In a recent Argyle CLO virtual event, we had a chance to sit down with Joanne Kelly from Oath Inc., David Le from Lyft, and Brandon Pace from Lending Club. The topic of conversation centered around how to leverage technology to become more effective and efficient.
While there were exciting tech innovations being thrown around—AI, Machine Learning, Blockchain—the core of the conversation centered around contract management, and what technology really means for addressing process lags and concerns to help legal teams become more strategic and deliver better services to their internal clients. You can see the full webinar replay here.
Now, one of the questions asked at the end of the webinar was for advice. What advice did these experts have for those looking to implement, or starting to implement, legal tech? Here are their three tips.
Tip 1: Have a clear scope of what you’re looking for.
“Feature Creep,” as David Le explained it, is when you’re looking for a solution and you tell people about it, and suddenly the list of wants has grown longer and longer.
Before diving into vendor selection examine your existing processes, look for bottlenecks and areas that could be automated to increase efficiency. Do you need a basic repository or a full-service solution? Are you looking just for the legal department or for everyone? Identify key stakeholders and where they fit in the process.
Similarly, your hunt may take you down the one-size-fits-all solution path. Yet, Legal is not a one-size-fits-all industry, and each organization has its own processes. While it may seem beneficial to have one solution that does procurement, CPQ, contract management, and revenue management, it may not do any of all areas well. Joanne and Travis Bickham, VP of Marketing at Concord who was moderating the panel discussion, both agree doing one thing and doing it well will ultimately pay off in the long run, and attacking challenges with a platform approach will allow systems to integrate and “talk” to one another, giving you the best of both worlds.
Have an idea of what you need from the outset and go into the research and evaluation process with a clear vision of what it is you want to accomplish. To help you do this, here’s a guide and a checklist.
Tip 2: Be wary of over-customized solutions
While custom solutions are like shiny objects and may seem like they are the best idea, because, of course they are built for your specific use case, be wary.
Promises made during the buying process for over-customization depend on developer time and capability. Aside from the possibility of undelivered promises, custom often means expensive, as build and implementation costs for custom solutions can be in the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars range (on top of the SaaS cost). Lastly, a custom solution can also have a hard learning curve, requiring a lot of time for training and onboarding, which may ultimately end in non-adoption if the solution is too hard to use.
Tip 3: Think of technology like hiring your new colleague
Joanne mentioned she finds it helpful to treat evaluating new technology as she would hiring a new employee. You’re likely going to depend on this technology heavily and interact with it daily, so it should be easy to use and bring a lot of value to the table.
Like you would for a new employee, check references. While evaluating a solution ask to speak to other customers, and more than one. Ask them questions about their use case, what they think about the platform, and what returns they’re seeing from implementing. They’ve already gone through the process and will give you honest feedback, invaluable background knowledge on what you can really expect to gain or what the experience is really like.
Second, trust your gut. If during scoping calls or demos a nagging feeling arises, even one you can’t quite explain, pay attention to it. No one knows your business and process better than you, so if something isn’t making sense or doesn’t fit, deep dive into it to make sure the solution is a match for your needs. A true partner will take the time to learn your specific use case and how their solution matches your process, or where it can really make a difference for you and your organization.
Other things to keep in mind when evaluating or implementing legal technology:
- How to best scale?
- How to address needs today and needs you don’t even know yet?
- How to find the best solution for you and your organization?
Turning challenges into opportunity requires becoming technology enabled. When it comes to smarter faster contract management, there’s no better way than a contract management platform. Question is, which one is right for your use case.
To get the comprehensive checklist of key things to consider, download your free copy of The Complete Contract Management Solution Buyer’s Guide. Robust, it will help you evaluate where you are now and what solution will best fit your specific use case. Most importantly, it will help you make the most of your most lucrative revenue source—your contracts.