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January 11, 2017

Implementing Global Contracts: Digitization is not just a binary affair (Part 1)

Implementing Global Contracts: Digitization is not just a binary affair (Part 1)

Over the holiday break I came across a recent article in Forbes Magazine. A Forbes study, conducted jointly with Hitachi of 573 global companies, reveals that just 13% of them have integrated digital technologies enterprise-wide, and 51% plan to dedicate 10% or more of revenues to digital transformation over the next two years.

As part of this trend in “digitization”, we at Determine are experiencing an increase in interest for getting contract management deployments enabled globally; not only across the pond, but throughout various continents.

In speaking with my colleagues, who are in the trenches at some of these deployments, I am  amazed at the dynamic of putting these roll-outs in place and the amount of coordination required for successful global digitization.

The old saying, “I don’t know what I don’t know,” seems to be completely applicable here in our experience. While digitization is the end goal, oftentimes requirements are discovered on an after-the-fact basis. For example, when CLM implementations are led by a group in North America to deploy to global divisions, specific legal or corporate requirements may not be obvious.

The effort of executing a “technology mandate” as part of wider digital transformation, especially with something as ubiquitous as contract management, can be a herculean task. It requires a lot of contract knowledge and organizational planning, taking months to complete as it moves from one region to the next. The following three examples illustrate what could be overlooked, causing major pitfalls in planning and execution:

  • Understanding Legal Differences: Contract law and the disparities between national systems throughout Europe mean that legal practitioners can not develop their professional skills in more than one jurisdiction. Moreover, differences in tax regulations, licensing and contract law requirements force organizations to take a closer look at the national and regional stipulations for sharing or disseminating data within an organization, as well as who has access to what data.
  • Understanding Data Requirements: The shift from Safe Harbor to the Privacy Shield is required to meet the more stringent privacy and data protection laws in Europe. This has had a profound impact on the what enterprises are required to do in deploying CLM between the U.S. and European Union. This affects both the technologies being used (including third-party solutions like e-Signature) and where the data in the various global data centers resides.
  • Understanding Language & Metadata Requirements: The move to using CLM systems internationally allows for the management of contracts globally with a regional understanding. In translation, this means understanding the differences between language / dialect – for example, Portuguese (Portugal v. Brazil) or Spanish (Spain v. Mexico v. South America). Not only is this important in accommodating users at the UI/UX level, but also how data is translated behind the scenes as part of QA efforts. This raises the potential issue of increasing the regional efforts needed in managing metadata and workflows that will need to be translated in order to have the most impact on CLM solution usage in a particular region or location globally.  

Based on these discussions and collaborative efforts in working with organizations such as  IACCM, it is clear how important the coordination is between groups within an organization – and with a technology partner – in order to be successful. In Part 2 we look at some of the necessary elements needed for deploying CLM technology globally.

How best to prepare for an uncertain world.
Join Determine and IACCM for our webinar to learn what effects the coming year will have on contracts. We’ll discuss how best-in-class companies use contract management to prepare for the increased volatility of an ever-changing global business environment.

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