Are you planning to adopt a new contract lifecycle management (CLM) software solution into your business? If so, we recommend taking some key things into consideration prior to implementing your new CLM software.
Finding the right fit for your unique business needs and goals is difficult in and of itself, but actually implementing and adopting the CLM software into your daily business operations is a whole ‘nother task. CLM software implementation can be tricky for any business regardless of its size or industry. And after making an investment into your new CLM software, you certainly wouldn’t want a painful, lengthy implementation period.
With effective training and a user-friendly software interface, you can successfully implement your new contract lifecycle management (CLM) software. For best results in the long-term, you must ensure that all of your employees involved in your company’s contracts are able to leverage the new software and adopt it into their daily practices efficiently. Software implementation might take a little bit of time, but with proper preparation, you can have a seamless transition to your new CLM software platform.
Before jumping ahead and implementing your new CLM software, we highly recommend keeping these nine concepts in mind prior to implementation:
#1 Develop a workable implementation plan
To begin implementing your new contract lifecycle management (CLM) software, you’ll want to develop an appropriate plan to ensure that implementation runs smoothly. Before moving towards implementation, you need to make some important decisions and ask yourself some questions as you make your plan:
- What is the goal date for rolling-out the new software?
- How large is our current contract storage system?
- How many contracts do we work with on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis?
- Which departments will need to access the new CLM software platform?
- How should we develop user permissions?
- What is the best way to organize our contracts and related data in our CLM software?
After answering these key questions, consult with your support team to develop a workable implementation plan that covers all of these concepts so you can work proactively towards your roll-out date.
#2 Simplify with a user-friendly solution
With contract lifecycle management (CLM) software, you want to ensure that the solution you choose is user-friendly so your employees can easily adopt it into their daily operations. The more efficient and simpler the software, more than likely, the better off your team will be when adopting it. Be sure to choose a platform that has the key features you’re looking for so you don’t find your team navigating through a complicated set of unneeded features. Believe it or not, the level of simplicity of the CLM software can significantly impact software implementation – so choose a simple option so you don’t run the risk of implementation failure.
#3 Receive comprehensive training for contract managers and involved team members
Comprehensive training ensures that every employee and involved department understands the objective of implementing your new CLM software and how to properly use it. In addition, an effective training session(s) will help your employees adopt the new solution faster while helping you attain their buy-in throughout the training stage. Depending on the size of your company, you may need to develop a more extensive training program so that every user is able to understand the software well. Webinar tutorials and other virtual trainings are great options for the training aspect of CLM software implementation. The reason why training is so critical is because the more your employees understand the software, the more you can increase compliance in your company’s contract lifecycle management.
#4 Rely on the software provider for additional help and troubleshooting
Transferring your company’s data from one software platform or even from physical storage facilities to your new contract lifecycle management (CLM) software platform can prove to be a taxing and difficult process. Because transitioning to a new CLM solution can be such a massive task, we recommend relying on the software provider to assist you in this process. Rather than using your company’s resources and time during the implementation stage, you should look to the software provider for any help that you may need. To add, it's highly likely that your employees will need some guidance when learning the software. Ensure that all of your employees can easily access the CLM software provider’s user support team so that they can receive troubleshooting assistance on demand.
#5 Create clear expectations to avoid confusion
Companies will commonly begin the software implementation process by collecting their contracts and sending them to their new CLM software provider. However, the contracts have to be effectively processed before they can be used in the new system. A contract lifecycle management solution is designed for storing and managing your company’s contracts so that all contract information can be appropriately analyzed and shared by contract administrators to relevant stakeholders. By maximizing your contract lifecycle management system, you can convert contract data into valuable insights that can help you make well-informed decisions for your business.
#6 Assess your current contract lifecycle management processes
Evaluate the current performance of your contract lifecycle management processes. Which areas could benefit from the capabilities of a new CLM system? Which areas experience delays more than they should? By gaining an awareness of some of the pitfalls of your current CLM process, you can set appropriate goals and expectations moving forward. Leveraging a user-friendly CLM solution will only help you improve in the areas that need it most!
Develop KPI’s according to your performance assessment and watch your CLM processes reach the next level. When assessing your process, we recommend seeking where you can increase organization in your contract storage system. A centralized contract repository with cloud security (provided by your CLM software) can greatly improve your company’s ability to sort, report, analyze, tag, and structure your contract metadata.
#7 Utilize a phased implementation approach
As opposed to a pilot approach where the implementation is rolled out on a small-scale, we suggest using a phased approach to help you save time and money. With a phased approach to your CLM software implementation, you can get started with using your software faster – meaning you can start serving your clients and vendors sooner. When developing your phased implementation approach, develop a detailed timeline with specified by-when dates so you can ensure your whole team can begin using the new software by a chosen date.
#8 Ensure that everyone is on the same page
To reduce risk and keep all of your company’s contracts protected, make sure that each team understands how to use the centralized contract storage system in your CLM software. With your centralized contract repository, you can ensure that the most recently updated version of each document is readily available to authorized employees. During implementation, it’s critical that everyone understands the role of the CLM software and how instrumental it can be for risk mitigation, business optimization, and generating a higher ROI.
#9 Assign roles to team members
When rolling-out your new contract lifecycle management (CLM) software, it’s important that you have a team devoted to its successful implementation and its capabilities for the long-term. With appropriate levels of visibility and properly distributed responsibilities and tasks, you can have a small team that helps train other employees and helps to troubleshoot software issues post-implementation.
Make sure that your company’s senior management is also involved, as they can help with the transition by assigning roles and making choices that leverage the features of the new software to propel your business forward. In this manner, you can develop a devoted CLM team that utilizes their unique experiences and expertise in their various departments – resulting in overall organizational success once the software is rolled-out.
Implementing the right contract lifecycle management (CLM) software can be difficult, but by preparing effectively and keeping these nine key concepts in mind, you can make the transition much easier for your company. With a proper understanding of what to look for in an optimized implementation phase, you can set your expectations realistically and set your team up for success when deploying your CLM solution. By focusing on successful adoption of the software by your whole team, you can guarantee that every employee is well-prepared to use the new system in their daily practices so your company can get started servicing your vendors and clients faster.
In truth, the success of your contract lifecycle management system in the long-term is heavily dependent upon the success of the software’s implementation – so be sure that you strategize system adoption appropriately. The end objective is to have a well-functioning, user-friendly CLM system that is accessible to all of your authorized employees. A successful CLM software implementation phase will result in every department having a clear understanding and handle on the software. CLM software can provide numerous competitive advantages to any company of any size in any industry – and particularly so when the transition to the software solution is smooth.
Learn more about our Dock 365 Contract Management System here.
Learn more about Contract Lifecyle Management (CLM) Software here.
For more information, we welcome you to schedule a free demo with us today.
Written by Lindsey Paulk
Lindsey Paulk is a Content Writer in Jacksonville, Florida that specializes in digitally communicating all-things contract management.