Contract Lifecycle Management—Some Preliminary Thoughts

My interest in contract language is largely a function of my interest in process. In particular, readers of this blog will be familiar with my interest in document assembly.

An industry has built up around helping companies manage all aspects of the contract process; the discipline is referred to as “contract lifecycle management,” or CLM. (As a business catchphrase, it’s less objectionable than many.) On looking into CLM, I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t make sense to consider drafting in isolation from other parts of the contract process. For example, the more ambitious CLM solutions include document-assembly tools.

What is CLM? It refers to any information-technology tool that seeks to rectify inefficiencies in the contract process. Consider the following list from a 2003 PricewaterhouseCoopers report on CLM:

Ten Risks Inherent to Bad Contract Management:

  1. Contracts lacking critical terms
  2. Loss of contract files/documents
  3. Missing contractual deadlines and commitments
  4. Your customers undercharged
  5. Your vendors overcharging
  6. Time and productivity inefficiency
  7. Uncontrolled impact of external events and new regulations
  8. Competitive disadvantage
  9. Compromised customer loyalty
  10. Loss of key knowledge when key employees leave

CLM solutions attempt to address some or all of the above problems, and they come in all sorts of flavors.

I’m not about to offer myself as a CLM expert. But I will occasionally be dipping into CLM, and I thought that readers of this blog might want to tag along. Today I’m posting my first such offering, a Q&A with Ashif Mawji, president of Upside Software Inc., supplier of a leading CLM solution.

If you’d like me to look into any particular aspect of CLM, let me know.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.