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5 Steps to Take Choosing Your CLM

September 21, 2020 No Comments

Featured article by Olga V. Mack, CEO of Parley Pro

clmWhat is CLM?

A contract lifecycle management system (CLM) enables businesses to electronically manage all their contracts with suppliers, employees, partners, and customers. Every business relationship needs a contract and it can be a time-consuming and expensive task to update, monitor, analyze, and create new contracts when needed.

CLM is a way to automate the entire contract process. It offers features for digital signatures, efficient editing and approvals, automated workflows, central storage, regulated compliance, and easy and controlled access across the organization.

What benefits does it give to your business? 

There are several benefits for implementing CLM that saves organizations on pain and cost in the short and long-term:

– Prevent expensive litigation from non-compliant contracts.

– Save money on potential penalties, missed opportunities, and payment errors.

– Deliver customer value by fulfilling expectations.

– Reduce the cost and time with contract administration that needs human resources, office space, and avoid added costs through human error.

– Let contract managers focus on developing relationships with customers and suppliers without wasting their time on contract administration.

5 Steps for Choosing Your CLM

Selecting a contract lifecycle management (CLM) solution needs thoroughness and involvement from all stakeholders and participants that are involved in the organizations’ contract processes. There are important steps to consider as you go through the exercise of investing in the right CLM tool that is right for the business.

Identify Current Needs and Budget

While the main drive to find a CLM solution is to optimize and streamline business processes, it’s critical to identify the problems that need fixing. The contract administration team and all those involved need to do a walkthrough of the entire process to know what works and what causes frustration and errors, and what needs to be improved.

A full analysis should be done on current storage methods, templates, signing and approval processes, and everything that’s needed to establish an efficient process to mitigate risks and achieve compliance. With this information in hand, you can then define the budget for purchasing a solution as well as the time and cost involved for deployment, training, and support.

Check the Market

With a budget to work against, you can start your online research to find CLM software that has good reviews and high ratings. You want innovative software solutions that provide control over your contract management process and help you get the best value out of each contract your organization has.

Speak to peers in your industry to get recommendations, and contact CLM vendors to get a feel of their customer service and responsiveness, request quotes to do a quote comparison, and schedule in-depth product demonstrations.

Internal Evaluation of Selected CLM Tools

Narrow down the list of possible CLM products and ensure they offer free trials so you can evaluate each against your organization’s requirements. Map the products’ functionality and features to your business’s needs. You may find that different products have varying strengths and weaknesses so use this information to assess what your organization can and can’t do without.

Do a Competitive Analysis based on Your Needs

With your defined list of must-have features, there are many tools online to help you do comparisons between CLM productsto short-list your options to at least three potential vendors. Assess your internal workflows and look at which product will best fit your company and alleviate your pain points. Test these systems to the limit.

Integration into your existing systems is a key consideration. You don’t want to have increased costs changing backend and frontend systems to fit into a new product as that will also result in additional staff training and delayed deployment. CLM software that offers flexibility and configurability, which can be maintained in house will minimize dependence on the vendor and reduce cost.

Discussion and Purchase 

The quality of the new CLM system implementation is as important as the quality of the software. Organizations need to discuss and create a roadmap to make the smooth transition. Nominating an internal implementation team is crucial to defining a project plan, milestones, action owners, and ensuring workflows are documented before deployment.

With complete user buy-in and stakeholder support with a clear strategy in place, the organization can now make the final decision to invest in a particular CLM product.

Choosing a CLM Solution is a Careful Consideration

Meticulous market research is something that cannot be skipped before choosing contract management software. Without patience and planning, buying inadequate software can be a seriously costly mistake.

The right solution must have the essential features your organization needs for a successful implementation. Customer and value driven providers means your business can rely on effective customer support, the proper features and superior technology that gets your business up and running on the new system as quickly as possible.

Why CLM is important in current times

Most organizations are feeling the effects at some degree with their trading and contractual relationships as a result of COVID-19. This is pushing CLM more and more into the spotlight. Contracts are about safeguarding every dollar that comes in and goes out of a company’s bank account.

CLM monitors broken commitments and agreements that make companies vulnerable to penalties, revenue loss and late deliveries. The recent pandemic has shown how enterprises can be exposed and how important contracts are becoming in managing risks.

Author: Olga V. Mack, CEO of Parley Pro, a modern, collaborative, and intuitive contract lifecycle management (CLM) platform that has pioneered online negotiation technology. She loves legal innovation and has dedicated her career to improving and shaping the future of law. Olga V. Mack is convinced that the legal profession will emerge even stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive than before by embracing technology.

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