Together, we’ll go in depth about a topic that in-house GCs and legal teams of all sizes face: Solving your contract management challenges, and using technology to do it.
Roma and I are both big believers in the idea of simplicity. Any time you can simplify your contracts (and the entire process of contracting), you can make things better for your legal team and the broader business.
In our session, Becoming a Contract MVP: Establishing a Focused Approach to Contract Management, on Wednesday, March 22 at 2:00 PM Eastern Time, we’ll cover:
- How to transform your organization’s view of the legal department from roadblock to strategic partner and deal accelerator
- How to simplify and align your contract management program with your business goals for long-term success and better adoption
- How to find a tech solution that helps you raise the value of the contracts you manage, without slowing you down
In advance of that session, which you’ll have to attend to get the deep dive, here’s a short snippet from a conversation I had with Roma last month about one of our favorite topics: simplifying contracts.
Foster: Before we talk about simplifying, what does a normal contract look like? In my experience, most contracts have a lot of moving parts. In a commercial contract, you’ve got a governing set of terms and conditions, order forms, a statement of work, information security and data protection agreements, etc.The more moving parts there are, the more complex the contract is.
Roma: Absolutely. On top of those elements, one thing that makes a contracting process complex is when you have too many of anything. I like to call it “everyone, everywhere, all at once.” This could be too many approvers, too many checkpoints, too many steps, too many opportunities to redline, too many methods of communication or places to check for possible notes. Just all around too many things, too many people, too many places.
Foster: I agree! We see that all the time. So, how do we simplify? What does a simplified contract and contracting process look like?
Roma: Two main things: fewer steps and greater visibility. Those are the two largest signs of simplicity in any contracting process. By having fewer steps, you reduce the number of lawyers involved. Instead of mass confusion and too many people all over the place trying to do things all at once, the process is limited to just the people who need to be involved and everyone knows where, when, and how they fit into it. Having visibility into the contracting process from different angles is also important because then each stakeholder can feel less anxious and you’ll have less of those “checking in” emails or escalations asking what the status of the contract is.
Foster: I would also add that a simple contracting process is one with the lightest touch required from the parties involved. Some tips I always give to those trying to simplify their contracts is to actually keep your contracts as lean as possible. Keep as much as you can out of the contracts. For example, data protection or privacy terms and conditions are very likely standardized and governed by laws or industry standards. This means they’re not up for debate or negotiation. So, don’t include them in your contract. Attach them in some way, or hyperlink them. Keep your contracts limited only to what is on the table for negotiating and make that as little as possible. One advantage of this, along with any other ways you simplify contracts, is increased contract velocity.
Roma: Exactly. You save time and you build trust by increasing the speed at which a sales team can get through contracts and close a deal. That’s extremely important to the business. You also build trust with your sales team by having a simplified process that moves quickly. If you can simplify your contracts, you can avoid legal teams redlining just for the sake of it. They can rest assured that each contract includes components that they’ve already thoroughly reviewed and signed off on, that aren’t up for negotiation.
Foster: Ok, so how do we put the idea of simplifying contracts into practice?
Roma: One of the most important things is to have the right contract management solution in place. When done right, it can mean less burnout, a less exhausted legal team, and happier stakeholders across the business. Technology absolutely gives your in-house team back time to devote to more substantive tasks than processing contracts. And what in-house counsel or GC doesn’t want that?
Foster: Burnout is a huge problem, especially for small legal teams. When you have the right solution, it gives the team time to exercise their expertise and do the work they really want to be doing. I don’t know anyone who went to law school and came out with a goal of spending their days organizing contracts or searching through them for answers. And it’s important to think about what you really need a contract management solution to do. What problems do you really need it to solve? Especially for small legal teams and solo-GCs, think about the most painful problems which might include tracking, managing and reporting across all of your contract commitments. And find a solution that can do that but doesn’t charge you for a bunch of features you don’t need and will never use. If you’d like to learn more about becoming a Contract MVP and establishing a focused approach to contract management in your organization, I hope to see you at our Legal Week session.
Whether you make it there or not, you can see how radically simple contract management can be by requesting a custom Pramata demo.