Sales contracting is an example of a cross-functional business process; one that involves multiple departments, often in different business units with conflicting agendas (and separate budgets). Sales will do whatever it takes to close the deal by the end of the quarter. Pricing's sole focus is on profit margin. And Legal needs to avoid risk. Meanwhile, no one's responsible for the end-to-end process.
In this, our final post for 2009, we'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and share with you the top 10 reasons to automate your contracts in the coming year.
I recently read a post on TechRepublic by Jay Rollins which said that within six months to one year after an initial software implementation project is complete, there is always a need for a second project to address opportunities that arise from the original implementation.
I agree with Jay that a post implementation project is an excellent process by which to find additional opportunities not covered in the original implementation. For our document assembly clients, we find that they benefit from added value uncovered during this process.
OK, everyone now agrees; your current way of creating documents is broken (too slow; full of errors; impossible to maintain). So, how do you fix the problem? Do you build your own system, or do you buy something off-the-shelf? There are pros and cons of both approaches. But first things first; before you can make a Build-vs-Buy decision, you need to work out your requirements.
In a previous post, I discussed the IACCM's finding that, in some cases, more than 40% of legal department costs are associated with bid and contracting work.
What then might a business case for automation look like? Below is a quick, back-of-the-napkin calculation.
From the You Cannot Be Serious! file:
"LAWYERS face a national crackdown on over-charging that could end the practice of billing clients for sending them Christmas cards and reading thank you notes."
This is the opening sentence in Over-charging by lawyers under scrutiny, an article in The Australian newspaper. Do some lawyers truly charge for these activities? Do they disclose this to their clients?
Einstein once said that everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. And so it is with document automation. Everyone wants to make it as simple as possible. But anyone who tells you that it is simple (presumably by consuming whatever snake oil they are selling) is lying. Some document composition tasks are, by their very nature, highly complex, and some will make your head hurt. The challenge is to find the simplest and most effective way of dealing with them, so that you can fully reap the rewards of automation. Which begs two obvious question: what do we mean by complexity and does it affect your documents?