How CLM Facilitates Collaboration During the Contract Process

Collaboration is an essential part of the contract process. After you draft a contract, internal stakeholders will likely have to weigh in and sometimes make changes. The counterparty will also need to review and may often have revisions of their own, which, depending on the type of agreement, may cause your legal, finance or HR teams to enter the picture to review, revise and ultimately approve changes. While this collaborative effort is necessary to make sure all parties are comfortable with the final product, it can dramatically lengthen the time it takes to finalize an agreement.

Contract lifecycle management (CLM) software was created to eliminate these bottlenecks in collaboration and expedite the entire contract process, from contract generation and signing to storage and ongoing management. By consolidating the contract process into one secure location and automating key tasks, CLM software like Docusign CLM reduces risk and the time it takes to complete agreements.

In The Future of Collaboration in CLM session at Docusign’s Momentum event, Linda Tsan, sr. product marketing manager at Docusign; Yiting Zheng, sr. product manager at Docusign; and Amanda Bourque Ribeiro, sr. business development manager of platform partnerships at Slack, explain how capabilities in Docusign CLM help teams overcome common challenges in collaborating to reach contract consensus.

Increase visibility and surface insights during contract collaboration

Working with numerous internal and external stakeholders means managing different priorities. Contracting is just one part of your legal, finance, sales and HR teams’ responsibilities, which is why it’s important to bring everyone up to speed quickly. Without strong collaboration tools, getting all teams in sync can be time consuming and delay moving the contract out the door for signature.

Docusign CLM makes it easier for your team to fulfill their obligations within the contract process, thanks to several features designed for greater visibility and insight. They include:

  • Comments and tasks: Every internal team has its own processes and often works with different technologies, which can make it difficult to access the right data and contribute effectively altogether in the contracting process. It’s much simpler when everyone can collaborate in one place. Highlight text, add comments, mention stakeholders and assign tasks directly in CLM to keep the review process streamlined and empower teams to work more efficiently together.
  • AI-supported negotiation: Manually reviewing counterparty changes is error prone, can take a considerable amount of time and extends the entire review process. With Docusign AI, CLM+ can automatically review counterparty changes and produce a risk score to highlight more risky changes for legal. Based on the document’s content and risk score, it’s also easy to substitute an approved clause from the company clause library or even set up a workflow that triggers the next step in the agreement process such as an extra review.

Keep it organized throughout the contracting process

Keeping track of feedback, suggestions and changes from multiple stakeholders can be challenging. Without effective version control, finalizing the agreement can be arduous and frustrating. CLM eliminates hurdles with:

  • Review and compare: When an internal or external party makes changes to a document, you need insight into the exact alterations made. Docusign CLM lets you compare versions so you can see what changes were made from one version to the next regardless of whether “track changes” was used. This way there is a court-admissible audit record of changes to reduce risk.
  • Comments history: When legal and finance teams re-enter the contract process to review counterparty changes, they often lack sufficient information or background. Docusign CLM lets them look at the full history of open and closed comments and tasks, so they can easily understand who made changes and, more importantly, get the context of why they were made.

Eliminating friction with integration

Toggling between applications, emails and documents can dramatically slow down the agreement process, while also increasing the likelihood of error. At the same time, if your team or the counterparty is already comfortable working within certain platforms, they may be reluctant to change. To make the agreement process easier for everyone, these Docusign CLM features leverage the tools you already use for seamless collaboration: 

  • Email-based Word negotiation: Because many counterparties are most comfortable using Microsoft Word to manage their agreements, Docusign introduced an easy way for Word documents to sync with CLM. After making a change to a document in Microsoft Word, the counterparty can simply reply to the CLM email notification with the Word document as an attachment. After scanning the email to verify it’s from the right address and domain, CLM automatically uploads the Word doc as the latest version—saving you hassle and making it easy for external parties to do business with you using the tools they are comfortable with. 

More ways to collaborate on contracts on the horizon

Docusign is always looking for new and innovative ways for customers to collaborate with colleagues and external parties during the agreement process, and further minimize time to agreement.

“Collaboration is key for crafting better agreements that work better for all parties and foster long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships,” Tsan says. “That’s why we’re investing heavily in the collaboration feature roadmap, which is core to the Docusign CLM platform.”

Learn more about how Docusign CLM helps improve collaboration in the contract process or log in to watch the full session The Future of Collaboration in CLM.