Realizing Value Faster from Contract Intelligence – Learnings from Successful Go-Lives - Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay As my colleagues and I have documented previously in this space, contract intelligence delivers enormous value to an enterprise. It does this by unlocking the unique business data found in contracts. But if you’ve ever led a technology implementation, you know that it’s not enough for technology to deliver value. It has to deliver value fast.

This need for speed can be a double-edged sword in the context of contracts. Contracts span the entire enterprise and intersect with every critical business process, from source-to-settle to quote-to-cash. True digital transformation in this space requires businesses to think big. Think big about what departments will use and benefit from the technology. Think big about what other enterprise systems it will integrate with. Think big about using cutting-edge technology like AI.

Such big thinking can seem contrary to fast implementation. But with the right approach, a quick go-live can actually work in your favor, no matter how ambitious your contract intelligence vision is.

Think Big, Start Smart

At Icertis, we call it “Think Big, Start Smart.”

Organizations of every size and industry have scored quick wins implementing contract lifecycle management (CLM) software—not by curbing their ambitions but by being smart about how they begin.

By starting smart, companies can avoid the paralysis of trying to “boil the ocean.” They can also build momentum in their CLM implementation by developing internal champions. There are many ways a company can find and nurture internal champions. A few ways may include: reducing the time it takes for a salesperson to close a deal turns her into an internal champion. Delivering performance data to a business executive can whet his appetite for more. With this momentum created and champions paving your way, you will have the support you need to tackle your bigger contracting projects.

Taking a People, Process, Data Approach

If you’re considering implementing a CLM system, consider the people, processes, and data that can help you notch early wins on your path to even greater triumphs.


As with any technology implementation, it’s important to remember that success will be defined by the people who use it.

Regarding contract transformation, who in your organization might become early champions of your CLM system? Is there a tech-savvy team eager to try out new technology? Are there teams in your legal department swamped by tedious contracting tasks that CLM could easily automate? Are there people hungry for data and contract intelligence for their reporting?

Another “who” question is: Who should lead the implementation? Maybe it’s you and your team. However, if this is your first CLM implementation, consider connecting with the growing list of advisory firms specializing in CLM implementations. They will bring best practices to your organization on day one and avoid common pitfalls that can delay value.


Once you have your people identified, it’s time to consider how you want to roll out the solution. Perhaps you roll out a few features to everyone on the team. That will get them into the system and familiar with the interface without overwhelming them with new information. Conversely, you might offer the full functionality of the solution to a few superusers. This can create a core team of champions who will evangelize the system to others and provide in-house CLM expertise.

This is also the time to start thinking about integrations with other solutions. Integrating contract data across the enterprise software architecture is critical to realizing the full value of your CLM. But integrations vary greatly in complexity, from ERP solutions to others like eSignature. Find an easy integration to start with to show how contract data can help the business run.

Another process to consider is training: how do your users best learn? Is it an in-room, lab study? Is it by video instruction? Maybe it’s by embedded guidance within the system? Thinking about these critical processes, from contracting, to integration to training, will ensure a smooth launch.


Lastly, whatever decisions you make regarding people and processes, make sure the system is creating measurable data. This can be done by achieving the following steps:

  • Demonstrate incremental progress on contract management KPIs to build confidence and momentum for your CLM project.
  • Work with your CLM provider to benchmark contract management KPIs that are important to your team prior to implementation.
  • Produce a 30-60-90-day report to measure how these KPIs have changed since implementation.

Note that not all data needs to show an implementation slam dunk. Data can deliver early learnings that pay dividends as more ambitious projects are adopted. For example, the data might show poor adoption in a particular part of the business. This can give the implementation team an area to focus on for improvements. Does the solution not work for this team’s processes? Is there a problem with training? Hard lessons like these, when grounded in data, can be extremely valuable as solutions get off the ground.

Two Case Studies

In my experience working with CLM implementation teams, two prime examples of “Think Big, Start Smart” come to mind.

The first example comes from a fast-growing technology firm. At the outset, this company set its sights on an enterprise-wide CLM implementation.

This is a big goal! But they didn’t do it all at once. Instead, they started their implementation by focusing on a single contract type: NDAs. Given the business they are in, NDAs are critical to business as usual. They are also fairly standardized and low risk. This company also reviewed large volumes of agreements, consuming precious time that could have been dedicated to higher, more strategic work and negotiations.

The company automated the NDA workflow enterprise-wide so that 96% of these agreements were signed without legal having to see them. That’s a big win from an efficiency and risk-management standpoint, and they achieved it within 100 days of starting implementation!

The second example comes from a global pharmaceutical company. Like the software company, this company was aggressive from the outset regarding what it wanted its CLM system to deliver: a global, end-to-end contracting process.

But as the head of the implementation told me, “You can’t boil the ocean.” His team took a phased approach, starting with high-volume contracts like MSAs, SOWs, and contractor engagements. The team set incremental deadlines to ensure it stayed on schedule and adjusted its goals accordingly. In sum, they made that something got done on time and kept it on track for ongoing value down the road.

Finding the Value That’s Right for You

Neither of these two companies followed a one-size-fits-all CLM implementation playbook. Every company’s contract processes are different. That means “starting smart” will look different at each organisation.

What is universal is that they took their first step with an eye on the following steps.

Simplifying the initial rollout of the CLM is key to building that confidence and buy-in—which will prove key down the road should you address more complex contracting challenges.

IcertisWith unmatched technology and category-defining innovation, Icertis pushes the boundaries of what’s possible with contract lifecycle management (CLM). The AI-powered, analyst-validated Icertis Contract Intelligence (ICI) platform turns contracts from static documents into strategic advantage by structuring and connecting the critical contract information that defines how an organization runs. Today, the world’s most iconic brands and disruptive innovators trust Icertis to fully realize the intent of their combined 10 million+ contracts worth more than $1 trillion, in 40+ languages and 90+ countries.


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