If COVID-19 has taught us anything about business, it is that company systems must be cloud-based, secure and intuitive; contract management systems are no longer optional, they are essential. To get the most value and effect from your contract management system, here are five tips to guide you during implementation.
1. Begin with process
When introducing a new system or new technology it can be difficult to get everyone on board, but user buy in and uptake is vital to ensure the system runs smoothly and without gaps. People need to be given clear instructions on what will be expected of them and how to use the system.
The existing system needs to be mapped to identify areas of inefficiency or inaccuracy and to pinpoint areas for optimisation. There is no point in digitising your current contract management system if you plan on keeping it exactly the same; identify new features that will save time, better protect data and simplify working from home.
2. Keep users informed with change management
A successful CLM implementation needs senior leadership and change management. A new system has a big impact on those who use it and it can be daunting having to change the way you do something or move to a more automated system. The benefits are there, but it is vital that users are made a part of the journey with regular communication, comprehensive support and training, and no confusing jargon. Support materials should always be on hand for continued learning and gentle reminders when needed.
3. Revise your contract templates
Revise and optimise your current contract templates. This should include:
- Identifying all current templates
- Justifying them where needed
- Ensuring all versions are up to date
AI tools can be very helpful in analysing your current templates against completed contracts, helping to identify the most used clauses and assist with the creation of new clauses. Optimising contract templates reduces risk within the system, helps users to better understand the system, and saves time as templates and clauses are already created.
4. GIGO (Garbage in, garbage out)
Migrating data to the new system is important, but time-consuming, so make sure all data that will be imported, including master data and contract data, is good quality and in the correct format before you start. Figure out what information you want to move into the new CLM and delete any unnecessary records or duplicates. Standardise any contracts so they are consistent, readable and complete. Technology can help with data migration, so explore the options and see which is the best fit.
5. One bite at a time
As with eating an elephant, take it one bite at a time. With big changes ahead, it can be helpful to break the implementation down into small, more manageable stages. This not only helps manage the entire upgrade but makes it easier for users to understand the new system one part at a time. A roadmap should be created to introduce users and developers to the contract management migrations journey ahead.