CLM Implementation at Ironclad: Partners in Success

To ensure CLM success, you'll need a smart, well executed implementation plan and a team of mentors who understand your business and your goals. Here, you can learn about Ironclad's industry-leading CLM implementation strategy.

It’s not just automation you’re looking for. It’s working with a team that understands your business and thinks about your success in the long-term.

Cecile Quesada, Legal Operations Advisor

The Risky Business of CLM Implementation

Buying CLM (contract lifecycle management) software is just the beginning. Next, you’ll need a smart, well executed implementation plan to ensure you get full value, fast.

Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. CLM implementations have tremendously high failure rates, and the future doesn’t look any brighter. Gartner predicts that by 2024, 50% of first-time CLM implementations will fail to deliver expected benefits.

Cuneiform Tablet

The History of Contract Lifecycle Management

A walkthrough of the historical events that lead to Contract Lifecycle Management as we know it today.

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By 2023, 50% of all first-time CLM implementations will fail to deliver the expected benefits as a result of an unrealistic strategic technology roadmap.

Gartner Report, 2019

Top 3 Points of Failure for CLM

So why is CLM such risky business? Here are the most common reasons why CLM implementations fail.

Risk 1: Lack of buy-in and adoption

Companies often take software adoption for granted. They figure that once a tech solution has been set up, their employees will naturally want to use it. But of course, people don’t work that way.

When software is hard to use, poorly integrated — or when users aren’t sufficiently trained or bought-in to the promised value — shiny, new software turns to dust-gathering shelfware. It’s an expensive, embarrassing, and all too common occurrence.

Risk 2: Missing functionality

Race cars are great… If you’re on a race track. Going to Whole Foods or taking the family to the beach? You’ll probably need a more well-rounded vehicle.

The same goes for CLMs. Too many CLMs promise to handle any contract type, to support any integration, or to enable the entire contracting process. In reality, most solutions are good at one or two things, but fall short in all the rest. 

All too often, you don’t know if your CLM falls short until it’s too late. So make sure you do your research on the vendor (talk to peers, read reviews, check references) before making your decision.

Risk 3: Unforeseen shifts in priorities or process

The world today changes so fast that “annual planning” is almost an oxymoron. You don’t know what new threats or opportunities might arise next week, let alone next quarter or next year. 

So it’s critical that your CLM can adapt quickly to any changes your business might throw at you. A CLM that’s slow or expensive to reimplement will become dead weight when it’s time to pivot.

What can you do to maximize your chance of success?

Two things:

  1. Make sure you buy a CLM that’s designed for fast deployments, quick iteration, and high rates of adoption
  2. Make sure your CLM vendor provides hands-on, highly experienced implementation support and user training, plus ongoing, high-touch success management

For more information on #1, check out Ironclad’s features.

For more information on #2, continue reading!

Meet Your Mentors

Behind every hero is a wise mentor. Behind every Ironclad implementation is a team of experts whose mission is to ensure your success.

Over the course of hundreds of deployments, we’ve developed an implementation playbook that takes new customers from kick-off to roll-out in 60 days — that’s 5 times as fast as the industry standard for contract management systems. 

And powering the playbook is a key ingredient:

  • Expert, personalized, hands-on service and mentorship to help new customers meet their goals.

Each Ironclad customer has dedicated Customer Success Managers (CSMs) and Legal Engineers (LEs) to ensure CLM victory.

Ironclad’s team are true partners. They’re always right there by your side, doing whatever it takes to help your legal team succeed.

Ashlee Best, Legal Operations Lead, Asana

Success Managers, a.k.a. CLM Sidekicks

Customer Success Managers aren’t unique to CLM. If you’ve bought enterprise software of any kind, there’s a good chance a success manager helped onboard, train users, and answer questions as they came up. They’re not salespeople, and they’re not support reps. Their job is to proactively make sure you get the most out of your investment.

At Ironclad, CSMs are your dedicated user onboarding and engagement experts. They’re passionate about helping people make the most of Ironclad. Their user adoption playbook includes live trainings, user guides, videos, and custom documentation on your company’s workflows. They’re also there to answer your questions and provide general guidance along the way.

And because Ironclad CSMs have onboarded dozens of CLM customers, the knowledge they bring to the table extends far beyond product functionality. They know what it takes to convince hundreds of people to change the way they operate. They know all the different contract use cases, and where implementations may experience friction in each one. Also, they know what it’s like to drive such a big project, and they can provide you with emotional support along the way.

The great thing about Ironclad CSMs is they’re always there to support you. They’ll keep an eye out for you long after the initial implementation succeeds and provide frequent suggestions for improvement. Some Ironclad customers have been working with the same success managers for years, resulting in strong and productive relationships.

Legal Engineers, a.k.a. Digital Contracting Architects

Unlike success managers, which are ubiquitous across enterprise software, Legal Engineers (LEs) are unique to Ironclad. They combine product expertise and subject matter expertise to create solutions that integrate seamlessly with your company’s processes, personnel, and contracts.

As product specialists, Legal Engineers help you make the most of the Ironclad platform, both during the implementation process and over the long term. 

As subject matter experts, Legal Engineers bring a deep understanding of contracts, often from prior work in legal contexts. Most of our Legal Engineers have law degrees, and all have worked with dozens of legal departments like yours. 

Ironclad’s Legal Engineers help me think outside the box. They help my team apply best practices they’ve seen at other companies.

Angela Mendenhall, Senior Paralegal, Impossible Foods

Here are a few ways Legal Engineers help ensure CLM success:

  • As a Legal Operations sounding board. Implementing a modern platform for contracting is more than just using software. It’s about the people, processes, and tools that support legal operations strategy. Legal Engineers are business process experts — advising you on best practices in legal operations and helping you codify your own ways of working within the platform.
  • As a solution architect. Legal Engineers immerse themselves in the specifics of your company. They do whatever it takes to ensure a smooth implementation. Everything from whiteboarding contract processes to outlining product strategy, and even presenting updates to your stakeholders. 
  • As a liaison to Ironclad’s software developers. Legal Engineers tailor Ironclad’s core platform to fit your unique requirements. They do the heavy lifting so you can get up and running quickly and with confidence. Legal Engineers are deeply embedded members of our core Product Team. In fact, every major feature release requires their input. This means that you’ll get real time insight into our core product roadmap, and a direct channel to the Product Team if you have ideas on how we can improve Ironclad. 

Honorable Mention: Everyone Else at Ironclad

Your success managers and legal engineers work on the front line of CLM success, but they don’t work alone. They’re supported by our entire team here at Ironclad—a broader collection of lawyers, engineers, designers, writers, strategists, technicians, musicians, athletes, comedians, moms, dads, gardeners, gamers, and chefs (not all in a professional capacity). 

Together, we’re always striving to make Ironclad the best possible product for handling business contracts. We learn everyday what works and what doesn’t work so we can incorporate and imbue that knowledge into the Ironclad platform, knowledge base, and the community at large.

The team at Ironclad has been such collaborative, amazing partners. They really listen to what our problems are and are so proactive in helping us solve these new challenges.

Anushree Bagrodia, Legal Operations, Mastercard

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