Implementing CLM software can be a long, arduous process full of unexpected pitfalls. In this post, we will briefly go over 7 of the most common CLM implementation roadblocks you might encounter on your journey to better contracts and offer up some potential solutions to conquer them.
1. Lack of Clear Objectives
The first of the common CLM implementation roadblocks is not defining clear objectives and requirements before implementing a CLM system. Without a clear understanding of what the organization wants to achieve with the solution, it becomes difficult to choose the correct software and configure it effectively. You may end up going with a tool that is far too expensive without even meeting your team’s basic contract needs.
Solution: Before meeting with vendors, sit down with your contract stakeholders to hammer out a list of goals for the solution and any necessary features you believe you need in order to accomplish those goals. Prioritize your need-to-have features over any want-to-have features.
2. Insufficient Stakeholder Involvement
Failure to involve all relevant stakeholders in the CLM implementation process can lead to resistance, lack of adoption, and ultimately, project failure. It is important to engage key stakeholders such as legal teams, procurement, sales, and finance departments to ensure their needs are addressed and they understand the benefits of the CLM system.
Solution: Have separate discussions with each group of stakeholders and write down their expectations for the tool, the goals they would like to accomplish using the tool, and any features they either need or want to have. Make sure all voices are heard and all needs are prioritized to avoid future conflicts.
3. Poor Data Quality and Management
CLM systems heavily rely on accurate and up-to-date contract data. Inadequate data quality, inconsistent formatting, and incomplete information can lead to errors, inefficiencies, and legal risks. Organizations should invest time and effort in data cleansing, standardization, and ongoing data management practices to maintain the integrity and usability of contract data.
Solution: Start by focusing on just a few pieces of data. Select the data points that will bring in the most value or help you learn the most about your contract processes. Once you understand how to manage those data sets, you may be able to begin looking at more.
4. Overcomplicating the Process
Implementing a CLM system does not mean making the contract management process overly complex. If anything, you should aim to simplify your existing contract processes as much as possible. Some organizations tend to over-engineer their processes, adding unnecessary steps, complicating workflows, and dragging out revenue cycle time. This can lead to user frustration, reduced adoption, and decreased efficiency. Automation should make everything simpler, not more complicated.
Solution: Take a hard look at your contract processes. Where are you losing the most time during the cycle? Are there any unnecessary steps? Invest time in renovating your entire contract cycle before investing in technology as a band-aid solution.
5. Insufficient Training and Change Management
A lack of proper training and change management efforts can hinder user adoption of the CLM system. Users may resist change or struggle to adapt to new processes and technologies. It is essential to provide comprehensive training, communicate the benefits of the system, and address any concerns or challenges users may have during the implementation.
Solution: Set up a point of contact who is an expert on the system. All employees should be able to reach that team member when they have questions or need troubleshooting. Hold frequent training sessions as well to give people plenty of time to learn the system without feeling rushed or overwhelmed when it goes live.
6. Inadequate Integration With Other Systems
CLM systems often need to integrate with other enterprise systems such as CRM, ERP, or document management platforms. Failing to plan and execute integrations properly can result in data silos, duplicate data entry, and limited visibility across systems. Organizations should carefully consider integration requirements and work closely with IT teams or vendors to ensure seamless data flow between systems.
Solution: Work with all contract stakeholders to locate all necessary integration requirements. Once you have your list, bring it with you as you meet with vendors to discuss whether or not their solutions can integrate with your existing enterprise systems. Many vendors will be willing to work with you even if their system doesn’t currently support the platform in question, so don’t be afraid to ask!
7. Lack of Ongoing Maintenance and Governance
CLM implementation is not a one-time event. Rather, it is an ongoing process. Without proper maintenance, regular updates, and governance practices, the system can become outdated, less effective, and vulnerable to security risks. It’s important to establish governance policies, assign ownership of data and processes, and allocate resources for system maintenance and continuous improvement.
Solution: In our experience, many companies have found it useful to dedicate a role or an entire team to looking after the CLM tool. People in these positions may manage data, perform updates, troubleshoot with other employees, make changes to coding, and much more. It is a worthwhile investment to keep the system functioning at its maximum potential.
By being aware of these common CLM implementation roadblocks, organizations can better plan and execute their implementation, leading to successful adoption and improved contract management processes.