The CLM process flow challenges many corporate legal departments. While contracts play a critical role in the success of any business, getting them to execution can be an uphill battle, thanks to antiquated processes and outdated tools. Popular software like Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel and SharePoint doesn’t offer the transparency you need during drafting, review and approval to keep contracting processes moving forward in a timely manner.
Managing your contracting doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The right contracting tools create a CLM process flow that allows corporate legal departments to eliminate delays, keep relationships with suppliers, vendors and customers running smoothly and gain insight into the contracting process to help with risk management and compliance.
Eliminating Contracting Bottlenecks In the CLM Process Flow
When the legal department is responsible for drafting, reviewing and approving even the most routine agreements, bottlenecks inevitably happen. Without a proper system for keeping track of contract volume and status, legal will inevitably be overwhelmed by contract requests from other departments, causing a backlog and frustration that will reverberate throughout the organization.
With the right CLM process flow, however, you speed up the creation and review process and free your lawyers to focus on high-value matters rather than administrative tasks. CLM software can remove delays in all stages of the contracting process, including creating intake forms configured to specific contract types, using data from those forms to automate the contract assembly process via templates, tailoring workflows to a contract’s subject matter, prioritizing contracts for review based on risk and more.
Gaining Transparency Into Review and Approvals
In the past, contract review occurred via inefficient emails between all the various stakeholders, making the approval process unclear and leaving contracts stagnating in inboxes for far too long. A better collaboration tool is necessary for legal to properly coordinate with procurement, sales and other departments, regardless of location or contract complexity.
Cloud-based CLM that’s designed and implemented to meet the needs of a specific organization can allow all parties in the approval chain to access the current status of contracting no matter where they are. More sophisticated CLM systems can create parallel approval processes incorporating e-signatures, eliminating hard copies and significantly accelerating the contracting timeline.
When you add AI to the CLM process flow, it accelerates it even more. Contract AI lets business users can run an AI-powered redline in less than two minutes. It can also identify potential issues and then automatically escalate critical issues to legal as necessary. The AI redlining essentially allows business users to self-service the review of common contracts such as NDAs.
Keeping Track of Executed Contracts
Many organizations lack a centralized contract repository, meaning that contracts are typically tucked away after being signed, too often in a place where they’re difficult to find again when they’re needed. Hard-copy storage and scattered electronic filing cabinets create disorganization, which in turn creates the risk of missing important dates or necessary compliance updates.
Having a single, designated repository for all contracts as part of your CLM process flow eliminates these problems. Contracts are simple to find, even after those who were originally involved with them have moved on. The right repository will be searchable across all document formats, so less time is spent trying to find contracts and more time is spent focusing on high-value work.
A CLM Process Flow that Stays on Top of Compliance
Compliance is critical to minimizing organizational risk. That means complying both with legal and regulatory requirements and complying with the terms of your contracts themselves. The best way to ensure compliance on all fronts is to implement CLM tools that track the terms of all your contracts, including conditions and pertinent dates, rather than leaving that task open to manual processes and costly human error.
CLM software with AI can extract the necessary data to have a clear picture of all your obligations and relevant legal standards. It can also track all changes to contracts and generate reports to create a reliable audit trail to lower your risk. For example, the contract AI can identify which contracts need repapering due to regulatory, policy or commercial changes and extract data from multiple legal documents at once for due diligence, applying contract updates or importing legacy contracts.
To capitalize on all these benefits of CLM process flow, you need a CLM solution that’s flexible enough to work the way your department works and can meet the needs of your entire organization, not just legal.