What went on at Reimagine: navigating CLM for the greater success of the organization

Patricia Gallagher

September 02, 2020

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We recently hosted our first ever online user event, Reimagine, where we gained meaningful insights from all of our contributors, both invited guests and speakers from Conga. We hosted headlining keynotes from stars like Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas, as well as insight from Conga’s executive leadership. We also hosted specialized breakout sessions from four different tracks: CPQ, CLM, Business Trends, and Digital Documents. 

This blog looks at a few of the sessions in our CLM (contract lifecycle management) Track, where our contributors addressed some approaches to successfully navigating the complexity of digitally transforming the contract lifecycle. A theme emerged that is similar to what we saw in other tracks. Technology is the foundation of CLM, but there are many other components that have to be taken into account in order to successfully implement and transform CLM.  

While our virtual event lacked the in-person connection we’ve enjoyed in the past with our users and experts in the field, there is an advantage to be gained. All of the knowledge that was shared and all of the insights that each session offered, are still available online. Through the end of October, you can watch every single session on demand. That includes the sessions covered in this post, as well as many others.  

Session 1: Paul Branch, “Antidotes to the top 10 pitfalls of contract and commercial management” 

How much money are you losing through underperforming contracts in your business?  

Paul Branch, the COO of IACCM (the International Association of Contract and Commercial Management) asks this question in his Reimagine session, “Antidotes to the top 10 pitfalls of contract and commercial management.” Branch knows the answer, as his organization has done research into the actual cost of ineffective contract management. A staggering 9.2% of topline revenue on average is left on the table every year as a consequence of ineffective contract and commercial management.  

This negative impact is part of what orient’s IACCM’s vision of something better: a world where all commercial relationships deliver both social and economic benefits. As Branch describes it, contracts are the lifeblood of those commercial relationships, which is why managing contracting effectively is so essential. Achieving effective management requires contract lifecycle management technology. 

But this is easier said than done. There are common reasons that this is a vision and not, in most cases, a reality. Specifically, there are a number of pitfalls that commonly occur when managing contracts, both pre- and post-award. The results of these pitfalls are significant. Branch cites IACCM research that found that 85% of executives lack key data and insights on the performance of their contracts. More than 9 out of 10 managers admit they find contracts difficult to read or difficult to understand.  

Branch’s session takes an in-depth look at the primary pitfalls encountered when it comes to deploying CLM technologies effectively. Watch Branch’s full session to learn more about these common CLM pitfalls and how your organization can address and avoid them. 

Session 2: Mauro Caputi, “Sustaining a competitive advantage through effective contracting”  

In Mauro Caputi’s Reimagine session, “Sustaining a competitive advantage through effective contracting: the evolution and vitality of CLM,” MainSpring’s Chief Revenue Officer also examines the critical importance of contracts in all commercial relationships. Caputi’s perspective is informed by his work helping companies implement CLM, having taken on more than 250 CLM engagements over the course of his career, and seen the evolution both of what CLM is and what it can do for organizations during that time. 

When he considers the essence of a contract, Caputi looks past legal definitions to the essence of the contract itself, seeing it as an agreement based on trust, creating confidence, and solidifying the commitment to follow through on clear goals and objectives. While organizations aspire to build and grow successful relationships, nothing is accomplished or gets done until a contract is signed: revenue can’t be recognized; products can’t be manufactured and delivered; cash can’t be exchanged; and, orders can’t be fulfilled. 

With this degree of impact, organizations should focus particularly on contracts and on minimizing the friction that can occur in getting contracts signed. The key to this is effective contract lifecycle management. However, there’s much more to the picture than simply delivering a complete, functional CLM implementation. 

According to Caputi, the most essential ingredient to achieving CLM success is user adoption. He turns the spotlight to process, data, people, and lastly, technology, to contribute to effective user adoption. To achieve adoption, he emphasizes the essential component of including strong project management best practices when it comes to CLM implementations. This approach, combining CLM and project management expertise, allows implementers and project stakeholders to nurture users from apathy to institutionalization, rolling out implementation phases in steps. 

Even with the advent of revolutionary new technologies, such as blockchain, smart contracts, and acts of god, there will remain a constant need to foster user adoption and use KPIs to measure success along the journey. This gives organizations the tools to capture the value of CLM and provide the means to sustain their competitive advantage for years to come. Watch Caputi’s full Reimagine session to learn more about how to accomplish this.   

Session 3: Laura Parker, “A walk through the CLM maturity spectrum” 

What does it look like to move up in maturity when it comes to contract lifecycle management, and how are levels of maturity determined? In her session, Laura Parker, Director of Sales Engineering at Conga, takes us on “A walk through the CLM maturity spectrum” to find out. 

As customers add to layers in the maturity spectrum, they gain more control in their contracting and more ROI from their CLM solution. Parker’s session gives an overview of how this maps out. 

Layer 1: Repository 

Establishing a repository that stores all contracts allows organizations to achieve accessibility and compliance, setting the baseline for all future contracting. A company at this stage can search and organize contracts and ensure all contracts are complying with global rules.  

Layer 2: Reporting and Analysis—analysis for action 

When organizations reach this level, it allows them to move from simply having a repository to being able to report on contracts and establish workflows that can operate across all contracts. Key data like renewals, cycles times, trends, clausal reporting, user behavior, and much more, become available and visible through reporting and analysis. 

Layer 3: Draft & Negotiate—control of language 

This layer is often implemented along with the reporting and analysis layer and allows for automation of the contract glossary. Users can use contract-generating wizards to self-serve, creating accurate contracts of their own based on language that’s already approved and available, without any additional risk and while maintaining visibility across changes and versions for legal teams. 

Layer 4: Integration 

At this stage, a contract changes from a point-in-time document to a living document that moves across time and different departments in an organization. For example, this stage enables obligation management, which happens after a contract has already been signed and becomes active. Triggering events add a greater level of automation, sending contract events to different parts of the organization and creating more integrated processes across departments that touch the contract. 

Layer 5: Intelligence 

Not many organizations reach this level of maturity, which allows organizations to leverage all of the data captured throughout all parts of the contracting process. Those that do add in all of the various elements of controlling the scope of contracting actions, predicting upcoming contract actions, and prescribing user actions as they are going through the process, while maintaining access to real-time information.  

As an example of these stages, Parker takes us through an approach many organizations are focusing on, to establish touchless, “self-service” contracts. The ability to offer this approach creates speed, visibility, and control across the contracting process. In order to execute a self-service model of contracting successfully, it is necessary to address the elements of technology, people, and process in any organization which is striving to transform its CLM processes.  

Watch Parker’s session to learn more about each of the layers of CLM maturity, and how organizations can measure where they stand as they weigh what is required to move up in maturity. 

Up next: top sessions on CPQ at Reimagine  

These three sessions were but a few of the information-packed presentations on CLM at Reimagine. Watch all sessions from the track and from the event on demand on the event site. 

We’ll continue with our overviews of top sessions from Reimagine in our next blog in this series, which will focus on the CPQ (configure-price-quote) track.  

Patricia Gallagher

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