I recently spoke on the Reinventing Professionals podcast with Ari Kaplan about meaningful contract management. The podcast is designed to offer ideas, guidance, and perspectives on how to effectively navigate a perpetually shifting professional landscape, and it has a unique focus on the legal industry and the technology that is driving its evolution. Here are some of the insights I shared.
Why is there so much change occurring specifically in the contract management space?
Contracts are important. Money may be the blood of a business, but contracts are the bones. If you think about a company, underlying almost every asset or every important relationship is a contract. Every business, every nonprofit, and every government entity has lots of contracts. They hold the business together. They generate assets for the business.
Yet, as critical as they are, they’re still not actionable. In fact, even in 2020, they are still quite manual. Professionals who create, negotiate, or manage usually don’t use data analytics, or even modern technology. That’s why you see a lot of interest in technology for contract management. Contracts matter.
At the same time, there is a trend in general counsel in-house legal operators wherein in-house attorneys are demanding twenty-first-century tools, maturing technologies like cloud, AI, and blockchain, and increasing the critical business role of legal departments. It’s no coincidence that contract management is having a moment; in-house attorneys are seeing its importance and seeing the enormous potential for technological advancements.
What are some of the characteristics of a modern contract management platform?
I think of it as three things: visibility, efficiencies, and process control. While there are numerous other characteristics, these are the main reasons that an in-house counsel, whether it be general counsel, legal operators, or in-house counsel, decides to acquire a contract management solution.
Visibility: If you find that you are doing a job and your peers in other departments have no idea what you are working on, when it’s going to be done, and what the process looks like, you probably have a visibility problem. A contract management solution can help.
Efficiencies: If you find that your peers in other departments, or even in your department, think that you are taking a little too long or that contracts process is a black box, you likely have an efficiency challenge. It can probably be addressed by a contract management solution.
Process control: If you find yourself cutting and pasting, reconciling versions, going back and forth between email and other applications, you probably have process problems. A contract management solution can definitely help.
Olga V. Mack is the CEO of Parley Pro, a next-generation contract management company that has pioneered online negotiation technology. Olga embraces legal innovation and had dedicated her career to improving and shaping the future of law. She is convinced that the legal profession will emerge even stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive than before by embracing technology. Olga is also an award-winning general counsel, operations professional, startup advisor, public speaker, adjunct professor, and entrepreneur. Olga founded the Women Serve on Boards movement that advocates for women to participate on corporate boards of Fortune 500 companies. Olga also co-founded SunLaw, an organization dedicated to preparing women in-house attorneys to become general counsels and legal leaders, and WISE to help female law firm partners become rainmakers. She authored Get on Board: Earning Your Ticket to a Corporate Board Seat and Fundamentals of Smart Contract Security. You can email Olga at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @olgavmack.
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