one (and switching tools is not an option), the best way to start is to assess your current state:
- Review the current tool and what exactly it does (and doesn’t do – but could).
- Find out who is using it and precisely how they are using it.
- Find the right stakeholders and meet with them to determine their needs and challenges. (Hint: The “right” stakeholders might include detractors as well as champions – and be drawn from other functions.)
- Consider how much application switching occurs as users work around deficiencies or manually bridge gaps between tools used by other teams or functions.
Define your (revised) strategy to improve your CLM processes
Once you’ve reviewed what you have, you can pinpoint what you need and chart a path to strong adoption.
||“Sending out a survey to users and stakeholders as part of your assessment process can help identify pain points in your technology.”
- Laura Barrios Griffin, Vice President and Corporate Counsel with Edwards Lifesciences
Ongoing engagement to drive continuous improvement
Remember that you’ll need to be agile and flexible as new demands and opinions crystalize. You will need to involve stakeholders from different business groups, geographic regions and more, as they all have different needs:
|“This is a people process, getting the right people in the room…. across Legal, IT, Procurement, Global sourcing, Engineering, Vendor Management”
- Jonathan Johnson-Swagel, Senior Legal and Business Operations Manager, Uber
Build a better relationship with the vendor(s)
Behind every CLM tool is the vendor that created it and perhaps also a professional services team that your company engaged to support the implementation. When you start on this optimization process, make sure to build a strong, sustainable relationship so you can leverage vendors’ expertise.
"Ask questions rather than make demands. Develop mutual trust by avoiding blame and showing respect."
- Daniel Lee, Director of Legal Technology & Analytics, DaVita
Refine as your journey continues
As you bring your team along, demands and resources will likely grow and change as your contracting operations mature. Remember to keep redefining your strategy as you gain experience and take on more feedback. Quarterly and annual progress reviews against clear milestones and KPIs and making course corrections will help ensure that your core objectives are met.