How Contract Data Adds Value Across Your Business
Scientia potentia est – Knowledge is power – it’s a trusted truism dating back thousands of years. In the business realm, knowledge means not merely understanding the demands of your industry and clients – it means knowing how to use the information you have to improve the overall health of your business.
Chances are your business already tracks data to improve performance and mitigate waste. For example, you probably already capture and share customer data collected by Marketing across the enterprise. We believe that the next function to embrace this trend will be Legal.
A recent post by Inside Counsel focuses on the potential positive impacts of sharing and reusing legal data captured during the e-discovery process. The authors highlight the importance of innovating effective methods of capturing information, writing,
“A need for efficiency, cost savings and sanity has led to an organized effort to re-use data in e-discovery, recycle final work product and to drastically reduce the overall amount of data that is collected and reviewed.”
While data compiled through e-discovery may be useful, you do not have to wait for the unfortunate event of litigation to harness existing legal data. We believe this represents only the tip of the iceberg in terms of size and scope of the opportunity for legal data to add value across the enterprise. Contract data – the data that informs and reflects all aspects of your business – is where the greatest potential impact can be found.
The contracts that underlay virtually every business deal, employment agreement and supply relationship, contain valuable, measurable information that may be the most accurate and efficient way to gain knowledge into the strengths and weaknesses of your corporation. Rather than relying on time-consuming, high-cost methods of compiling data metrics, why not turn to the terms in your existing contracts?
First of all, as the authors of the Inside Counselarticle point out, reusing data drives up efficiency and drives down cost. Contracts contain a wealth of information, which, if used beyond its static legal purpose, can provide vast amounts of insight across the company. Organizing and, eventually, automating contracts (essentially an elegant, refined way of recycling data) is a way to put contract data to work and a cost analysis no-brainer.
But what if you could harness the data within your contracts for purposes beyond the legal department? Could you, say, analyze contract data to more precisely target potential clients and hold on to your employees?
How can each of these departments use the data contained in your company’s contracts?
Sales & Marketing
- Better measure salespeople’s individual performance
- Reduce the length of time it takes to close deal
- Analyze information about customers and their specific product and support needs
- Reduce pain of future negotiations by monitoring amendments and terms added during previous deals
- Provide details to help make ongoing communications activities more relevant
- Understand whether there are contractual terms that might prevent you from “sunsetting” an old product
Finance & Operations
- Spend less on compliance
- Ensure invoices are sent for the correct amount to the right person
- Apply contractually negotiated discounts and offers without being prompted by clients
- Quickly recognize the potential financial impact of a crisis and respond appropriately
- Assess the probability of future revenue streams impacted by things like opt out clauses
- Respond to requests for customer support only within scope of contractual obligations
These examples only scratch the surface. The actual impact of contract data depends on your industry and the volume and complexity of the various agreements that make up your contract portfolio.
Knowledge is power. Capturing and leveraging the vast amount of data contained in your contracts will empower your entire business.