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Contract Lifecycle Management - Why You Need It

Contract Lifecycle Management

Let’s face it, contracts are an efficiency killer.

Think about how much time you spend trying to track down contracts. Or how many times you draft the same type of contract from scratch – even though there are hundreds more like it somewhere in the business.

Consider the hours spent reviewing and re-reviewing contracts. Not to mention all the emails updating different business users on your progress.

You’re not alone.

Lawyers spend far too much of their time working on repetitive, low-value administrative tasks, when they should be adding real value to the business.

Now for the good news:

Contract management doesn’t need to be this challenging. Leading Legal departments are already using contract lifecycle management technologies to automate tasks and effectively propel productivity and efficiency, while reducing risk.

In other words, they automate the 'churn' so your lawyers can have strategic impact.

In this article, you’ll learn how contract lifecycle management will help your Legal team work smarter, not harder, and deliver more value across the whole business.

What Is contract lifecycle management and why is it important?

Contract lifecycle management (CLM) is the management of an organisation’s contracts from initiation and creation to execution, performance and renewal or expiry.

Why is this important?

While contracts are essential to any organisation, drafting and managing them can be labour-intensive and costly. There’s little or no visibility into contract details, and non-standardised manual processes can increase the risks of errors.

Building a high-performing Legal operations team requires improving how you manage the contract lifecycle - this is where the importance of contract lifecycle management software comes in.

The process must be standardised, automated, streamlined, and measurable – all of which can be achieved with the right technology, like Plexus Gateway, the world's most advanced Legal Automation Platform.

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How contract lifecycle management software & technology makes your job easier?

Contract lifecycle management technology uses automation and artificial intelligence to not only reduce the number of repetitive tasks handled by the Legal team, but also add value to business users.

But how does contract lifecycle management work?

By using standardised agreements, self-service templates and automated advice to streamline the contract processes during all the key stages - from drafting to execution and ongoing management.

Think about it as putting your best Lawyer, on their best day, on every device for business users.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Streamline workflows

Instead of simply ‘tracking matters’ as a traditional system might, contract lifecycle management technology is designed to increase productivity by embedding into existing workflows and providing tools to streamline processes and save time.

Let’s say a sales representative wins a deal with a new client. They fill out the smart form to define the task details and attach the relevant documents, like emails, proposals, etc.

The technology uses this information, together with a predetermined list of users and rules, to determine to which in-house Lawyer the task is allocated. Then, the system continues to track changes and collect data while the Lawyer actions the task.

2. Increase automated self-service for higher productivity

Studies show that functions that provide automated self-service increase productivity by 65% (General Counsel Roundtable).

Contract lifecycle management technology lets business users create contracts in self-service mode. What used to take 3-4 days and endless back and forth with Legal can now be executed by a business user in a matter of seconds – with no input from Legal.

This approach is typically more compliant because templates are standardised and there's less room for human error. Anything slightly out of the ordinary still gets sent to a real Lawyer for advice.

Meanwhile, your team can get on with the important stuff.

That’s what L’Oréal Australia & New Zealand did. It now takes 18 minutes on average for an agreement to be generated. Before using Plexus Gateway, the average churn time was about four hours across the business.

3. Automate and standardise drafting of high-volume agreements

Think of the time spent on the repetitive agreements and contracts you draft. Now imagine if you get a system to take care of them.

The point is, Legal doesn’t need to get involved in every single standard contract. It’s not a good use of your time or expertise.

Contract Lifecycle Management software, like Plexus Gateway, will standardise and automate your high-volume agreements and create templates for the most common contracts and clauses.

The result? Business users benefit from faster contracts, while you have more time free to advise on more complex agreements.

4. More transparency across the whole contract lifecycle

Because everything is housed in one system, business users and Legal can always see how their task is tracking, and can comment and interact as it progresses. No need for continuous email exchanges!

5. Use data for continuous improvement

Powerful analytics and detailed audit reporting is perhaps the most important long-term benefit of contract lifecycle management.

By tracking data across your entire team, such as common requests, time taken, and productivity, you can improve the way your team works and ultimately add greater value to the business.

Going back to L’Oréal Australia & New Zealand, the team uses Gateway to access data across key areas of the business: how many agreements have been generated, how many rounds of negotiation are needed per agreement, what contracts are up for renewal, and what contracts have a ‘change of control clause’ in them.

6. Remove the grunt work from your day

An effective contract lifecycle management solution will take care of the repetitive tasks and even provide fully automated advice on routine questions.

This means you and your team can focus on the tasks where you can really add value. You’ll enjoy your job more while improving engagement and retention of your Legal team.

Contract Lifecycle Management Technology Can Add Value To Your Role Too

Contract lifecycle management technology can make your job as a Legal counsel more important and valuable to the business.

The problem is, in-house Legal departments are often viewed as cost-centres. They don’t generate revenue. Around 44% of global Legal departments say they don’t have a high profile within their companies, according to The GC350: Benchmarking Study.

Contract lifecycle management technology can change this perception and boost your business credibility.

Using contract lifecycle management technology, you will:

  1. Elevate your role as an adviser: You can better advise on the health of the business using meaningful, real-time data insights extracted from your contract management system.
  2. Reduce risk: With deeper insight into your contract’s Legal obligations, you’ll have greater transparency over what is owed between the company and business partners.
  3. Help the company save money: Use performance data to analyse contract revenue and spend, and provide insights to the organisation.
  4. Improve communications between the Legal team and other business units: It’s not always an easy relationship, but smoother workflows will improve communications between Legal and business users.
  5. Prove your value with real stats: Show performance metrics to your CEO, decision makers and the wider business.

Over to you

Are your ready to automate entire contracting process and free up your Legal team? We’ve already presented the business case. That’s the hardest part done. Now it’s down to you to take the leap and transform the way you do things.

Find out how Gateway provides everything you need to manage the whole contract lifecycle, from initial request to renewal.

Get a demo today

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