April 10, 2020
By Rebecca HollowayReading Time: 3 minutes
Superheroes are everywhere these days. Hollywood has turned comic book dynasties into movie-making gold that dominate at both the box office and the award circuit. These high-flying protectors can be found on items from t-shirts to lunch boxes, and their appeal spans generations, attracting the fascination of young and old alike. But what if you had an opportunity to be a superhero right where you work? To be fair, you might get some funny looks if you came into the office wearing a cape, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a profound difference for your whole organization and be a legal ops hero. It starts with contract management for all, because as we all know, superheroes help everyone and not just a small group.
Traditionally, contracts have been relegated to the realm of legal. When a contract is needed, the first question is often: “Have you gotten legal involved?” It makes sense. The language and terms that govern a contract can be complex, and changing even a single word can radically alter the outcome of a contract. Ensuring proper legal oversight helps to safeguard the contract, and by extension, the entire organization.
However, contracts, like your role in legal operations, touch many parts of the organization. Just as your role is multi-disciplinary by its very nature, so too are contracts. Your role empowers you to be the connector between other areas of your organization, such as Sales, Finance and Procurement. And one way to distinguish yourself as a superhero is to become the champion of contracts and provide a proper CLM solution for all because remember, in the end, the superhero will save mankind.
Consider some of the major pain points of contracting across departments, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Contract request and authoring – How easily can someone in another department initiate a contract request? Do they have to rely on email or is there a system of record they can use? Is it self-service or can they request directly from Salesforce.com?
- Redlining and negotiation – When the contract is being negotiated and revised, are there a lot of emails back and forth across the organization or is the workflow automated? Are you dealing with a versioning nightmare?
- Approvals – Are contracts routed automatically to the right approvers throughout your business or do you have to keep track manually? What happens when an approver is out of the office? Does the process come to a screeching halt?
- Signature – How much effort is involved in executing the contract? Are signatures manual or electronic? Are you chasing signatories to get the signature done?
- Repository – If someone needs to find a contract, do they have to bother you each time, or is there an easy, searchable repository they can access?
- Commitment tracking – For the numerous active agreements you have in place, do you keep track of renewals and notices on time? Who makes sure its commitments are followed through, and is this manual or automatic?
Each of these common tasks may involve multiple departments or business units. To think of contracts as just a legal function is to be short-sighted. Since legal ops sits at the hub of all of them, you can help yourself by involving others. Consider the areas of contract management that are currently the most difficult for your organization and evaluate the measures needed to ease the burden.
Contracts go far beyond just the legal department. They impact the entire business. Over the life of a contract they may touch Sales, Finance, Procurement, IT, Compliance, and many others. This is where you have the opportunity to shine with a win for the whole business, not just your department. By making collaboration, communication, and coordination across the entire company central in your contract management, you can become a legal ops superhero. Now the only question you need to figure out is, “What will be your legal ops superhero costume be?”