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How to Improve Contract Management in the Age of Digital Transformation

August 2019 |
Kelli Blystone, Marketing Manager, Conga

In the wake of what’s known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, many businesses are undergoing a process called Digital Transformation (DX) in order to adopt and adapt to new technologies that are changing the way we live and work. Digital Transformation has evolved into a mega trend, fundamentally changing both how we do things, and customer expectations of how we will interact with them.

As organisations look for a starting point in their transformations, many focus on areas that affect business most. This is where documents come in. Documents are essential to business, with contracts, in particular, governing 60-80 percent of B2B transactions, according to Gartner. When documents and contracts are handled or managed ineffectively, it creates drag as well as unnecessary risks. And while many companies are still using outdated or ineffective processes to manage their contracts, they’re also up against an ever-growing volume of contracts, increasing compliance requirements, and, often, staffing challenges in their legal and contract management teams. As businesses realise Digital Transformation is essential to success, they’re embracing Digital Document Transformation (DDX) as a logical first step in the process.

Even organisations who have implemented a contract management lifecycle (CLM) process are not working as efficiently and accurately as they could. Many are using basic document repositories, that aren’t equipped with the tools or abilities necessary to comply with relevant government, industry, or corporate requirements or compliance. Not only that, but they lack visibility into the contract process, and typically average slow completion cycles. There is no guarantee that the right people are getting the right documents when they need them, or that methods in place to ensure best practices are consistently followed and updated based on real-world experiences and market changes.

A modern CLM solution can set businesses up for success, and help as they embark on their DDX journey. Intelligent contracts will cover the bases from creation to negotiation to signature. Templates can be set up so contracts will always come out professional-looking and compliant with the click of a button. Clause libraries provide peace of mind in that reps are always pulling the most up-to-date, accurate, and compliant clauses. A secure, centralised repository allows for easy searching and the storing and management of unlimited contracts. Finally, an intelligent solution will also provide more robust analytics and visibility, with AI-powered insights and integrations with CRM tools to help organisations work smarter.

Let’s dig a little deeper on a few of the key capabilities of an intelligent CLM solution, starting with lowered risk. Connecting the legal requirements with the needs of the sales team reduces risk by maintaining compliance and increasing visibility across the business. The CLM application will help legal control the terms that can be included in any contract and limit one-off changes. When the sales team is always up-to-speed on the latest terms and staying compliant, they can shorten the time spent in negotiation. Similarly, these functions can also support ongoing needs like addendums, renewals, and terminations.

An ideal modern CLM solution will take contract processes through signature, and beyond. By using a CLM system with a built-in eSignature feature, documents will be automatically routed to the right people to sign when they need to, and as a result, sales cycles can shrink significantly. In addition to eSignature, a CLM tool can provide tracking information, delivering visibility into where all agreements are in the process, who has viewed or is currently viewing a contract, and where any bottlenecks lie. All versions, audit trails, and final agreements will be stored in the system of record, allowing managers to leverage advanced analytics to drill down on issues with past contracts and identify key areas for improvement. Every contract can then be accessed, managed, and tracked throughout the course of their lifecycle (and beyond) from the centralised, secure repository.

To recap, a modern CLM solution should include:

  • Advanced features that group common terms and conditions, leverage pre-approved terms and conditions, and vet new language as you make revisions.
  • The ability to negotiate terms in Microsoft Word while tracking the process in a customer relationship management (CRM) system like Salesforce.
  • Professional final documents that incorporate all relevant logos and branding.
  • eSignature capabilities to ensure every document is signed.
  • A secure, centralised repository to store contracts that have been approved and signed.
  • A CLM application should be able to handle third-party contracts from suppliers or partners.
  • Analytics and charts to deliver insight into the types of language and trends users are encountering in contract creation.
  • An end-to-end solution that will deliver all the CLM features needed to take a deal from creation to negotiation to signature, in a single, integrated tool.

Digital Transformation is impacting almost every business process in almost every organisation. CLM is no exception, and by using an intelligent contracts solution to improve the CLM process, companies can see measurable gains in productivity, shrink sales negotiations and cycle times, and ensure all documents meet government and corporate legal standards and requirements.

About Conga
Conga is the leader in end-to-end Digital Document Transformation. From collaboration and creation, through contract management and negotiation, to agreement and e-signature, the Conga Suite has set the standard for automating business productivity and CRM investment through end-to-end Digital Document Transformation.