Contracts touch every part of a business — World Commerce & Contracting found that, on average, 25% of an organization has a hand in managing contracts. Contracts are also extremely consequential, defining what a company buys, what it sells, and how it runs.
It’s no surprise that digitally transforming these assets pays massive dividends, including operational efficiencies, accelerated revenue, mitigated risk, and a treasure trove of commercial data. It’s because of the considerable value that businesses of all sizes from all industries are turning to modern Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) and launching massively ambitious projects on day one—all the contracts, all the processes, and people! But here’s the deal: No one goes from finding the right CLM solution to implementation overnight. A successful CLM implementation may sometimes need small wins, leading you to the grand prize.
Last month, I discussed the need for businesses to think big – from departments that will benefit from the solution to systems integration and cutting-edge technology like AI. Here, I’ll dive into three tips for achieving an ambitious CLM implementation.
Approach implementation in phases
A phased approach to implementing CLM is ideal for achieving high-value results and quick wins. These quick wins help to build champions of the solution within every business unit. These champions will then help to advance implementation across the organization. Breaking it down into segments and taking a phased approach will deliver maximum value to each business unit and ensure each department fully buys into the project.
Approaching implementation in phases also allows organizations to learn from individual users in real-time, allowing for quick pivots as necessary. They can give insight into how they acclimate to the new system while addressing areas of improvement.
For example, one operations director shared with me their approach: Her company kicked off its enterprise-wide implementation by addressing a single low-risk, high-volume contract type (confidential disclosure agreements) across 6 different countries. The project was a relatively light lift that had big results. Confidential Disclosure Agreements (CDAs) are executed in 10 minutes now, down from days. But more importantly, the project allowed stakeholders from across the company to see CLM in action and to build confidence in the overall CLM initiative. They gave feedback on what could work better and celebrated what value it delivered. That provided learnings and momentum for future success.
Lean on your trusted partner
Setting milestones, preparing, and training are essential to a successful implementation – but how do you decide which milestones? Which projects make the most sense for your business?
Connect with someone who has experience in successfully launching CLM technology. Advisory firms, from big to boutique, are standing up robust CLM practices stocked with a surplus of knowledge about contracts, contract technology, and their impact on businesses.
It’s beneficial to consider working with your solution vendor to find a partner equipped with the right level of expertise, who understands your vendor’s solution, and who can work with stakeholders across your organization and geographies. Your implementation isn’t their first – and certainly won’t be their last, but the best partners are those whose primary goal is to support your entire digital transformation journey – the end-to-end experience across the enterprise. Therefore, lean on implementation partners as the experts who will help you set your milestones and teach you how to approach each one.
Keep your eyes on the prize
It’s important not to lose sight of an even bigger threat: setting your implementation ambitions too low. It’s easy to fall into the trap of setting low ambitions amidst so much uncertainty. But remember, the business outcomes that can be delivered with enterprise-wide CLM is worth it.
While traditional CLM promises and delivers a wide range of benefits, enterprises must adopt an ambitious vision for contracting. That includes a long-term view of CLM and how it can grow and evolve. Therefore, achieve quick wins, but continue to work toward more ambitious contracting goals – enterprise-wide, structured, and connected contract data.
One Icertis customer manages nearly all of its sell-side contracts on the Icertis platform. This system constantly generates data that the contract team shares with business stakeholders for better compliance and commercial performance.
According to the contract implementation lead, he shared: “I have many constituents whom I support, and now that we have this data available, those constituents want even more data from us to aid their decision-making.”
Contracts are at the foundation of commerce. As businesses work to gain greater visibility and control of their contracts, they must remember that their contract management solution should benefit the entire organization, now and in the future.
CLM rewards big projects, but that doesn’t mean they happen overnight. The first step is to consider both the business’s short-term realities and long-term ambitions.
With 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.