We have just read a very interesting post on LawSites by Robert Ambrogi that provides his thoughts on the 10 most important legal technology developments of 2013. At Exari, we’ve experienced many of these trends firsthand by working closely with dozens of leading companies on their document assembly and contract management challenges.
We’re living in the brave new world of big data. It’s here, it’s real and it’s already changing our lives in awesome ways. With all of its potential, though, comes the fear that the vast stores of information institutions hold will be used for malevolent purposes.
The scariest part of this Halloween season might be what’s lurking in the dark.
We’re not talking about spiders and skeletons, ghouls or goblins; we’re talking about all the important – dare we say critical – information about your business that is kept hidden in filing cabinets, inboxes and shared drives. That’s right: contract data. The phrase alone may be enough to send chills up the spine of every General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer in companies where contract data remains buried, disregarded, left for dead.
Why Contract Lifecycle Management Services MattersContracts serve as the backbone of the modern business. They contain nearly all the information you need to be able to assess the health of your business and your business relationships, both internal and external. The best Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) solutions available today not only automate contract creation, they import key data points from legacy contracts, so you can search, sort, share and report on the data of your entire contract portfolio.
In a recent post on his blog, Commitment Matters, Tim Cummins of IACCM observes that, while the usage of contract management (CM) software has increased substantially in recent years, it hasn’t quite lived up to the original hype. As a CM software company, we agree that many vendors and companies alike have been slow to recognize the full range of potential benefits from CM. Instead, vendors have specialized on one or two dimensions of CM – such as centralized storage or speedy drafting – while neglecting other parts of the contract lifecycle. The degree of customization thought necessary to meet individual corporation’s unique needs has often led to a cumbersome end-user experience, which discourages use, thus undercutting the inherent value of the solution.
Law firms use ridiculous amounts of paper. A study from a few years ago estimated that a single attorney in the U.S. will use up to 100,000 sheets per year – that’s nearly 400 pages per workday. And that’s crazy.
You’re ready to implement a contract lifecycle management tool. Your company cannot maintain its place in the competitive market unless it adopts a comprehensive, streamlined system for managing the lifecycle of its contracts, from creation to archiving and everything in between. You need meaningful, complete insight into contract data; you need libraries of best-practice clauses to be shared among attorneys; you need to be able to create contracts with far more speed and accuracy; you need to you need to be able to store and locate your existing contracts; and, most importantly, you need it to be intuitive enough that your team will want to use it.
Contracts contain a wealth of information that tell you what is going on in your business. When properly drafted, negotiated and managed, they also defend your business against risks such as liability, being underpaid or overcharged, and a wide variety of the unknown and unforeseen. In short, contracts protect against risk by giving you the information you need both on an everyday basis and in times of crisis, when speed, decisiveness and certainty are key.
The legal profession is steeped in tradition and history. In fact, the law itself tends to respond to contemporary problems by looking back, and legal professionals are no different. If we should believe stereotype – and many firsthand accounts – lawyers tend to resist change tooth and nail. After all, they were bred – and are handsomely remunerated – in an age-old institution that lauds ethics and intellect, not innovation and reinvention.
We take pride in Exari’s reputation for being responsive to the ongoing feedback we get from our clients. One of the newest features of our Intelligent Contract Management software, the Negotiator Ribbon, is the direct result of this input and represents yet another step in our mission to help organizations streamline, manage and track the lifecycle of their contracts.