Just when we were all getting installed at our kitchen tables / DIY home offices, and forced to collaborate on a distance, I joined Precisely. While it was a little scary to start at a new company in the middle of a pandemic, without actually meeting anyone, I quickly came to realize that Precisely was already very digital.
Everything I needed to do my job was already accessible online, even as a Legal engineer and Compliance manager. I thought I’d share what parts of our CLM platform that have proven to be extra helpful for me in remote times, now that many are back at their kitchen tables.
Efficient Legal operations demands intuitive technology
For obvious reasons, we already had a digital tool in place covering the full lifecycle of a contract. But it was great timing to put our platform to the test as we also grew a lot in size during the past year. Both as a team but also in the amount of customers we serve.
Despite this, we managed to avoid delays and bottlenecks. I am confident that our Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) platform and the way we manage contracts has played a big role in how we managed our growth. Here are a few examples of where our CLM platform has been extra helpful for me – and in turn also for my colleagues in other departments – during the past year.
1. Drafting new contracts remotely
How can you ensure all contracts
- are based on the latest template,
- cannot be freely modified by the drafter,
- stay compliant without Legal manually checking them?
With Precisely, all contracts are drafted based on up to date automated templates in the platform. The drafter simply responds to a questionnaire. These choices automatically generate a complete and compliant contract based on the pre-defined and automatic logic.
With access policies and approval workflows in place, you can ensure that only certain people have the right to make free-text edits to the agreement. If something changes, you simply edit the template and all users are automatically drafting from the latest version next time they create a contract.
By working with automated templates in this way, Legal is still in control over the allowed contents of any contract, and can trust anyone to draft fully compliant contracts on their own. For Precisely, this meant that we could allow fast growth. As an example our Sales team could sign more customers than ever before without me ever having to look at the contracts. Bottlenecks = gone!
2. Collaborating on contracts remotely
How can you ensure that
- the right people are involved and approve a contract before it is sent for signing,
- the contract doesn’t get stuck in someone’s email inbox slowing down the process?
You set automatic and rule-based approval flows! This means that you can set rules to determine who needs to approve something, and at what point. For example, in some cases you might want a Legal counsel to approve any contract where a penalty clause is included. Or have a Sales manager approve an amount lower than the standard price. If these approvals are not obtained – the drafter will not be able to send the agreement to a counterparty.
Last, but not least, you can set a default signee to contracts. This removes the hurdle for the drafter to find out who the right person to sign is (which is even harder to do remotely). It also ensures that only the people that have the right to sign agreements, can sign them.
And of course, signing with Precisely is handled electronically. No need to distribute printers to your employee’s home offices, or force people to come into the office to exchange papers. I used a printer for the first time almost a year into my employment, and it wasn’t even for a contract. All these steps not only speed up the process, but also provide transparency within the company. This enables a smooth experience of working remotely.
3. Managing old contracts remotely
A big, and very important challenge within all companies is managing your contracts, and having a centralized storage for them.
FUN FACT: A couple of years ago, at one of my previous jobs, I spent two weeks each summer, scanning, sorting and manually identifying metadata tags in hundreds of printed contracts. I would sometimes have to actually read through them to find dates and stakeholders to then put them into an excel file plus carrying them up to a physical archive in the building.
Can you imagine finding two weeks worth of time to do that? Imagine trying to find a specific contract three years later in a humongous excel file to check whether or not it has expired, when the renewal date was or if you included a Data Processing Agreement with a specific vendor. And what if your worst nightmare comes true: the specific contract you’re looking for never made it into the excel file…
Well, in Precisely – this is all automatically handled. All contracts drafted from a specific template. As an example, a sales agreement is automatically stored in the correct folder in the Precisely archive – accessible to anyone with the right permissions.
Furthermore, they are automatically tagged with contract specific metadata. This allows you to search in the archive for a specific counterparty, expiry date or inserted clause. On top of this, automatic reminders make sure that stakeholders are notified when an agreement is about to expire, to make sure no business is lost.
Whenever a colleague asks me about a contract, I can give it to them within seconds even if it was created long before my time. And more importantly; in most cases, they can actually just find them themselves.
Ensuring Legal is not remotely a bottleneck (pun intended) with a CLM platform everyone can use
I am still surprised, one year into my employment. By how administratively heavy tasks are automatically handled in the platform. But also by how smooth and remote friendly our internal workflow is. And by the value that we are able to create for our customers with integrations between Precisely and other systems they use. With all contracting managed within the CLM platform, there are no problems with collaborating, keeping track of deadlines and continuing to grow!