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Apr 24, 2020

CLM in a Pandemic World: Rapid ROI for Business Continuity and Vitality (Part 1 of 3)


Business continuity is at the heart of every business’ disaster plan. During a time of crisis, whether caused by epidemics, natural disasters, or terrorist attacks, business trends show an increased focus by organizations to reduce spending in order to account for costly and risky external disruptions. These efforts often conclude that digitizing business processes can keep operations not only stable and running but poised for growth and vitality as well.

In this article, Mainspring is offering practical ideas and recommendations that can be undertaken with little to no additional investments, starting with contracts. Reviewing the included checklist below, focusing on assessing and enhancing contract lifecycle management (CLM) operations, can lead to an immediate return on investment (ROI). 

All of these operational activities, centered around improving the manner in which contracts are negotiated, executed and monitored, can begin with low investment activities while keeping the future state in mind. Mainspring calls this the future state, Maximum Return on Contracts™. The goal is to ultimately achieve maximum CLM value in the intersections of three key CLM building blocks: CLM Implementation and Integration; Contracts AI; and Contracts Analytics. 

To evolve to this future state, Mainspring firmly believes that the key to success hinges on user adoption by addressing all dimensions of the Business Transformation Model, which leads from the current state to the longer-lasting adoption of the future state.

Our checklist below outlines activities that can be accomplished with limited or no monetary investment, yet they contain potential for immediate ROI. This list focuses on enhancing your current CLM operations for immediate implementation to improve business continuity.

Invigoration of CLM processes.

This is a highly useful activity for streamlining and strengthening the contracting process.

Can you confidently answer “Yes” to the following? If not, complete these missing puzzle pieces.

  • We have refined or defined the company’s CLM policy to understand its maturity.
  • We have adopted a governance model that fosters greater user adoption of the current and future CLM model.
  • We have documented the pain points within the process that are labor-intensive, duplicative, or can be automated. 
  • We have researched available tools in the market that may be able to automate these tasks when budget becomes available.

Activation and enhancement of CLM Functionality.

This is a helpful exercise whether CLM functionality already exists or has never been implemented.

If a CLM exists, can you confidently answer “Yes” to the following? If not, check these off your list.

  • We have assessed the CLM’s state and turned on new functionality.
  • We have enhanced existing functionality for user adoption.
  • We have prioritized missing CLM functionality to seek and consider deploying based on current resources.

If no CLM exists, can you confidently answer “Yes” to the following? If not, here is a good starting point.

  • We are taking full advantage of existing functionalities.
  • We have assessed advanced SharePoint functionality (or other internal systems such as Box, Salesforce, ServiceNow, etc.).
  • We have implemented rationalized templates within Microsoft Word mail to merge or form capabilities.
  • Document and simplify approval matrices.

Organization and digitization of documents and contracts.

Develop a plan to organize documents, starting with contracts. This process will maximize the impact of AI on large volumes of contracts. Digitize if resources are available.

Can you confidently answer “Yes” to the following? If not, here is a list of useful tasks.

  • We have scan- and OCR-enabled active agreements that are currently stored in folders and cabinets.
  • We have centralized documents into a single repository (whether a system or a network).
  • We have collected basic metadata across agreements to help find and/or locate contracts.

Access to other CLM solutions and capabilities.

If key CLM functionality is missing or the current CLM solution is not adequate, consider approaching external CLM best-of-breed suppliers and consultancies for alternate ways for access, implementation and financial arrangements.

Can you confidently answer “Yes” to the following? If not, here is a list of considerations.

  • We have inquired about free or low-cost proof of concepts (POCs). A POC is a useful, low-cost way to implement functionality for a period of time before you need to commit.
  • We have negotiated delayed invoice payments with a CLM provider.
  • We are considering a potential joint investment with a CLM provider.

Rationalization of contract templates.

Another helpful exercise is the reviewing and simplifying of contract templates. This activity will cut work effort and costs for implementation and operational support.

Can you confidently answer “Yes” to the following? If not, here is a good starting point.

  • We have rationalized and deconstructed templates.
  • We have minimized the number of templates to improve operational effectiveness without compromising risk. 

Identify or implement e-signature licenses.

It is important to understand the accessibility of internal tools, such as e-signature capabilities, within your organization.

Can you confidently answer “Yes” to the following? If not, here is a list of useful to-dos.

  • We have identified open e-signature licenses that can be used to reduce cycle times in signatures.
  • We do not own an e-signature license but do have research options and usability.
  • We are including an e-signature functionality to modernize our process and  increase usability within day to day operations.

This checklist outlines several activities that can help with immediate ROI and they are not resource intensive. Keep in mind that they will not replace full optimization CLM processes and functionalities. However, all these activities are always part of a complete CLM diagnostic and consequent implementation. They can help cut costs, assess current state and outline a future state of the organization’s CLM.

Mainspring is here to help point you in the right direction with any of these activities. We can provide sample templates, blueprints, or starting points, please reach out to Mauro Caputi ( or James Misterman ( for guidance on how to proceed.     

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