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The Importance of Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) in 2023: Uncovering ROI with the Impact First Methodology

Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) has become a hot topic among in-house legal professionals in 2022, with many organizations realizing the value of efficient contract management processes. CLM encompasses the end-to-end management of contracts, from their initiation and negotiation to execution, performance, and renewal. With the increasing complexity and volume of contracts in today’s business landscape, organizations are realizing the need for robust CLM solutions to streamline their contract processes, reduce risk, and ensure compliance.

While discussions around CLM have gained momentum in recent years, organizations often face challenges in implementing CLM solutions and demonstrating the return on investment (ROI) to their leadership. This is where the Impact First methodology comes into play. Embraced by smartContract, the Impact First methodology aims to help organizations identify the value in their contracts and achieve maximum ROI throughout their CLM journey by aligning CLM implementation milestones with their specific business problems.

The Need for ROI in CLM Implementations

Implementing a CLM solution can be a significant transformation project that requires time, effort, and resources. As such, organizations need to justify the investment to their leadership and stakeholders by demonstrating the ROI of the CLM implementation. However, ROI can often be challenging to measure in the context of CLM, as it involves various qualitative and quantitative factors, including increased efficiency, reduced risk, improved compliance, and enhanced contract visibility.

In many cases, organizations may find it challenging to convince their leadership to commit to a CLM solution based solely on qualitative arguments or a leap of faith. This is where the Impact First methodology comes in, providing a framework for organizations to align their CLM implementation with their specific business problems and measure the ROI based on tangible and measurable outcomes.

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Introducing the Impact First Methodology

The Impact First methodology is a customer-centric approach that smartContract has adopted to help organizations maximize the ROI of their CLM journey. It involves working closely with customers to plan and deliver quick wins and define discrete milestones that are relevant to their unique business needs. Instead of applying a “one-size-fits-all” approach based on generic best practices, the Impact First methodology offers flexibility and customization to consider the variables that are familiar to the organization, and turn them into measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be prioritized by value.

This customer-centric approach allows organizations to align their CLM implementation with their specific business challenges and goals, making it easier to measure the impact and demonstrate ROI. For example, a retail industry client with over 10,000 employees in 13 countries may choose to start their CLM implementation by focusing on migrating legacy paper documents to a digital contract repository and automating a couple of agreement types. This phased approach allows users to gradually adopt the system, build their knowledge of CLM, and demonstrate quick wins, gaining support from leadership and further engagement in the CLM project.

Why Impact First Works

The Impact First methodology offers several advantages to organizations implementing CLM solutions:

  1. Quick Wins and Tangible ROI: By aligning CLM implementation with specific business problems and delivering quick wins, organizations can demonstrate tangible ROI to their leadership and stakeholders. These quick wins could include improved contract visibility, reduced contract cycle times, increased compliance, and enhanced risk management. These outcomes can be measured and quantified, making it easier to justify the investment in CLM to the leadership.
  2. Customization and Flexibility: The Impact First methodology allows organizations to customize their CLM implementation based on their unique business needs and challenges. This flexibility ensures that the CLM solution is relevant and aligned with the organization’s specific requirements, making it more likely to succeed. It also allows organizations to adapt the roadmap based on changes
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