Justin Ridl
Managing Director, Cognia

Now that we’ve looked at the benefits and potential pitfalls of contract lifecycle management systems, it’s time to consider how you integrate the investment in a new CLM system with your people and processes. 

Technology promises the world, but all the hype around AI, automation and machine learning can’t mask the fact that none of them can operate fully without people at the controls.

Try and apply advanced technologies in isolation from day-to-day workplace realities and they fall down pretty quickly. Value only appears when they support, strengthen, and complement the capabilities of real human beings.

A recent study by Accenture backs this up. Researchers found that organisations see the best results from technology investments when people and software work side-by-side.

The machine-human hybrid model of operations that’s taking hold in other sectors has arrived in legal. Simply put it means handing highly-repeatable and transactional tasks over to software while more sophisticated duties stay with highly-skilled people. Machines become more like colleagues than tools kept in a box until needed.

In some cases, it’s more effective to have certain tasks handled by an outsourced support team engaged through a cloud platform. But regardless of the mix, what you get is a flexible ecosystem of capabilities, managed by a core team augmented by machines and on-tap human resources.

People and processes- then technology

What it means in terms of CLM is that you need to look beyond how the core team overseeing day-to-day operations will be trained on the software. You also have to consider how their roles might need to evolve to accommodate working inside the ecosystem.

For example: collaborating through software with an extended team of suppliers will mean interacting with people your core team may never meet in person. How relationships are managed using online communications alone requires skill sets and best practices that are still being defined.

Adopting more digital tools and platforms will naturally make legal teams more data-centric. GCs will be able to see team workloads on a dashboard and quickly assess efficiency.  Lawyers will be able to analyse contracts and transactions for deeper insights that can inform corporate strategy. Will you or your team have the necessary skills to take advantage of legal tech analytics?

The purchase of a CLM system can be an opportunity to re-think how you manage reg reform entirely. It may become one part of a modern legal operations strategy that blends an A-team of permanent staff with software and specialist resources that can be activated when they are really needed.

Splitting up major ongoing workstreams like reg reform into core and complementary tasks, then up-tiering core teams with the latest tech and on-tap support, could give GCs more freedom to focus on strategic objectives.

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