The role of machines in the future of contract management


August 03, 2017

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More with less The field of contract management is at a turning point. Contracts play a primary and ever-growing role in today’s business landscape, with contracts governing 60-80% of all B2B transactions. Administering such a large number of contracts makes up a significant part of how any business functions. Whether contracts are well-administered has implications across the enterprise. At the same time that good contract management is essential to the health of every organization, contract management demands are growing, both as the number and complexity of contracts increase and as the burdens of compliance become more rigorous. More often than not, contract management teams are having to meet those demands with the same headcount (or in some cases, with even fewer employees). Contract management professionals are in the classic conundrum of having to do ever more with less – across multiple functions. The imperative to achieve greater efficiency in contract management mirrors a growing emphasis across the business landscape on speed and efficiency. Successfully integrating technology into business processes is a key component to achieving these goals. Learn more about the changing role of contracting professionals in our whitepaper, “People or machines: understanding the future of contract management.” Technology: Helping contracting professionals – or replacing them? Technological innovation is the word of the hour in contract management, which brings us to the question of where and in what capacity it stands in relationship to the people who manage contracts. Specialized, highly developed expertise will always have a role in intricate or unique business scenarios, which is where human intervention is primarily required. On the other hand, wherever contracting processes are repetitive, or can be normalized into a repetitive process, machines can step in. Variations that occur without a specific purpose often are introduced to no concrete benefit and at a cost of time and effort. If these costs can be eliminated, then greater efficiency is achieved without loss of functionality. Take the case of clause language in contract creation. Clause language is often rewritten every time a contract is generated. A clause that has a defined function in the contract can be rewritten multiple ways with the same purpose, requiring repeated time and effort each time it is drafted. On the other hand, language (or even several versions of language to be used as the basis for negotiation) can be created one time with legal oversight, and reused automatically whenever the intention of the language is the same. If a pattern can be established and normalized around how we generate contracts, many lower-level, manual functions can be eliminated in favor of machines that automate those functions. Steps can be taken out of the contract management cycle, saving time and labor. The human effort required to perform unneeded steps can be spent elsewhere to greater effect. In short, let people do the advanced, more intellectual work—and let machines take care of the rest. Read our whitepaper, “People or machines: understanding the future of contract management,” to learn what the core areas are where technology can help the most with contract management processes. You’ll learn about: -how maturity of contract management practices help leverage the maximum ROI for a contract solution; - which intelligent management technologies play the greatest role in contract management, and what their benefits are; - what the future of contract technology holds, including blockchain and smart contracts. Download the whitepaper today to learn about the evolving interrelationship of people and machines in contract management.


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