In-house Advisory Board: The automation of contracting and contract lifecycle management

In-house Advisory Board: The automation of contracting and contract lifecycle management

Advisory Board Paper discussing contract lifecycle managementWhy use a contract management solution? How does it impact on people and processes? On 11 February 2016, the LexisNexis In-house Advisory Board met to discuss the automation of contracting and contract lifecycle management (CLM). The discussion was supported by a case study from Vodafone.

With automation and workflow tools becoming part of daily life for lawyers, businesses need to embrace innovation and recognise the benefits of technology. The LexisNexis In-house Advisory Board meeting, facilitated by Nigel Rea, Director of Precedents, Drafting & Forms at LexisNexis, and Kerry Phillip, Legal Director for Vodafone's Global Enterprise business, opened with a discussion of the potential benefits of automation:

  • Reduced timescales.
  • Operational efficiency and cost-savings.
  • Better data extraction and management information.
  • Greater visibility of risk and the ability to manage it.
  • Speed to market – eg shortened sales cycles.
  • Allowing the business to self-serve.
  • A better overall customer experience.

The Board discussed the challenges posed by contracts in terms of processes and people. Poor processes lead to bad data management, increased risk and missed renewal and revenue opportunities. It was agreed that an in-depth analysis of existing processes was crucial to fully understanding how to do things better.

Selling the benefits of technology to people in the business was identified as a major challenge:

  • Getting buy-in from management to fund and support new technology and helping them to understand the positive impact it can have on their specific needs.
  • Influencing and changing people’s behaviour. People get stuck in certain ways of doing things and aren’t always able to see the benefits of changing established processes.

Importantly, the business needs to be ready to embrace innovation – this cannot be achieved without effective change management.

Kerry Phillip from Vodafone presented a case study on the consideration and process behind implementing a CLM solution. Vodafone is at the early stages of implementing an ambitious end-to-end CLM tool for Enterprise customers. The factors driving this included having over 100,000 contracts in 12 databases, hundreds of different templates, and a slow paper-based signature process. Vodafone was very clear on its requirements: end-to-end control of the contracting process, with automation built in at every stage.

The Vodafone case study highlighted several important areas:

  • The need to have a clear idea of your requirements in order to find the right tool/supplier.
  • Selling the benefits of automation to get buy-in from those who provide budgetary support.
  • Ensuring the legal team is forward-thinking and resilient to change – legal skills alone are no longer sufficient.
  • Effective contract lifecycle management needs to be central to the whole business and not just part of the legal team.

The Board meeting concluded with a discussion of what the future holds for in-house teams and ever-increasing volumes of data (big data). The pressure is on to innovate the way in which technology is applied to the legal role. Does this mean that lawyers will be replaced by computers? Perhaps not, but the Board agreed that artificial intelligence (AI) will have a big impact on the profession. In today’s environment, in-house lawyers need to be data savvy and they must harness technology if they want to stay ahead.

Read a full summary of the LexisNexis In-house Advisory Board meeting here.


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About the author:

Sophie is Head of Learning & Development at F-LEX Legal - an award winning legal tech startup helping law firms and organisations manage a flexible work force and supporting lawyers to make smarter life/work choices. 

As part of her portfolio career Sophie runs various learning and development and networking forums for in-house lawyers and mentors junior lawyers.  These include Flying Solo for small and solo legal teams and Aspire for junior in-house lawyers which she runs for LexisNexis UK.  She also works with schools and organisations to promote social mobility within the legal profession, working with The Social Mobility Business Partnership and Aspiring Solicitors. 

She trained as a lawyer in the City and worked as an in-house lawyer for 10 years including as Head of Legal for Virgin Radio and Ginger Media Group.  

Outside of work she is happily married with three sons and enjoys morning walks along the beach with her two dogs.