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April 23, 2015

Think like a CLM consultant to improve compliance, reduce risk, and increase profit

Interesting how perspectives can make all the difference in the scheme of business. Looking at something differently can change how you approach it and affect the outcome. While I’ve spent many years in corporate management, for a couple of years, I took on an assignment as a Gartner Research Analyst before coming back to the business side. That experience as a consultant has changed how I look at things today. And I wanted to share some of this perspective as it relates to enterprise contract lifecycle management (ECLM).

It’s surprising how a manager can change their contract management process and increase their effectiveness by thinking like an outsider—a consultant—if you would humor me. See how the shift in your viewpoint can do big things for your business.

Thinking like a consultant allows you to bring together disparate stakeholder issues without personal agenda. It allows you to see the contracting process as a whole, and what’s valuable from each departmental perspective while supporting enterprise-wide mandates. Your mission as a consultant is to engage stakeholders – internal and external – to determine the critical outcomes required by the contract itself. Before you can design contracting strategies that optimize business impact, you must understand the goals and results needed.

The “as is” and “to be” approach is used by consultants in understanding what the current systems and processes are… and designing what you want it to be… to make money, save money, reduce risk and be compliant.

Position yourself as a consultant to help make everyone’s lives easier. Consider the impact to the end users and the stakeholders using CLM. Here are some tips when deploying and improving contract management solutions.

  • Get stakeholders buy-in before you get started.
  • Have change management in place to help with adoption.
  • Offer tools and resources to remove obstacles that bog things down.
  • Keep the benefits of a successful implementation top-of-mind, and how the process will change everyone’s daily work lives.

The “As Is” approach: taking inventory by asking stakeholders

  • Have you identified each point in the current CLM business process where information is captured or created?
  • Are there multiple points where contracts or aggregations of contracts are captured?
  • Have user roles, procedures, and business rules been established to capture the necessary information to create a contract?
  • Is the content of the contract fully identified, searchable and discoverable?
  • How are the requirements for contract compliance dealt with in regards to all applicable statutes, regulations, and internal policies?
  • How is the contract managed throughout its life cycle?
  • Is the information accessible and usable for the entire life of the contract?
  • Is the information protected from unauthorized access, distribution, and deletion?
  • Is the contract authenticity and integrity preserved throughout its life cycle?
  • Are there quality control procedures in place to verify the completeness and trustworthiness of the contracts?
  • Is there a migration plan for contracts with long-term value?

The “To Be” approach: defining how you see things

  • Identify how you would like for each point in the future business process where information will be captured or created.
  • Determine where you want the multiple points where contracts aggregate.
  • Define user roles, procedures, and business rules been established to capture the necessary information, use guides and templates to determine best practices.
  • Update the compliance policy to comply with all applicable statutes, regulations, and internal policies.
  • Determine how you want the contact to be managed throughout its life cycle.
  • Build out a security model to assure the contract information is protected from unauthorized access, distribution, and deletion?
  • Design quality control procedures in place to verify the completeness and trustworthiness of the contracts

Increase visibility

Gather data to develop an accurate assessment of the current situation. Simply find the contracts and figure out what is going on with them – what we are the commitments, what are the negotiated benefits, and are there duplication or overlap problems? Give them an eye-opener.

Articulate a strategy

Look beyond terms and conditions to the overarching strategy for the organization to ensure that terms and conditions support top-level strategic directives. The contract needs to guide management of a strategic relationship through the entire lifecycle: from how you plan to engage with another party to how you will operate on an ongoing basis – from the SLAs and reviews to every detail that will govern the relationship, including termination.

Use the data to measure and improve

Consultants seek to define key metrics, when rigorously measured, can help drive continuous improvements. The contract management process must always be revisited and improved. This is how you begin to get a better picture of how to conduct business.

Repeatable success is the name of the game. If you’re looking for a Contract Management solution, we can provide detailed information on how Selectica CLM can be deployed enterprise wide or at a departmental level. Contact us, we can customize a demo based on your needs.

Practical tips on managing the contract lifecycle

Join our webinar on April 28th at 1PM EDT featuring Tim Cummins from IACCM. There will be a lively discussion on the importance and benefits of contract workflow.  Register now for the live event.

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