“Olga, I would like to become a badass business leader,” said a general counsel I’ve long admired for always being on top of her game. She continued, ”I know I need to use technology to impact my company’s growth. But how do I do that from within the legal department? ”
She’s got a point. The legal department isn’t traditionally seen as a hotbed for innovative ideas that fuel corporate growth. In fact, according to a popular view, legal departments are black holes that strangle the life out of fast-moving deals and potentially profitable partnerships.
But, as my friend’s concern indicates, many in-house counsel know this needs to change.
And they are increasingly turning to Contract Management Software (CMS) to modernize contracting processes. Here are 5 strategies you can tap into to become the badass business leader your company needs by using CMS technology to transform your department into a virtual expressway that accelerates million dollar opportunities and primes profitable business relationships for success.
Discover Digital Contract Review
First things first: You need to clear the way for progress. In most legal departments, lawyers perform or supervise the vast majority of contracting tasks. That means a significant source of your company’s high-level legal wisdom and skill is tied up in things like repeatedly reading largely inconsequential language, redlining the wrong versions of contracts, and copying and pasting clauses from handmade templates.
CMS platforms speed and streamline the handling of massive numbers of various contract types. Automation takes time-consuming, low-value tasks off attorneys’ hands and completes them much faster and more accurately. Most importantly, you and your team finally get to focus your considerable brain power on achieving the business badassery that elevates your company to the next level.
Identify Opportunities to Make an Impact Early
CMS increasingly has capabilities to quickly detect suboptimal clauses, potential conflicts, and incompatible terms. With early knowledge of the critical issues at stake, you’ll bring in the attorneys with the most relevant knowledge right from the start. You avoid the 11th-hour discovery of disagreeable terms that could tank weeks of negotiation. Plus, you reduce plain human error and oversight because all relevant communications and supporting documents are conveniently at hand on a single platform.
The platform’s ability to pinpoint specific issues is far more sophisticated than the “word search” of other programs. The time and effort savings are impressive when facing the immense challenge of reviewing hundreds of existing contracts in response to regulatory and legislative changes. An advanced, proactive approach prevents progress-killing problems later.
Real-Time Collaborative Negotiation Increases Transparency and Builds Trust
Cloud-based CMS platforms serve as a single, shared repository accessible by all stakeholders from anywhere. Every person works with the latest version of the contract simultaneously and at all times, eliminating a major source of frustration and hassle. Technology is also not susceptible to the stress, boredom and fatigue that leads to the typos and errors that create more conflict.
Parties work in an open and transparent environment ideal for building trust. They collaborate seamlessly in real time through an online discussion board. Automatic reminders of upcoming review deadlines and unresolved issues keep negotiations moving forward. Negotiators are more likely to work together cooperatively and discover mutually beneficial trade-offs.
Standardization is Your Friend — Generate the Templates to Success
Over time, CMS can help optimize your contracts at scale. You can identify which clauses and language terms result in the most favorable outcomes and which are often re-negotiated. You can intelligently answer the question of what it means to reduce certain risks by ten percent across certain contracts. You can then take your best-performing terms, language, clauses, and provisions and develop standard templates for the whole company to use.
A CMS platform keeps the most up-to-date templates organized in one central location. Executives can use standardized templates to enter into beneficial arrangements faster, assured the language is pre-approved by legal. Deals get closed quicker, and in-house lawyers are spared again from repeatedly reviewing the same basic language.
Culture Shift – Make Continual Improvement the Norm
You can achieve badass status with these strategies. But to keep your badass badge, you must always seek to improve. The IACCM points out that CMS software helps you identify issues and make improvements by tracking and reporting on a range of quantitative and qualitative metrics such as:
- Assess touchtimes to identify bottlenecks or redundancies in the review process.
- Automatically track various response times at multiple points.
- Determine which departments negotiate the most frequently.
- Pinpoint the frequency adoption of fallback positions, and so on.
A mindset and CMS attuned to striving for continual improvement is a powerful combination for progress in your legal department.
Be the Badass Business Leader
Armed with efficient, fast contract negotiation and review processes, your team can shorten, or avoid altogether, many time-consuming contracting and due diligence roadblocks. There’s nothing more badass than facilitating the deals and relationships that allow your company to take advantage of fast-moving opportunities and deploy innovative, impactful, new strategies.