June 29 by Prashant Dubey
About 15 years ago, I was fortunate enough to have stumbled upon a little shack on a river in the middle of national forest. It was rather ramshackle, but with a bunch of “TLC,” I was able to make it habitable. No Wi-Fi, episodic electricity, and the occasional forest critter inhabiting the rafters. No matter, it is mine and it’s a blessing.
The shack in background in mine. The one in the foreground is my kid’s rendition of my shack. Their’s is fancier.
Trust but Verify
Contract Repository Integrity
This creates a high integrity repository, but companies have also realized that just getting to the high integrity repository is not enough – maintaining this integrity requires periodic verification that the integrity has not degraded.
How to diagnose issues in repository integrity
When we first arrived at the cabin, our goal was not to look for evidence of any nefarious activity. We were 19 once, so overindulging in hypocrisy would be silly. (That said, I’m fine with moderate hypocrisy). Instead, we had a lens for things that didn’t look quite as they should: windows left open; perhaps a smoldering campfire; dirty dishes in the sink. Did I mention that sometimes forest critters occupy the cabin when no-one is around?
These initial quality assurance checks can be designed for execution by a small team over a couple of days, following a playbook. Not too much judgment should be required – there should be an objective standard to determine if something is awry. If something is not quite right, then a deeper dive can occur.
Teachable moments – Revise the Closeout Process
The benefit of a periodic, objective quality assurance check is that if something is askance, the process for populating the repository with contract documents and metadata can be revised. Perhaps the quality assurance can result in a higher level quality control prior to new records being loaded into the repository. Note: Most companies have figured out that after a detailed legacy contract migration effort, it is logical to put in place a formal contract closeout process for new agreements that are created post legacy migration. Ideally, this would be done with the same team that did the migration as they are now the subject matter experts.
Typically, the closeout includes things such as verifying that the counter-party legal entity is the right contracting entity as well as making sure the effective date is before the expiration date. You’d be surprised how many times we notice this anomaly. Any issues found in quality assurance can be brought forward at this point to include in a closeout process or the quality control of the closeout…BEFORE documents and metadata are loaded into the repository.
I trust this will further increase the integrity of the relationship with my son.
To learn about augmenting the CLM Clause Library, 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.