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Onit

Dec 29, 2020

The General Counsel’s Guide to AI Based Contract Management

Essential Steps to Establish a Single Point of Truth

Contracts are the lifeblood of most businesses, yet too many companies lack a comprehensive and effective solution for contract lifecycle management (CLM). Legal departments looking to digitize their contracts will find the most success with a platform technology strategy that avoids creating data silos and serves as a single point of truth for all contract data. Increasingly, most enterprise businesses are looking to AI-based contract automation to help them set up automated legal contract management processes.

Prosus, a global consumer internet company and one of the largest technology investors in the world, recently implemented a new CLM system from Onit with the help of Cognia Law, an international company that helps law departments and law firms find cost-effective, process-optimized, and technology-enabled solutions. Steven Van Oss, Group Sr. Legal Council at Prosus and Tyson Ballard, Head of Legal Consulting at Cognia, recently spoke with Onit to share valuable insights on choosing and implementing the right legal AI and CLM system.

General Counsel Seeks Contract Lifecycle Management

Like many companies, Prosus initially had some technology in place for contract management, but for the most part those solutions relied on legal staff to know how everything operated. At a certain level, such an approach becomes infeasible, as employees leave or the business grows.

Other solutions proved ineffective as pain points developed after implementation. A lack of continued buy-in from colleagues in other departments quickly saw the company back at square one. They had to define their legal automation and contract management needs. They needed a solution that was easy to understand and would allow them to gain insights from the large amount of contract data they had.

The answer was to partner with Cognia to workshop a strategy for legal operations, and it immediately became clear that the legal contract management process was a major pain point. Prosus needed to get a single source of truth for contracts while standardizing processes at the same time. Cognia’s job was to help Prosus navigate the vast jungle of legal tech that exists on the market today to find the right AI-based contract management tool.

Choosing the Right AI-Based Contract Management Tool

It’s critical to understand your people and the legal contract management processes before choosing your technology. You can have the best tool on the market, but if no one actually uses it, it’s essentially worthless.

Prosus had scoured the market and gotten lost in the legal tech jungle. Cognia helped them identify their needs, creating a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves, then guided Prosus through the possibilities and potential solutions.

The right AI-based contract management tool will provide the basic foundations of contract management every legal department needs – a good repository for searching and finding contracts, the ability to import and harness data to help with decision-making and understanding risk, and the ability to generate workflows. Too many solutions focus on a lot of bells and whistles, rather than providing the necessary base functionality for CLM.

Integrations were essential to the general counsel at Prosus. While the company initially focused on their need for CLM, they quickly realized that they needed to manage their vendor compliance efforts as well. The best place to capture vendor data is in your CLM tool, since it serves as a single source of truth for that data. Prosus needed its CLM solution to integrate with ethiXbase, it’s preferred third-party compliance screening tool.

In the end, Prosus got not only its must-haves, but its nice-to-haves, too, with contract lifecycle management from Onit.

Advice for General Counsel Implementing AI-Based Contract Automation

Choosing the right CLM solution isn’t the end of the story – in reality, you’re really only halfway to the contract management goal at that point. Implementing that solution always comes with a few hurdles.

  • The first is timing. Implementation of your AI-based contract automation will almost always take longer than you think it will, since it relies on a large number of internal and external resources to complete. Add more time to your expectations. In other words, hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
  • You should also be prepared to take a deep dive into all your legal contract management processes. Even day-to-day processes that may seem simple to you require an extreme level of detail to implement into your CLM tool. Chances are you’ll be thinking about the processes at a level you never even considered before.
  • Finally, it can be hard to maintain the excitement you had when you first choose your AI-based contract management solution. Throughout the implementation process, it’s important to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing and stick with it. By keeping to a simple implementation approach, you’ll end up with both your must-haves and your nice-to-haves.

The right contract management solution can change everything for general counsel. Visit here to hear the entire discussion between Prosus, Cognia and Onit on creating a single point of truth for your legal contracts.

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