When momentum is on your side and you are winning the game of soccer, do you want your coach to slow down the game or just let you play according to pre-determined plays? This sort of dilemma is not only common in sports, but it also exists in the world of legal, procurement, finance, sales, and others. Let’s talk specifically about sales or procurement contract managers.
Well, recently, the procurement leader of a large enterprise shared the performance metrics his board is measuring for his (and his team’s) performance. On top of his performance metrics, one of the important KPIs is the deal cycle, i.e., how fast his company procures goods and services to move the business. Speed is the name of the game - stands true here too.
During the further conversation, this seasoned procurement professional revealed that if the company’s legal team (read, contracting team) feels the urgency, he would have fewer sleepless nights! He added that he understands why contract managers consume time for contract creation, processing, and negotiations – but he also felt there had to be a better way to deal with the entire contract lifecycle management.
Overall, the procurement leader wished that legal services improvement for their internal customers, i.e., employees – makes perfect sense! Otherwise, it felt like the soccer team is asked to play a fast game, but the coach kept interrupting the players and changing the play every time – slowing the game down.
Problems faced by Legal Teams and Contract Managers
It is most often seen that legal operations and contract administrators carry a heavy burden when it comes to contract lifecycle management. Their contract workload always increases, but the resources usually do not keep pace. You will always find them in a constant state of struggle to improve contract request turnaround time and make sure your business stays in compliance with its obligations and commitments.
Amongst many known practical challenges faced by legal professionals, the most ignored but highly existing challenge is budget restraint. In many organizations, despite impressive YoY growth, the budget allocated for legal tech software remains the same.
Without the right contract lifecycle management software for the legal team, they spend significant time managing non-negotiable contracts like NDAs, employee compensation contracts (based on the jurisdiction), and services contracts. Also, despite wanting to improve legal services to internal customers, the legal group leader often feels constrained.
Legal teams and contract administrators require a contract lifecycle management solution, that addresses the ‘real’ problems they face because they are under so much pressure from internal and external stakeholders.
Going back to the soccer metaphor, it is not the coach who wants to interrupt the team; however, the team did not decide on the play in advance, so the coach has to intervene and guide the team.
How can legal tech software ease the contract manager's workload?
For all the obvious reasons, it is high time to treat legal functions within an organization similar to other support functions, i.e., IT, HR, or admin. Why can’t we use the technology to empower the employees to create and manage their own contracts, of course under the watchful eyes of the legal?
Let the legal team define the plays for employees using pre-approved templates, clauses, and a definite approval process. Since the language is pre-defined, the company has no additional legal exposure. However, if the other party wants a different language, forcing the change in play, the contract will have to go to legal (and others as required) approvals.
Benefits contract managers and legal team can harness with legal tech software
- Automated contract creation with standardized and legal language
- Collaborative redlining and version control
- AI-enabled metadata extraction
- AI-driven workflows, notifications, and insights
- Obligation and compliance management
Just like how an employee creates an IT ticket in an ITSM tool like ServiceNow, devise a fresh strategy wherein an employee can create their own contracts, track them, and is accountable for renewal and amendments. The metric for Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) should be an improvement in the deal cycle.
The legal should act as a ‘true coach’ and watch the game from the sidelines. The play strategies should be decided in advance, but in certain situations, the coach will take a time-out and guide the team. ServiceNow Legal Service Delivery and Aavenir Contract Lifecycle Management Solution can help ease the workload of contract managers.
Such an approach can dramatically improve employee satisfaction for legal services expediting deal cycles - procurement and sales alike! And finally, let us take the game by the scruff of the neck!