CLM or Contract Lifecycle Management is much more than just implementing the technology. How well you’re utilizing the technology is a bigger factor to concern yourself with. Now, how exactly do you measure that? The answer is CLM Maturity Model.

CLM Maturity Model helps you gauge the maturity of your CLM solution — it is a journey that helps you identify the stage at which your contract management strategy lies. This knowledge will help you improve your strategy to move up the ladder, i.e., achieve a higher level of CLM Maturity. Thus, resulting in more rewards and greater commercial value.

You can typically evaluate your organization’s maturity and readiness to advance by assessing the following:

  • The contract management process that your organization follows.
  • The average time taken to create each contract.
  • The quality of the integration capabilities of your CLM.
  • Recent technological investment in your company.
  • If your stakeholders are open to technological change or not.

A Forrester survey found that mature organizations take an average of 1.2 days to execute a contract, whereas immature organizations take almost 3.4 days, which is approximately three times more.

Now, let’s have a look at the various other benefits of attaining maximum CLM Maturity:

  • Faster contract cycles lead to faster and more efficient business cycles and quicker revenue recognition.
  • Greater CLM maturity helps to identify and remedy pain points or gaps in the contracting process to provide the best service to the customers.
  • Mature CLM software implements online contract redlining, real-time status tracking, and contract visibility. Thus, leading to increased collaborations.
  • Improved visibility into contract progress enables your sales representatives to respond faster to buyers and move deals forward.
  • A mature CLM offers financial resilience through its risk identification and mitigation capabilities, along with automated alerts to prevent non-compliance due to missed deadlines.

Despite the benefits, most companies are in the nascent-to-intermediate stage of CLM maturity in traditional legal areas like compliance (‘2020 Legal Operations Maturity Benchmarking, ACC Report).

Keys to Achieve Higher CLM Maturity

The most progressive approach to CLM is to adopt it as part of an enterprise-wide strategy that considers the interdependencies among contracts, business processes, and operational/financial results and indicates a high level of maturity. This is typically achieved by having holistic automation, data and integration strategies.

AI-led Contract Analytics Technology that will help Automation, Data Analytics, and Integration are:

  • Self-Learning – Accelerates data analysis to get critical business insights using AI/ML to predict and mitigate risk factors.
  • Comprehensive – Goes beyond search by extracting metadata for tracking obligations, entitlements, KPIs, etc.
  • Scalable – Enterprise-wide user adoption that can process thousands of contracts and documents at a time.
  • Intelligent – Trainable, embedded machine learning “learns” behavior from your actions and data sources – incrementally improving accurate results.
  • Integrable – Uses APIs so the processed data and analysis can be populated to third party applications for visualization or other purposes.

So, how do Automation, Data Strategy, and Integration Capabilities Improve CLM Maturity for Enterprises? Let’s dig in.

CLM AUTOMATION

Automation marks the third level of CLM Maturity. In this stage, the majority of the workflows are automated, making the matter intake from multiple teams much more organized. The contract creation process becomes faster with the help of automation and utilization of pre-approved templates and clauses stored in a clause library, which ensures uniformity throughout similar contracts. At this level of maturity, the CLM system allows AI-based parsing and metadata extraction, thereby ensuring quick, accurate, and efficient authoring of contracts.

Forrester Research’s interview with sample CLM clients shows that while almost all companies reach the first two stages of CLM Maturity, only 56% of CLM users reach the 3rd stage.

Zycus’s Authoring Software enables quick and easy contract creation using templates and clause libraries. Its standardized contract language and version control, along with configurable workflows, help streamline the entire review and contract approval process. Thus, minimizing exposure to legal risks while capturing benefits for your organization.

The AI-driven Merlin Guide intakes new contract requests and offers self-service for well-defined agreements. It has built-in support for loading external agreements as part of the intake process when a 3rd party agreement is used as the baseline. It does so with its unmatched accuracy and speed supplemented with NLP algorithms and OCR integrations. Not only that, based on comparison with defined standards, it also provides suggestions on alternative, missing, and fallback clauses.

DATA STRATEGY or PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

In the fourth stage of CLM Maturity, organizations systematically use performance metrics to assess the quality, efficacy, and effectiveness of the contract management processes. Risk management is an important aspect of this stage where, along with automated alerts and notifications, contract analytics is also being utilized for effective business decisions.

Forrester Research’s interview with sample CLM clients shows that only 17% of CLM users reach this stage of CLM Maturity.

Zycus’s Post-award Analytics software helps procurement, M&A, Legal, Compliance, and Finance teams achieve this level of maturity utilizing its AI personas — Merlin Explorer and Merlin Protector:

  • Legal Operations: Ultra Merlin helps in-house corporate legal teams respond faster to external events, internal requests, and crisis situations by extracting obligations, deliverables, milestones, policy, and regulatory commitments. It performs terms and clauses deviation analysis from defined standards across native and 3rd party contracts. Not only that, it identifies missing clauses and other risks associated with a contract and alerts all stakeholders of potential penalties and losses.
  • Procurement: Procurement teams can increase savings, monitor risk, and perform supplier evaluation by extracting the terms, pricing, delivery obligations, payment terms, renewal clauses, and product/service performance SLAs. The AI personas auto-identify clauses that allow the organization to terminate or pause contracts. Moreover, they perform accurate spend analysis, understand contract risks, and reduce procurement costs.
  • Merger & Acquisition: Zycus’s contract analytics software helps M&A teams standardize their contracting practice and gain insights by detecting obligations, irregularities, and hidden liabilities. Extracting common M&A specific clauses such as retention rights, change of control, terminations, etc., it streamlines the merger. It also helps the teams gain transparency into supply chain risk by discovering contract risk associated with divestitures.
  • Sales: Sales operations teams can optimize resources and focus on initiating, maintaining, and expanding customer relationships by spotting trends in negotiation terms and identifying key contract levers that enable teams to close business quicker. Zycus AI-driven Contract Analytics solution forecasts revenue accurately using contract data and usage trends and tracking obligations and liabilities effectively. It also maximizes customer lifetime total value by extracting customer intelligence for potential upsell or cross-sell opportunities.
  • Risk & Finance Management: Zycus’s analytics help you realize maximum contract value while managing risk with proactive insights and compliance by proactively monitoring performance against obligations and entitlements. It builds up a risk profile by extracting key details and analyzing them against external sources. It also improves visibility and notifies stakeholders regarding the contracts impacted by index changes, currency fluctuations, or geopolitical instabilities.

CLM INTEGRATION

The fifth and final stage of CLM Maturity involves the integration of the CLM software with other systems, including — CRMs like Salesforce, ERPs like MS-Word, MS-Outlook, and other CPQ, ITSM, and SRM tools. This enables two-way data exchange between systems in real-time.

Forrester Research’s interview with sample CLM clients show that only 18% of them achieve integration with external systems, and even fewer — only 11%, achieve integration with sibling applications such as eSourcing and CPQ.

Now, let’s look at some of the highlighting benefits of integrating your CLM solution with a variety of business applications:

  • Internal stakeholders can track, report, and analyze contract performance while being aware of the progress made. 
  • Leveraging analytics and insights into past activities, you can assess contract performance and pricing incentive effectiveness. This will help you replicate past success and avoid previous pitfalls while creating new contracts.
  • You can automatically verify payment information, thus, minimizing revenue lost to incorrect payments and safeguarding profit margins.
  • Increased data visibility and process auditability with reduced possibilities for errors like incorrect re-keying or missed deadlines and milestones.

Zycus offers integration with platforms including MS-WordMS-Outlook, and CRMs like Salesforce that help to upskill your contracting game by simplifying contract creation, emails and contract requests, and customer contract management.

We can conclude by saying that the maturity of an organization’s CLM strategy determines the extent to which their contracts are effectively processed, managed, and leveraged. Greater maturity means lower risk, reduced costs, faster business cycles, and greater return on investment.

Zycus’s suite of products – the AI engine Merlin, the free-standing contract analytics software, or the highly-configurable CLM solution, help you achieve the highest level of CLM Maturity without any pompous changes in the work set-up. This is what makes Zycus so simplistic yet efficient.