3 Ways Legal can Create Value Through Contract Management

There are three ways to be successful. Be first. Be smarter. Or cheat. Obviously you can’t always be first. And cheating is not recommended. Smarter it is. Here are our top three ways Legal can get smarter when it comes to contract management.

People have been repurposing and upcycling items since we’ve been building them. From using barn wood to create tiny homes, to sampling music to create revived versions (some arguable) of the classics, and even finding new uses for medicine to help more people live longer, healthier lives.

At the core of repurposing, any way you slice it, is improvement. Taking a new, innovative approach to an old process can pay off quickly.

Here are three ways you can improve your contract management processes to get more effective, more efficient, and create more value.

1. Own it

As legal leader or General Counsel, if you don’t have it already, assume ownership of your contract management process. An easy way to accomplish this is to automate through the use of features like templates and built-in approval workflows. Ownership doesn’t necessarily mean direct involvement in everything contract related, however (breathe, this is to help you work smarter, not bury you). Direct involvement would likely be impossible due to organizational restrictions, as well as cost and time. Luckily, contract management solutions with built-in approval workflows on the template level make it easy for you to get the correct information out to the correct people to get agreements executed swiftly, and in a way that meets compliance requirements.

2. Invest in it

Yes, every company should have a central repository where contracts can be stored, but that’s just the beginning. Investing in a contract management platform that enables automation makes you more agile and productive, and guarantees compliance—ensuring every single person in your company can confidently send out any contract and know it has the correct information and all the appropriate approvals in place. This not only saves you and everyone else time, it saves you money by avoiding costly redos. What’s more, this takes you one step closer to the holy grail of contract management—never having to email or fax another contract back and forth. Some think of contract management as something that happens post-signature. Untrue. Comprehensive contract lifecycle management takes your contracts from template, to executed, and beyond, and includes online and in-contract negotiation. Online negotiation allows you to edit your documents without ever downloading a contract to your desktop, or ever leaving your contract management solution, ultimately simplifying your life.

3. Get strategic with it

Your contract management solution can do much, much more than hold your documents. Best-in-class solutions enable quick recall through a global search function so you can find any contract by title, type, content, etc., in seconds. It will use your contract metadata to help you glean powerful insights through advanced reporting and analytics. Using that central repository, which by the way should be holding all your contracts from every department and every stage, you can pull reports to identify and manage risk. Know at-a-glance exactly how many contracts you have at at every stage. Never miss another renewal, pay another late fee, and be able to better forecast for resources and budget. Lastly, use your contract management solution to work with other teams, like Procurement and Sales, to align and bring more impact to the bottom line. This also serves to elevate traditionally “behind the scenes departments” like Legal and Procurement into the role of strategic contributor.

Smarter is more than certifications and test scores. It’s about making the choices that will help you work more strategically, not harder, and help you reach your goals faster. One of those choices is choosing the right contract management platform. The right platform can make your contract management a cakewalk.

How do you see Contract Management reinventing itself for the future?