Non-solicitation, non-compete, limitation of liability, indemnity, applicable law – the list goes on. And restarts with every new customer contract.
Sometimes, reviewing and de-risking customer contracts can feel like déjà vu. You do it so many times over and over. No other contract type in your organization is usually this difficult to handle. And there are many reasons behind it. First and foremost, it is a ‘sales’ contract. A hard-earned deal, a precious customer, and the brand image make it a touchy subject. But they don’t relieve you from your compliance obligations. Secondly, the contract invariably starts on a customer template – which is not so easy to review and standardize vis a vis your enterprise playbook.
So, what happens when these contracts get authored? A lot of time goes into reviewing and analyzing the verbiage. There are inclusions to make, exclusions to request, and changes to propose. And the cycle keeps going on because the customer has its legal team too. And they have more bargaining power because they are giving you business. And in all of this, you have to find a delicate balance that protects your business interests and keeps the customer happy.
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. Don’t spend hours doing what AI can do in seconds
Time is a precious resource for in-house counsels and legal operations professionals. By automating routine, repetitive tasks, you will not only make time for strategic and high-yield work but also reduce your operational costs. Your stakeholders and your team members will be happier – because they will be able to make better use of their time.
Today artificial intelligence can read and understand contract language, compare two disparate templates and find similarities and differences at a clause level, and even suggest changes to standardize them as per your preferences. It is an invaluable functionality for legal professionals. It empowers them to look at the bigger picture yet retain control at a micro-level. If you haven’t yet tried or explored an AI-powered contract review solution, we encourage you to do so. You will be pleasantly surprised.
2. Shift from siloed to collaborative authoring
Contracts affect multiple stakeholders from each of the organizations that are parties to it. If you can create a participative environment and make it easy for them to collaborate with you and among themselves, you will make your life easier and speed up contracts! Centralized and structured communication threads can prevent negotiation dead-ends, data loss, stakeholder fatigue, and contracting delays.
The idea is to let the stakeholders communicate from channels they are most comfortable with (even if that’s email). And still, centralize all correspondence in one location, and structure them by contracts, chronology, and versions. That saves you time when you want to go back to a thread and recapitulate all the information there. And we have seen that emails folders are typically more of a problem than a help.
3. Build for the entire lifecycle
Getting a contract signed is only half the battle. The other half is about tracking it throughout its lifecycle, managing obligations, and having all resources handy for upcoming amendments and contract revisions. Thus, your contract management process needs to be holistic.
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 manually, contract by contract, is not very practical. 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. You have to see it to believe it.
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 email@example.com. We would be happy walk you through SimpliContract’s SaaS-based Contract Lifecycle Management platform.