Going digital delivers on the priorities of the Chief Legal Officer

The expectations placed on general counsels, or Chief Legal Officers, are high. Not only do they have to keep three balls in the air — managing risk, leading their team, and driving organisational growth (which we explore in more detail in this blog) — but they’re juggling them while dealing with ever-increasing contractual, regulatory and legal complexities.

It all sounds hard. No wonder CLOs have earned such respect and are now widely recognised as key leaders within any organisation. 

But the thing is, it doesn’t have to be that hard. CLOs and their teams can address their top priorities in more streamlined and efficient ways, and it all starts with digitisation. Here, we summarise a key section of a new eBook, The Modern Chief Legal Officer, looking at why CLOs should digitise the contracting process. 

What’s the problem with contracts?

As we explored in an earlier blog, contracting can be a real bottleneck in the legal department. According to EY, contracting inefficiencies can result in lost business at more than 50% of organisations. Worse, 99% of organisations don’t have the data or technology they need to improve their contracting process.

Without a streamlined approach to managing a high volume of contracts, CLOs are pulled away from other imperatives and risk losing business and revenue.

So, what’s the solution?

Clearly, the contract process has widespread and substantial impacts. To mitigate risk of negative impact, PwC recommends organisations adopt contract lifecycle management (CLM) tools. “CLM is critical to the delivery of efficient, effective business performance. In many respects, it represents ‘the plumbing’ for the trading relationships that deliver economic and social value.”

We couldn’t agree more. CLM technology empowers organisations to generate more revenue and close more deals by accelerating the sales process — freeing up organisations to spend more time doing what they do best: selling their services or products. It does so by standardising and automating key aspects of the contracting process, including creation, processing, negotiation, execution and archiving.

Digitising is a team sport

Technologies like CLM are only as good as the people using them. You need everyone on board to succeed. As Douglas Fischer, general counsel at Advanced Vapor Devices, said in the eBook, “There can be a tendency among commercial departments to just throw contracts towards legal, but contract management is a team sport. Contracts involve all of us, especially when there are team members who are SMEs in specific arenas.”

The key with your tech investment, therefore, is not only allocating budget but being thoughtful and strategic about how you implement it. “A lesson learned: getting key stakeholders engaged as early as possible. Tools are only as good as a process and the buy-in of ownership. The best tool doesn’t matter if people haven’t bought into their role in the process,” said Douglas.

Alongside buy-in from the organisation, it’s important that legal leaders and their teams understand why they’re investing in automation or integrations and have clear goals about how they will use tools to the advantage of their whole organisation.

And it’s driven by data

To help legal teams get the most out of contracting data, today’s leading CLMs come with in-built, AI-powered tools that help leaders recognise patterns in data, spot potential risks, and reduce delays in the negotiating process. 

These intelligent repositories enable teams to report, audit and track data across all agreements to identify risks and opportunities. Leaders can leverage AI to capture and tag basic fields and track obligations. Empowered by these insights, CLOs can then respond to trends, uncover opportunities and answer critical business questions that enable their organisations to be frontrunners in their field.

Want to know more about these tools? Explore automated contract lifecycle management tools and integrations or check out our CLM toolkit to learn more.

And don’t forget, you can also read the full report on The Modern Chief Legal Officer.