April 20 by Patrick Wolf
During the first day of Accelerate there were a multitude of extremely compelling speakers and presentations, in particular one break out session in the legal luminary track, Top Trends in Contract Management. In this discussion, Steve Markle, along with Ian Connett of Collective and Molly Perry of HP, spoke of how they see contract management progressing over the coming months. This 25 minute covered session covered:
- Contract management’s progression through the decades
- Necessity of Attorneys to become a Legal “CTO”
- How to optimize the contract process and Examples
Intelligent Cloud: The New Eyes of Contract Management
Contract management has gone through many changes and upgrades since it began in the 80s. Off the bat it was focused around word documents and spreadsheets. This basic form of management lasted through the 80s and 90s, but was improved upon by the advent of document management throughout the 2000s. The 2010s where defined by the creation and improvement of total Contract Lifecycle Management systems. These systems have taken us to the present, where the advent of machine learning programs and the recent announcement of the Intelligent Cloud have produced another radical change in the game.
The announcement this week of the Apttus Intelligence Cloud solidified Apttus’ place among the greats in the SaaS world. This new cloud (getting harder to keep track of them all) will have an immediate effect on the entire sales process. Contract management is just one of those processes that will see increased growth.
The Legal CTO
The next portion of the presentation discussed why legal departments can no longer operate with their “heads in the sand,” separate from the growing and evolving trends of technology. Legal teams are now expected to be interwoven with recent innovations: they must be data driven, tech-savvy, efficient, and transparent. Legal teams must embrace these changes.
There are numerous risks involved with legal not embracing new CRM technology. These are:
• Numerous audit and compliance red flags would continue.
• There will be a lack of data and analytics necessary for improvement.
• The lack of an effective CRM reinforces the idea that Legal as a “sales prevention” department, because of protracted contracting cycles.
Tech Available to Legal Teams
What should the legal tech stack look like? A complete stack, which helps reduce cycle lifetimes and improve wins, should include:
• Data Entry and Contract Management
• Matter Management Client CRM
• Automated drafting and Clause Library
• Ticketing, Reporting, and data basing
• Cloud accessibility, storage and security
• UI dashboards and Transparency
• Workflow, Research, and Legal outsourcing solutions
The Data Driven Flow of Contract Management
The contract management process is set to become even more reliant on improved data analysis in the future. The systems presently in place already facilitate more efficient sales processes integration, digital workflows, and high quality data for continued improvements. Presently, these have created a wonderful environment for efficient contract processes: they have increased responsiveness and customer satisfaction, they have improved resource allocation by identifying high priority targets, and they have improved access to contract documents.
There is, however, much left to be improved upon, especially with the new integration of the Intelligence Cloud. Challenges ahead range from improving SFDC data and the ability to analyze contract contents, to decreasing the administrative cost and lessening the difficulty to maintain complex data structures.
Overall, these challenges are entirely surmountable. This is coupled with the fact that the potential benefit of Machine learning driven behavior has yet to be fully articulated. The future is bright for Contract Management processes.