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Contract lifecycle management (CLM) is the proactive, methodical management of a contract from initiation through award, compliance and renewal. Implementing CLM can lead to significant improvements in cost savings and efficiency. Understanding and automating CLM can also limit organizational liability and increase compliance with legal requirements.
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The key steps in a CLM process are:
- Capture: Step No. 1 for most people is to get all of their existing paper contracts in a central visible place. If you have no clear idea what contracts you have, then you have no idea what your potential risk exposure is.
- The next step is to capture the data from the contracts.
- Track: Once you know where all your contracts are, the next step is to track any important data so you don't miss any milestone. This affects both old contracts and newly signed contracts.
- Author: With tracking in place, the focus can shift to accelerating the new contract creation process. The "authoring" process is about setting up contract templates and clause libraries to empower business users and legal users, respectively, to create new contracts in a fast but controlled fashion.
- Create: Contract creation has two tracks. First, empowering business users with self-service, wizard-based creation using intelligent templates pre-approved by legal. Second, making life easier for legal when drafting complex deals on your own paper, or reviewing and "patching" contracts negotiated on other people's paper.
- Approve: Companies need an approval workflow process to ensure that risky contracts are reviewed and approved by the right person. Some risks need to be approved by legal, some by management, some by special departments like credit, etc. Ideally, safe deals are pre-approved.
- Negotiate: The needs of the typical negotiator include: a checklist of issues for each type of deal, a way of marking up the paper to highlight how it is different from the original or the last draft, and a way of capturing and flagging those differences (if possible).
- Sign: When the contract is final and agreed it needs to be signed by all relevant people, and the signed copies need to be stored. Someone also needs to validate that the final signed version was not modified in any way after execution copies were sent out.
- Analyze: Enterprises with 100+ contracts need to analyze those contracts for potential risks, rights and obligations. Executives and legal and risk management professionals need reports to manage common risks, and ad hoc reports for unexpected scenarios. "Fingertip access" to contract terms and data allows people to react quickly to new scenarios and deal with time-sensitive risks.
- "The Benefits of Contract Lifecycle Management/CLM". Villanova University. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)