How the changing role of General Counsel is shaping contract integration.
The role of the General Counsel in companies across industries continues to evolve beyond just legal responsibilities. As businesses increase their focus on contract management due to factors like increased M&A, stricter regulatory environments and increased supply chain risk, they’re amplifying their reliance on strategic relationships and focusing on ways to avoid or mitigate the impact of contractual disputes. This means integrating contract management throughout organizations, including procurement.
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. 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 — a business-minded focus. 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, how contract management is deployed and utilized outside of traditional business silos can be crucial given the challenges in today’s business environment.
Prashant Dubey, President & CEO of Sumati, a global provider of contract migration and CLM managed services, has a deep understanding of the different points of view of General Counsels from many well-known worldwide corporations. In his book, The Generalist Counsel: How Leading General Counsel Are Shaping Tomorrow’s Companies, he explores how the legal profession is changing dramatically and quickly. He reveals that it is forward-thinking General Counsel and their teams who have been, and continue to be, the primary drivers of this change.
The reason, according to the GC of a leading pharmaceutical company and Determine customer, is that General Counsel have become business people first and lawyers second. Not lawyers who merely understand the business, but true business people who just so happen to be lawyers.
That means the position of General Counsel has morphed from putting out fires to being part of a team running and growing a business. As GCs increase their position as influencers, we’re also finding contracts at the heart of organizations. One of the results of this is the expansion of contract management beyond legal, from sourcing and procurement to sales and marketing. From a data integration and centralization perspective, this makes perfect sense in terms of risk management and compliance because everyone is working with the same verified information, and the increased visibility ensures contracts are being adhered to.
Moreover, with improved workflow, contract governance and better insights into legal obligations, legal partnering with other functions does a lot to align organizational goals, achieve process efficiency and positively impact the bottom line.
Whether you’re a GC, purchasing manager or sales rep, if you’d like to see just how much more business-minded your contracts can be, schedule a personalized demonstration of contract management on the Determine Cloud Platform.