July 19 by Prashant Dubey

“Mastering Contract Lifecycle Management” is a 15 part, bi-weekly series writen by Prashant Dubey, CEO of The Sumati Group, dedicated to expanding your mastery of Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM). The series is divided into 5 parts and encompasses the entire lifecycle of purchasing a CLM solution, including: the research phase, launching your CLM project, implementing the key building blocks, strategies for driving user adoption, and continuing down the road to success. Enjoy!

I was born in the United States and was raised both in India and the U.S. (with some stopovers in the U.K.). I like to think I live in “the space between.” I remember, throughout my life, being peppered with questions about my culture (when in India, the questions were about the U.S, in the U.S., the questions were about India). I never was offended by any of them, rather I always viewed the questions as teachable moments, for the person asking as well as for me to learn by further exploring the answer to a question. (Exception: that one kid in 7th grade that chose to deliver his question accompanied by a wedgie).


One question that fascinates me to this day is “are your parents going to pick your wife for you?” Of course, now that I have been with my lovely wife for almost three decades that question is not really directed at me as much as it is presented as a curiosity about Indian culture in general.

Add to this the increased frequency of Indian culture in the mainstream starting from films such as Monsoon Wedding and the comedic musings of my friends Tom Haverford, and Russell Peters, and the curiosity of many is further piqued.

Photo by Saad on Unsplash

Photo by Mayur Gala on Unsplash

Defining Love

Over the years, I have honed my “schtick” on the subject of arranged marriages. In India, there is a colloquial distinction made between the two “types” of unions, by calling everything other than an arranged marriage a “love marriage.” I think that’s largely implying a false distinction and here’s why. I believe that both types of marriage contain love – it’s just a matter of sequencing (there’s my CLM implementation bias coming out). What do I mean by this?

In an “arranged marriage,” oftentimes, the parties will say to themselves, “well I know I will be with this person for a lifetime (hopefully), so I need to figure out strategies to love them.” In the case of a “love marriage,” assuming there is already love established, the parties say to themselves “well I know I will be with this person for a lifetime (hopefully), so I need to figure out strategies to keep loving them.”

IT and Legal

In a CLM initiative, often the key initiative drivers are the Office of General Counsel and their legal operations leader. There are not many “enterprise initiatives” that are led by Legal that have such broad ranging day to day impact on a company. As such, many groups may be unfamiliar with how to deal with Legal leading something that has enterprise impact. One of these groups is Information Technology (IT).

One of the things IT quickly realizes is that a CLM intiative is borne from a risk and compliance framework that underlies processes that either drive revenue or optimize indirect spend. In either case, the need for controls that enable good governance has to be balanced with the need for business agility. As such, IT accepts that Legal is uniquely positioned to drive CLM due to their charter as the risk management steward of the company.

Destined to be together + Learn to Love each other

Once IT realizes the appropriateness (and inevitability) of Legal driving CLM there is a quick realization (by both parties) that they are destined to be together (since CLM requires IT involvement). As in an arranged marriage, now that they are partners for life, they should probably figure out how to love each other.

I have seen these relationships thrive when both parties accept the inevitability of their union. Some strategies that I have observed as especially fruitful in “cementing the love:”

• Identify common dragons both groups need to slay. One example of this is data privacy, information security and cyber controls. Think of Business Associate Agreements (BAA’s) that may suppliers have to sign these days. Perfect cross-over point between Legal and IT. Gives them something to discuss at the Kombucha station…

• Learn from each other. Both groups are “services organizations” to the company. They are both evaluated on their ability to enable risk management processes to move at the “speed of business” – which means exercise risk and controls, but don’t be a business prevention department. In this domain, IT has a lead. They have been fighting these demons for decades – legal is just jumping into the enterprise business process domain and they can learn a lot from their IT colleagues.

• Get common success metrics. Often time legal and IT are both interested in user adoption of applications. If they can jointly put these measures in place then have a collaborative process to maximize user adoption, it gives them an ability to have shared wins.

• Co-opt your leaders. The CIO and GC have been senior executive collaborators for years. Get them to jointly endorse CLM initiatives and declare at the company level that their teams are committed to working together to ensure it’s success. Good air cover for the ground troops as well.


Ultimately, legal and IT will need to work together on a CLM initiative. It can be a brutal journey if they fight this inevitability. However, if they accept it…there is a high probability that they will live…

Photo by Ben Rosett on Unsplash

Be sure to check back on August 3rd for the next edition of “Mastering Contract Lifecycle Management” to learn the top 10 Common CLM Concerns and Easy Solutions

To learn the importance of periodic quality assurance checks, visit the previous post – HERE.

The “Mastering Contract Lifecycle Management” series is written by Prashant Dubey, bestselling author of The Generalist Counsel and CEO of The Sumati Group, which is the Apttus premier contract migration and CLM Managed Services partner.

Learn why the Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) Market is growing and why Forrester rates Apttus a Leader in CLM. Download your copy of the Forrester Wave report today!

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