Contract Management: More for Less – Is it Possible?
Set aside the contract management process for a moment. The general counsel (GC), attorneys, and legal teams take on a considerable amount of stress. No surprise in that statement. It’s part of the legal profession. Whether you work at one of the many law firms or are an in-house counsel – there is a drive for perfectionism. Law schools, firms, and corporate life drive the demand for ultra-high quality work and results. It is the base expectation. Your legal advice has to be exceptional.
Now, look specifically at corporate life. After the economic shock of 2008, and the ensuing Great Recession, companies changed. Many failed. Those that survived took on a continual search for efficiency and cost-cutting measures. Aptly pointed out by Richard Suskind in The End of Lawyers, in-house counsel was also affected. Since that turning point, corporate legal staff have been pushed to achieve more for less. Back to contract management, more for less has simply become a standard expectation. That bottom line is part of the general counsel’s stresses and concerns.
STRESSED OUT PROFESSION
A study by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs found that professional stresses with licensed attorneys lead to various maladies. A few concerning ones include:
- 28% struggle with some form of depression
- 21% qualify as problem drinkers
- 19% show symptoms of anxiety
This dovetails with the 1990 John Hopkins University research that reviewed over 100 professions. Among them, legal professionals were 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression – than any other professional group.
NOT ANOTHER PROBLEM
Contracts and contract processes are a major part of the in-house general counsel’s job. In light of the general stresses of the role and profession, a contract management system cannot add to this strain. In fact, when thinking contract management, more for less should be the immediate inclination.
WHAT IT MEANS: CONTRACT MANAGEMENT, MORE FOR LESS
To ContractPodAi, more for less means giving the general counsel more impact and less stress. The world of contract management solutions can be a confusing one. The legal tech space is still in the early stage, but it is starting to unfold. It is starting to blossom. As such, there are so many different applications available, today.
You have to be concerned about issues like when contracts auto-renew, expire, trigger penalties, and so on. Are all your contracts consistent? Which had electronic signatures versus physical ones, and is that even important anymore? Are your contracts buy-sided, sell-sided, concerned with intellectual property (IP protections), NDA’s, or personnel employment agreements?
Naturally, there are so many concerns with contracts. Companies just don’t transact without formal agreements. As such, the whole contract lifecycle management (CLM) concept takes on a whole new depth of gravity.
Contract management software is a necessity for businesses. Thousands of active agreements, simply cannot be managed on an Excel spreadsheet. Nor can the job be done on an improvised Access database. Even your crack IT team’s custom coded project will quickly fall short of your needs, and those of your business users.
Offering impact is about bringing on a full contracting solution that gives you:
- Contract authoring
- Commitment management & negotiation
- Signoff authorization
- Single contract system of record (document management)
- Compliance & governance consistency checks
- Real-time analytics
Impact here is about storing all your information in one place, reducing your risk by controlling your clause and contract consistency, and being able to monitor your agreements in real-time.
For the office of the general counsel, showing more impact with analytics is a particularly important aspect. Modern CLM systems use artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance their analytical capabilities (among other areas). A major step forward in contract management, more for less argument – is the real-time analytics capabilities.
In the past, the senior executive team might ask the GC to provide a risk analysis across all contracts – for a particular attribute. Perhaps an understanding of the financial value of its contracts, or a scan for high limit liabilities. In a large company, there may be as many as 40,000 or more contracts. Such a request could take weeks. But a CLM with AI-enhanced analytics, a particularly large database of contracts might only take hours.
This is a great example of showing more impact, both from your contract controls and representing the in-house legal team.
Attorneys and in-house law departments need solutions that take the general counsel’s stresses, away. As earlier discussed, the legal profession has many stressors, without the need for yet another. So wouldn’t it be great to reduce the stress when bringing in a system to help manage your agreements?
In-house legal groups need to insist that vendors offer inclusive CLM implementations. That means providing the service of ferreting out all contracts in an organization, to bring them into a single repository. That in itself is a worthy stress-reducing paradigm shift.
Beyond that, why do so many reasonable solutions surprise you at the end with gasp-inducing implementation fees, and per contract fees? A good CLM system should be cost inclusive. You shouldn’t have to be worried about the cost of running an AI analytics query across your entire database of contracts. For that matter, you shouldn’t face implementation costs that are significantly larger than the annual SaaS fees.
SO … IS IT POSSIBLE?
In-sourcing, De-Lawyering, relocating, off-shoring, outsourcing, and subcontracting – are all options for getting more done with fewer resources for in-house legal groups. But, in contract management, more for less, amounts to greater than this. It is about intelligent automation. It is about outsourcing the stress to a provider that can implement a complete solution seamlessly. Even more so, it is about helping your team take on a full digital transformation in one painless transition. Companies don’t just transact without formal agreements
We are openly asking whether ‘contract management, more for less’ is a possible concept. For a stressed-out profession, the last thing you need is another hassle. As such, the short answer is ‘YES’. In the world of contracts – look for system vendors that offer your team more impact for less stress.
A shift in paradigms takes changing your perception. Specifically, we present the option of using a tool like a CLM system more effectively. On that note, John Kenneth Galbraith once quipped that: “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.” Rather than following the crowd, make the smart choice and look to the tools that will help your team, rather than proving the task is too great.
Reach out to us at ContractPodAi. We are always pleased to discuss how AI-enhanced contract lifecycle management systems help you deliver ‘more for less’.
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