How to Hit the Ground Running with CLM

This guest blog was written by Teju Deshpande, Founder and CEO, Oya Solutions.

If you’re thinking about implementing contract lifecycle management (CLM) technology in your organization, you might be thinking: how do I get started? While you may be tempted to jump right into kicking off the implementation, CLM readiness is critical for a successful implementation and future adoption of the platform.

Some of the challenges that companies can experience during deploying a CLM solution include:

  • Cross-functional stakeholder alignment
  • Implementation plan and scope misalignment
  • Training end users
  • Maintenance of the platform
  • Legacy data migration

In this blog, we outline some best practices to address these issues in the earliest stages of your CLM implementation.

What to do before a CLM implementation

Before you kick-off your implementation, either on your own or working with a systems integrator, there are several steps you should take to prepare your organization for adopting your CLM technology:

  • Key stakeholder alignment: Most often, the initiative to implement a CLM platform is spearheaded by a department or a set of stakeholders. Before an implementation begins, it is important to ensure alignment on plan, scope, roadmap for future phases, roles and responsibilities and users. Decide in advance the core project team, users who will be using the system, administrators, reviewers and approvers. Determine which groups will want to be involved in signing off requirements, participate in configuration demos, conduct user acceptance testing during this stage. It is particularly critical to have user acceptance testing participants understand the current configuration and test a variety of user scenarios to ensure that the platform will meet all of their real world use cases.
  • Scope and deployment plan: Ensure that the implementation scope, deployment and rollout plan has been clearly communicated to all the key stakeholders. Stakeholders need to review and approve key components of scope, including templates, metadata, process maps, users, approvals and signatories. Any process updates, integration requirements, contract policy changes and templates need to be finalized before requirements are signed off.
  • End user training: Identify key project champions who will be able to support end user questions after the system is deployed. You will be continually optimizing and enhancing the configurations to include additional use cases as your business evolves. It’s important to have an ongoing training and user adoption plan to ensure that the system continues to deliver expected efficiency gains and ROI.
  • Maintenance: It’s important to ensure that there are resources identified to manage the platform on an ongoing basis. If the plan is to have internal team members manage the application, enable the system administrator by connecting them early to vendor resources like training classes, self-paced learning, articles and how-to videos. Involve the system administrator in all phases of the initial implementation to help them get comfortable with the platform and configurations.
  • Historical data migration: Profiling existing agreements, determining key metadata for enabling search and reporting are all important steps in repository maintenance and future adoption of the platform. Key decisions involve identifying the system of record (will the CLM be the system of record or will it be another system?), types of contracts and reporting requirements by function and role.

Kicking off the implementation

After some initial preparation, you’ve reached the implementation kick-off! Here are some best practices to hit the ground running: 

  • Define project goals and scope: Once you’ve identified key stakeholders, it’s important to align on goals and scope the implementation accordingly. Start with a phased approach and enable faster rollouts or sprints.
  • Start with teams that are ready: Which teams would benefit most from contract technology? Sales and legal teams may benefit from faster contracting cycles, procurement teams may benefit from risk mitigation and ease of redlining and review of third party paper.
  • Determine timelines and meeting cadences: Implementation timelines may have key dependencies - integrations with key systems (particularly if multiple systems are being deployed simultaneously), end of quarter/year bottlenecks from end users (end of quarter or end of year may not be the best time to roll out a new technology and have sales teams test functionality) project team priorities (core project teams may be stretched with similar deadlines on multiple initiatives). These areas tend to be where companies often see delays in their implementations.
  • Learn from peers: Leverage lessons learned from other implementations both internally and with others who have implemented CLM platforms to avoid some of the common pitfalls.

Contracts are one of the most important assets for a company and an effective CLM platform can help improve financial and operational performance as well as mitigate risk. Successful implementations have resulted in 20-25% efficiency gains with a significant return on investment within the first six months of implementation. 

Oya Solutions, a Docusign systems integrator, focuses exclusively on delivering innovative contract management solutions. These include all stages of the contract lifecycle management - from selection and readiness to implementation and post implementation support. They are known for their industry leading blueprints and accelerator bundles to help both mid-market and enterprise companies realize faster time to value.

Learn more about Docusign CLM and Oya Solutions.