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November 11, 2015

Why General Counsel and Procurement are Initiating Best Practices with Contract Management

Last week, Determine hosted a webinar on how General Counsel’s role has evolved beyond legal responsibilities. Research shows that businesses have an increased focus on contract management and many factors are contributing to this trend. Macroeconomic indicators such as increased M&A, stricter regulatory environments and increased supply chain risk factors are pushing businesses to amplify their reliance on strategic relationships, and focus on ways to avoid or mitigate the impact of contractual disputes.

With the rise of the customer-driven enterprise and demand for better contract visibility, organizations today are looking for a leader to champion the effort of contract automation. As noted in the recent issue of the Harvard Law Bulletin, the General Counsel’s role is no longer limited to being reactive, overseeing litigation farmed out to third-party law firms, but instead has become a key component of the corporate decision-making process. Many find the job unmatched within the legal profession, in both demands and rewards. And from our perspective, these rewards are widening into the sphere of overseeing the business challenges, including contract management.

While contract management and contract automation are not new technologies (Determine, in its history as Selectica being one of the first CLM leaders), given the challenge in the business environment today, how contract management is deployed and utilized outside of traditional business silos can be crucial as well.

During our recent webinar, this new approach was elucidated by Prashant Dubey of Sumati Group, who shared the different points of view of General Counsels from many well-known global corporations. Through researching his book, The Generalist Counsel: How Leading General Counsel Are Shaping Tomorrow’s Companies, he concluded that the legal profession is changing dramatically and fast. And the forward-thinking General Counsel and their teams have been, and will continue to be, driving this change. Moreover, according to the GC of a leading pharmaceutical company, a General Counsel needs to be a business person first and a lawyer second – not a lawyer who understands the business, but a business person who happens to be a lawyer.

The position of General Counsel is no longer about putting out fires, but about being part of a team that’s running and growing a business. Thus we find contract management at the heart, where GCs and their colleagues like Procurement are positioning themselves to become influencers. They’re taking charge, utilizing technology to assist in contract automation among legal professionals.

During the webinar we also had a unique opportunity to share our specific experiences with one of Determine’s CLM clients, represented by Dan O’Connor, Corporate Counsel at the Kellogg Company. Dan provided a unique perspective into his company’s experience at how, through implementing CLM with their legal department—the TIGR team, they were able to handle global expansion and growth without increased headcount. Moreover, with improved workflow, contract governance and better insights into legal obligations, legal partnering with the procurement function, was able to take the important steps necessary to eventually deploy Determine CLM globally throughout the organization.

At the end of the webinar, we offered best practices that can ensure a successful CLM deployment. Valuable tips to consider even as you start the evaluation process. Based on our experience with Kellogg’s and dozens of other implementations over the years, these tips will put you on the right track.

If you are considering a CLM as a possible solution, check out the recorded on-demand webinar.

By Constantine Limberakis

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