Feeling pressure to deliver greater value to your organization? You could work more hours – and encourage your colleagues in the corporate legal department to do the same. Or, you could let go of staff.
Doesn’t sound appealing? Well, then focus on the low-hanging fruit. Most corporate legal departments have at least a few areas in which they can afford to tighten up their business processes. Make a few simple changes, and you could noticeably boost your company’s bottom line – without burning yourself out or losing headcount.
One such area for improvement is contract management. Launch a contract management project that focuses on optimizing your contract lifecycle, and you’ll be surprised at the results.
The “Before” and “After” of the Contract Lifecycle
If you haven’t optimized your contract management lifecycle, then chances are, it’s needlessly taking up the time and bandwidth of your in-house attorneys. I’m referring to the pointless busywork that often plagues the contract process. End users call or email for status updates. Attorneys spend hours filling in information that the contract requestor should have provided. This tedious manual work distracts attorneys from the high-value work they should be doing.
How can your contract management project make life easier for your attorneys? I like to look at it in terms of “before-and-after”:
Before: Too much manual “grunt work” for attorneys.
After: Fewer phone calls and emails from contract requestors means more time for high-value, high-risk work.
Before: Low attorney morale.
After: Less attorney data entry and less mandatory overtime leads to higher retention rates.
Before: Constant contract backlogs.
After: Shorter turnaround times. Fewer complaints from end users and their managers. An overall higher opinion of the corporate legal department.
Before: Lack of visibility into the contract pipeline.
After: A real-time view of how many contracts are under review, and of how many contain active risks or are coming up for termination.
Before: Difficulty mitigating risk.
After: Legal policies are now embedded in how the request information is gathered and routed. You no longer have to manually “police” your policies – they are self-enforcing. At the same time, Legal gets to use the bandwidth they recovered through your new efficiencies to spend more time scrutinizing contracts for problematic items, averting problems before they happen.
Get Serious About Enhancing Contract Management
If you’re serious about launching a contract management project that trims the fat from your contract request process, it’s best to work with a consulting firm that knows where the low-hanging fruit is – and what the best practices are for earning a quick payback. Elegrity has specialized in this area for 15 years. Learn more about our approach in a free e-book, “Enhancing Contract Management in a Tight Economy.”