4 Best Practices for First-time Implementation of CLM Software

With 2017 now in the books, business managers across the nation are looking for ways for working smarter and creating cost savings in the new year. With Goldman Sachs estimating that companies using contract management software can reduce annual contract management expenses by 20 to 50 percent, contract managers have a strong business case to upgrade all contract management processes with a CLM solution.

However, the reality is that while contract management professionals understand the benefits of adopting contract management software, nearly 1 in 4 of them don’t know what to look for in a CLM solution. Let’s review 4 best practices for first-time implementation of CLM software.

  1. Review the Steps of Your Contract Lifecycle

One of the first questions that any CLM solution provider will ask you is, “What does your contract lifecycle look like?”. Plan ahead and map out the steps of a typical contract lifecycle within your enterprise. While the bulk of the task will fall on the individuals who are responsible for the creation, editing, and/or management of contracts, it is a best practice to involve representatives from other departments.

Ask those representatives to take a look at the contract lifecycle, indicate instances in which they should be involved, and provide suggestions for additional steps. For example, the legal department representative could want to take part of the post-mortem review or the accounting department would like to take part whenever there is a contract up for renewal. Take this as an opportunity to learn about the intricacies of your enterprise’s contract processes and increase the visibility of processes that could be automated.

  1. Start with Baby Steps

Through its years of experience handling tens of thousands of users and managing more than 10 million contracts, Contract Logix has learned that the enterprises that are the most successful in adopting a new CLM solution are those that take “baby steps” instead of trying to go from 0 to 60 mph in an instant.

It’s a best practice to first focus on the foundation of any CLM software: centralizing & securing agreements and setting up alerts that help you monitor all of the important associated dates. These two are among the top challenges in contract management of enterprises across many industries:

  • 63.60% of individuals responsible for contracts at manufacturing companies reported that scattered contracts create a challenge for their organizations.
  • 66.50% of individuals responsible for contracts at business services companies put lack of visibility into scope of contracts as the most pressing issue.
  • 64.30% of individuals responsible for contracts at business services companies indicated that the inability to extract key data from contracts at least somewhat challenged contract management processes at their companies. That percentage is at 63.84% for contract managers at manufacturing companies.

Creating a centralized repository for securely storing, managing, and tracking all your contract data, documents, and supporting materials is a great first step to get started with contract management. It addresses several key concerns from users across the enterprise and sets up the organization for success for the next features of CLM solutions.

  1. Consider an Express Solution

In layman terms, a “Goldilocks” CLM solution. Not full blown with all the bells and whistles and not just a cloud-based storage solution. An Express Solution of the right size would have the following features:

  • Organize all contracts and supporting documents for more efficient access, from one centralized electronic repository.
  • Provide secure, role-based access to contracts, ensuring the right people have access to the right contract information.
  • Eliminate the risk of missed deadlines via proactive notifications for important contract terms or dates.
  • Meet the toughest compliance requirements by providing a complete audit trail of all changes made to contract records and supporting documents.

Just the right size for an initial set of requirements: these four criteria serve as a solid set of must-have requirements that would allow you to easily eliminate inadequate CLM solutions and identify nice-to-have criteria that could serve as a tiebreaker when dealing with very similar solutions. Also, an Express Solution makes for a better business case when you have limited budget to invest in a CLM solution.

  1. Look for Onboarding Support

No matter how turnkey a CLM solution may be, you still may have questions.  That’s why considering the quality of customer support during the decision-making process can make a contract management provider stand out from the competition.   When you start scheduling discovery calls with different CLM software providers to determine which one is the best fit for your enterprise, ask for the included onboarding support for an Express Solution.

For example, Contract Logix’s Express Solution can be onboarded in just one hour, enabling your designated in-house administrator to meet your organization’s specific needs, such as creating page layouts, fields, drop-down values, and requirements, and defining alert rules by record type, as well as how to import your contract information that is currently housed in Excel spreadsheets. This way, your end-users can be up and running in an hour.

The Bottom Line

While adoption a CLM solution can benefit your enterprise, it’s a process requiring much more than just the handoff of a check. Take a “Goldilocks” approach in adopting a CLM solution by starting with Contract Logix’s Express Solution. It will be the right first step in a successful implementation of  CLM software at your enterprise in 2018.

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4 Best Practices for First-time Implementation of CLM Software