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Contract Automation to the Rescue for Legal Operations

By Malbek

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The role of the modern Legal Operations professional is evolving rapidly. Not that long ago, agreements were stored in shared folders or worse, in physical filing cabinets, and signatures were inked with actual pens further delaying the process. Today, however, the demands placed on Legal Ops have necessitated change. Because Legal Ops touches every department, from Procurement to Sales, these professionals look to technology as a way to keep up with the growing expectation placed on them to do more with less. Where once Legal was more cautious to embrace technology, today they are embracing it with ever-increasing enthusiasm to bridge the gap across their organization and reduce repetitive, time-consuming tasks that are better suited for automation.

Jumping into the Deep End of the Pool

It can be tempting to jump in to a new technology solution straight away when you want to introduce automation. However, you should start by thoroughly understanding the current processes you want to automate and what you want your future processes to look like. Just as you wouldn’t put on a bathing suit and jump into the deep end of a pool without knowing how to swim, in the same way, you need to begin by identifying what you need to streamline and automate before you can actually do so.

Where to Begin

Here are some practical points to consider when building out your technology requirements.

  • Ask yourself where things can be streamlined and improved.
  • Identify what entities and departments truly need to be involved in these processes.
  • Determine if a new system is needed or an existing one can help.
  • Consider what integrations you want with your existing business systems. Keeping users connected to the technology they already love will help ease change management strain and increase user adoption rates.

Templates, Templates Everywhere

A significant area of automation focus for many Legal teams right now is contract management. The number and type of agreements within your organization is likely increasing, and it’s common for business teams within your company to struggle knowing which template they should be using when requesting a contract. A CLM solution can help. Auto-template selection can streamline the contract request experience using a few key data fields that are linked to the correct contract template, and then route it to the appropriate approvers. This type of contract automation can relieve the burden placed on Legal to get involved in every single agreement and free up their time to focus on more strategic initiatives.

Speeding the Signature Process

Signature is another area that can get slow things down. Even with e-signature, the process doesn’t always go smoothly. Especially in a large organization depending on factors like region, entity, department, or contract value, agreements require different signatories. Routing agreements to the right individuals can be time-consuming and potentially fraught with error. By automating the signatory hierarchy in your contract management solution, you can ensure that the correct person is signing each agreement every time, building efficiency into the process and providing compliance peace of mind.

One CLM to Rule Them All

As you consider which CLM solution will help to streamline your contract processes, it may seem impossible that you can find one to work for every part of your organization. However, there are ways to find one solution.

  • Involve stakeholders early and often, even bordering on overcommunication when choosing a solution. Solicit feedback using surveys to make sure the product is meeting user needs.
  • Keep all   requirements in mind. Be sure to identify what stakeholders need, such as who needs to be notified and when. This will help you navigate involving each party in agreement workflows and not bothering them when unnecessary.
  • Select a solution that is flexible enough to be configured to meet the needs of various use cases. Ultimately, the more flexible the solution is, the easier it will be to keep your stakeholders happy.
  • Provide plenty of training as it will help in overcoming resistance to change. People learn in different ways, so give them a variety of outlets to help them get accustomed to the new solution (e.g. user guides, training videos, and office hours).

Looking Ahead – Metrics Rule!

Once you have contract automation in place,  you’re ready to measure  success and see where additional efficiencies might be needed. Helpful metrics include:

  • How often you are using your own paper versus third-party paper?
  • How many people route signatures through your CLM?
  • How long is your average cycle time?
  • How many contracts need Legal involvement and how many do not?
  • How many times are you using standard language instead of non-standard?
  • Is your contract volume changing month-to-month?

Automatic reporting on these key performance indicators (KPIs) can help determine where improvements are needed. And let’s not forget that having these KPIs often helps you justify additional spend or resources as you grow.

About Malbek

Malbek is today’s most modern, cutting-edge, and AI-infused CLM solution that empowers Legal Ops professionals to do more with less. By supporting the growing contracting demands of your entire enterprise, including Sales, Finance, Procurement and other critical business units, Malbek’s CLM solution delights every user. Malbek provides end-to-end contract management with out-of-the-box integration to popular business applications, like Salesforce, Coupa, Workday, Slack and others, allowing your contract data to flow seamlessly while dramatically reducing cycle times. That’s contracts reimagined! To learn more visit www.malbek.io.