Business went digital, contracts didn’t.
Over the past 15 years, business underwent a digital transformation. Sales got CRM. Procurement got cloud ERP. Teams got Slack, Zoom and collaborative docs. As a result, the pace of business is faster than ever.
But contracts haven’t kept up. They’re still slow, disjointed, and inscrutable — causing friction for businesses that need agility more than ever.
Why were contracts left behind?
Contracts have proven hard to digitize. Here’s why.
- Contracts vary, a lot. Software works well on deterministic problems; contracts have a ton of variation. It’s a challenge to capture all those variations in a single system.
- Contracts are multiplayer. Contracts are the product of complex collaboration between stakeholders across the organization. It’s a challenge getting all these people to use the same tool.
- Contracts are hard to understand. Contracts can be inscrutable to humans and computers alike — we need legal professionals to interpret them. Digitization is constrained by the amount of time these professionals can spare.
The false promise of CLM
Since the 2000s, legacy contract lifecycle management (CLM) tools have promised faster, more efficient contracting. But all have failed to deliver value. They’re time-consuming to implement, difficult to use, disconnected from systems and people, and unable to manage a variety of contract types. Why? They address the symptom of analog contracting — not the underlying challenge.