3 Ways to Streamline Contracts with Tighter Legal Control

Files, folders. And more files. And more folders.

Sometimes, navigating your contracts database can feel like being in a maze. You tend to lose track of where you started and where you need to go. It gets worse when someone sends you a ‘very urgent’ email about reviewing a contract draft.

With dozens of contracts to work on every day, you sometimes wonder how to make time and spearhead stronger compliance and controls. Your organization keeps growing at a pace like never before. Newer product lines, business units, customer segments, and contract types emerge now and then.

So, what happens when contracts grow exponentially? They make compliance so much more critical to your bottom-line and brand reputation. You don’t simply lose money in penalties (which you could reinvest in your business). You also lose shareholder trust and brand credibility. And even if you can personally review every contract, there are ever-changing regulations and market equations to make sense of and respond to.

In an ideal world, you would like to focus on defining and monitoring compliances at a top-level. Not on reviewing every clause and template in every version of every contract that is ‘in progress’. That’s precisely why managing contracts better is so important.

So, how do you transform your contract management in your in-house legal function? We at SimpliContract list down three things you can do:

1. Shift from micro-management to dispensability

As an in-house counsel, you are a knowledge worker, and your path to success lies in replacing low-yield tasks with automation, resources, and knowledge sharing. For contract management, this means shifting from contract level controls to template level controls. 

Comprehensive libraries for templates and clauses, as well as playbooks for business users, are a step in the right direction. They take off the stress from your team and empower users in a way that makes them happier – for they can get things done faster. As for individual contract level controls, you can still ensure that with intelligent contract solutions. Such solutions compare drafts with standardized templates to spot deviations, so you don’t have to read every word.

2. No more scattered folders. Move to a centralized repository

How many contracts did your team handle five years back? And how many do they do today? As the head of the legal operations team, you think about scalability. And about managing controls and compliances efficiently, without spoiling weekends and overloading your team members. 

You are right. We don’t mean more space in your shared drives or file cabinets. We mean investing in a centralized cloud repository where all types of contracts (channel partner, procurement, customer, employee) are digitized, secure and easily accessible. No matter how many office locations you have, how many business units, and contract types, centralization is vital to visibility, insights, and ongoing improvements. Such a one-stop shop for your contracts will be essential to organization-wide analytics, tracking, and compliance. We can’t emphasize this enough.

3. First, ask, can this task be automated with AI?

Artificial intelligence is fast changing the way we work. As an attorney or legal operations professional, you are well-positioned to gain from these advancements. AI can make a world of difference to the quality of your contribution, create more time for you to think about process improvements and initiatives that have a more significant impact. 

Few such areas are metadata extraction and ongoing compliance management. When you sign new contracts, you need to track specific aspects of them across their lifecycle. But looking these things up, clause-by-clause is not very practical. 

Similarly, a lot of your contracts require revisions with ever-changing internal policies and governmental regulations. But manually fishing out each contract and analyzing the compliance implications can be a nightmare. That’s where AI-powered solutions come in. They extract metadata like contract terms, value, parties, key clauses, and compliance implications from new and existing contracts in just a few seconds.

If you resonate with these and would like to know more about how to transform contract management in your legal function, drop us an email at hello@simplicontract.com. We would be happy to walk you through SimpliContract’s SaaS-based Contract Lifecycle Management platform.

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