CobbleStone Software’s Executive VP and Founder, Mark Nastasi, narrows down his top eight items of recommendation to help you lead your legal digital transformation in 2022.
Throughout 2021 CobbleStone has provided contract management software to various contract professionals of ranging industries. I have noticed that they are experiencing an influx of legal review tasks, contract documents to review, negotiation requirements, risks to consider, and contracts to be signed. These tasks are required for contract management teams in order to keep their organizations competitive and their legal departments abreast of the latest legal technology.
Such encounters with contract management professionals inspired me to create a shortlist of top-line recommendations that your legal operations team can leverage to tackle backlogs of contract management responsibilities and lead your organization’s legal digital transformation. I hope the items below are helpful to corporate counsel, general counsel, contract administrators, and any other contract professionals looking for contract management best practices for the year ahead. Therefore, here are my top eight items for legal digital transformation in 2022.
#1 – Streamline Vendor & Customer Registration
The first item I want to focus on is streamlined customer, client, and vendor registration.
To handle an influx of new clients and vendors, find an integrated contract management and vendor management software platform that enables your clients, customers, vendors, and suppliers to undergo a streamlined and straightforward self-registration process. Try to ensure that your system is configured to collect key data such as the entity’s name, legal address, contact information, and other important information to onboard customers, vendors, clients, and suppliers faster into your contract lifecycle management software platform. Digitizing the onboarding process in this way can help reduce data entry errors, decrease contract risk, and centralize downstream contract review.
To further optimize the oversight of registering clients, customers, vendors, and suppliers, you can use leading contract management software to:
- easily collect required data fields (including those mentioned above) and documents (W9, insurance, etc.).
- implement seamlessly integrated counterparty risk review tools (OFAC search, SAM, ITAR).
- include prior litigation claim history and other credentialing items.
The aforementioned properties can be centralized and secured with leading-edge contract management software – so leverage a leading CLM software suite in 2022!
#2 – Leverage Legal Request Intake Forms
I highly recommend leveraging legal request intake forms to automate legal processes with increased organization and process centralization.
Legal request intake forms can act as electronic requests that your contract management software users and customers can submit online. You can configure key data fields that your organization requires from requestors, such as:
- the requestor’s name.
- the requestor’s contact information.
- proposed due dates.
- the request type.
- the name of the request.
- parties involved.
- monetary amounts.
Robust contract management software can support the configuration of various data fields based on legal request types (such as NDA review, contract review, counterparty onboarding, and new cases and matters, to name a few). Your team can also simplify the assignment of legal requests to the correct review resource based on pre-configured automated legal assignment rules.
Legal intake forms with trusted contract management software can support clause and data extraction with built-in contract artificial intelligence and machine learning. Leading contract management software also allows you to include files and attachments into your request processes complete with version tracking and full audit trails. Integrated electronic signatures can centralize the process even further.
Centralize, streamline, and automate legal requests with robust contract management software.
#3 – Embrace Intelligent Workflow Automation
Simple workflow tools that require teams to manually assign next steps are antiquated and error-prone. It is crucial that organizations looking to improve their legal digitization process embrace intelligent workflow automation.
A powerful workflow engine can route contract workflow based on business rules (such as contract type, pricing, teams assigned, governing law, and more). Each stage of the contract lifecycle can be assigned to appropriate resources to reduce contract lifecycle bottlenecks. Automated notifications for task alerts, key dates, and milestones can virtually ensure that your team is experiencing a smooth contract lifecycle management process. Leading contract management software supports task escalation so that tasks unfulfilled by a configured date can be reassigned to different resources – increasing accountability and punctuality.
Start 2022 with leading contract management software that supports intelligent contract workflow automation for a more efficient and effective contract lifecycle management process.
#4 – Automated Contract Drafting & Document Assembly
No legal digital transformation process is complete without automated contract drafting. I recommend that you implement a contract assembly system in 2022 that allows you to introduce documents from your mergeable template and clause library seamlessly. You can create rules around automated contract data field merging and clause merging in accordance with your contract lifecycle management needs. Automated document version tracking can make it easy for your team to stay abreast of the most up-to-date contract document versions in the process.
# 5 – Experience Online Document Editing
Increase the user-friendliness of contract processes with an online document editing interface. I recommend a contract management solution in 2022 that supports centralized creation and collaboration on contract documents within one robustly integrated platform. Trusted contract management software supports online contract document editing within its native software platform, and contract documents can be exported as MS Word and PDF formats for increased usability and flexibility.
An online document editing interface within robust contract management software can allow you to empower legal operations with functionality to:
- generate new documents straight from a contract management software record info page.
- import new documents straight into a record info page.
- and edit existing documents straight from a record info page with minimal friction.
Furthermore, familiar online document editing platform integrations can diversify and streamline your process even more. CobbleStone Software – for example – supports seamless integrations with Google Workspace and MS Office 365 so that you, your team, and other relevant stakeholders can engage in online document editing with heightened governance and optimized collaboration.
#6 – Leverage a Secure Contract Repository
It is paramount that your legal digital transformation process for 2022 involves a contract management software platform that offers a secure contract repository.
Your organization can centralize and unify contracts, clauses, document templates, contract data, and more in one secure location by utilizing a secure repository within a trusted contract management software platform.
With a secure contract repository, your organization can store virtually unlimited contract documents, key data, sensitive data, contract clauses, and document templates in one centralized location. Granular yet user-friendly search functionality can increase awareness, visibility, and efficiency. Your team can quickly locate contract record pages, contract documents and attachments, contract clauses, key data, and other information – potentially in mere seconds.
#7 – Introduce Contract Intelligence
Contract intelligence is the present and future of evolving legal operations. As such, I strongly recommend leveraging contract artificial intelligence to automate and streamline contract management processes in 2022.
Configurable and robust contract artificial intelligence built upon a foundation of machine learning can support your legal digital transformation process in a variety of ways. Proprietary contract AI – CobbleStone’s VISDOM® AI engine, for example – can intelligently recognize particular contract language, including contract clauses and phrases. From there, contract intelligence can present insightful language recommendations based upon continuously improving machine learning – as trainable machine learning technology continues to learn evermore from newly introduced contract data.
Contract intelligence is also instrumental in automating data extraction of contract metadata to support legal routing, intelligent auto-amendment recommendations, and much more. Be sure to add human checkpoints and validation for best results – as contract AI is not a replacement for human legal review resources.
Learn more about how contract artificial intelligence can support your 2022 legal digital transformation by accessing the free whitepaper below.
#8 – Enjoy Post-Award Contract Management Tools
For better post-award contract management in 2022, I highly recommend selecting a contract management software platform that supports advanced post-award processes, including:
- validation and verification of contract deliverables.
- savings and liability management.
- phasing out of low-value CLM tasks.
- assessing contract management ROI.
- robust vendor management.
- revenue and spend reporting.
- contract analytics.
- payment and invoice management.
- compliance oversight.
- obligations tracking.
- expiration and contract renewal management.
- & opportunity identification and realization.
Succeed in 2022 With a Winning Contract Management Software Platform
As the demands on contract management professionals increase and workloads expand, the need to implement a leading contract lifecycle management software that includes these features are a must. There is only one solution with all of the features listed above. That solution is CobbleStone Contract Insight®.
CobbleStone Contract Insight has continued to be a visionary leader in CLM software since I founded CobbleStone over twenty years ago. CobbleStone's award-winning, acclaimed, and feature-rich contract management software platform streamlines the contract lifecycle management process with optimal governance, decreased friction, and heightened flexibility from contract requests to renewals. Thousands of contract managers trust CobbleStone Contract Insight as their trusted CLM software solution. Moreover, CobbleStone - as a CLM software provider – is SOC 1, SOC 2, and HITRUST compliant. CobbleStone's robust, user-friendly, and highly scalable solution seamlessly integrates with mission-critical and user-friendly applications, including MS Word and MS Outlook, for unified and seamless contract management. It's no wonder why Forrester names CobbleStone a Leader in CLM software!
If you are looking to succeed in 2022 with confidence in your legal digital transformation roadmap with the features mentioned above, book your free demo to see CobbleStone Contract Insight in action!