Data Is King: Contract Heroes With The Intel Team

In this exciting episode of Contract Heroes, we had the opportunity to speak with 3 amazing guests from the Intel CLM team: Gerald Wright (Senior Manager of Contract Solutions), Donovan Bell (Director of Information and Contract Experience, Global Legal Operations), and Kuan Yu Liu (IT Product Owner). 

After a failed CLM implementation, the Intel team built off what they learned to successfully implement a new CLM tool. They shared with us their story of combining a mindset driven by clean data with creative collaboration between the legal, business, and IT departments to craft an adaptable solution that will continue to grow with the company as it expands and changes.

The Role of Clean Data in CLM Implementation

Donovan kicked us off by summarizing Intel’s approach to contracts with a great quote: “In a world where a lot of challenges are being driven on a point by point basis, falling prey to the tyranny of the urgent…Having a firm foundation of understanding what our data is and making a data-centric approach towards how we solve our challenges when it comes to contracts is of utmost importance.”

According to the team, data is king when making business decisions. The data locked inside contracts can tell a story that determines where the business goes. However, you can’t access that data if it’s not clean and organized. Gerald added that one of the mistakes they made in their first failed implementation was to move all their contracts into a CLM without any sense of organization. After all, the metrics you obtain from a CLM will only be as good as your data is clean, so you have to take those steps to organize the data first.

And the process doesn’t end there. Once you have clean data, you have to make sure you have the resources, people, and processes in place to keep that data organized. It’s not a one-time event, but rather an ongoing effort to maintain the integrity and reliability of the metrics coming from the CLM tool.

Where to Start Importing Data and Contracts

We asked the Intel team how they went about prioritizing different types of data and contracts during the foundational stages of their implementation. Gerald explained that they had a minimal amount of information at the start because they didn’t have a CLM tool yet. Instead, they had a more traditional document management system. 

So, they started bringing in groups of attorneys to analyze the metadata they did have and figure out what was missing and what types of data would be useful to them going forward. By pulling from Intel’s 50 years of data, they were quickly able to identify trends and build from there.

Donovan added that, although they didn’t necessarily focus on certain types of contracts at first, they did prioritize information that would give them enough flexibility to support various types of contracts as they came in, thus generating speed and efficiency for the business as a whole.

Designing a Data-Driven Repository

To find out where the data in question actually comes from, we turned to Kuan who told us that the contract repository acts as the container for the data and insights that drive decision-making. Designing that repository was a two-part process that involved first understanding the historical data and the limitations of it before looking to the future to figure out the objective and the goals they wanted to achieve. The aim was to make sure the design met the business’s current needs and that it was scalable enough to satisfy future growth.

Collaboration Between Business and IT

The close partnership between IT and the business partners really comes into play when discussing the creation of this data-driven repository. Gerald had mentioned that not partnering with IT is part of what led their first CLM implementation to fail. Kuan reinforced the importance of the partnership the second time around, explaining that the repository needed rules shaped by the business side in order to clean up the data and maintain its continued integrity.

“It is not just the implementation of a tool…The business process is actually the foundation,” she said. “If the business process is not solid, if the business process is not efficient, and you just try to use a tool to mimic a broken business process, it’s not going to give you efficiency.”

Kuan also mentioned that they focused a lot on identifying the MVP. That way, they could open up the systems for end users and start collecting data, even if the tool had limited functionality. This emphasis on “progress over perfection” would allow them to get the tool into the hands of users more quickly and roll out different functionalities in upcoming future phases. Gerald highlighted that the partnership with IT is extremely important for determining the MVP and what is feasible during each stage of the implementation.

The team spoke to the value of collaborations with outside partners and executive sponsorship as well. Donovan pointed out that vendors, implementers, and consultants bring industry experience to the table that those inside the company may not have. Gerald chimed in to add that, without executive sponsorship, encouraging adoption of the tool would have been much harder, especially with the past failure of their first CLM implementation.

Next Steps for Intel’s CLM

So, what’s on the horizon for Intel’s CLM team? After all, they did tease some upcoming phases and functionalities throughout the episode. According to Gerald, having such a flexible and adaptable CLM tool is somewhat of a double-edged sword because of the urge to do everything at once. But, they’re taking the time to prioritize certain functions based on the feedback received from users. He did mention, though, that he’s particularly excited about the future of AI components for their CLM.

Donovan also emphasized the “test and learn approach,” mentioning that they would continue to work towards discovering how they could bring the greatest amount of value to Intel. By honing in on what’s paramount to the company, they can prepare to pivot quickly and align with where the current business strategy is headed.

Kuan is looking forward to integrating the CLM with the rest of Intel. She shared that they have plans to streamline their data flow not only within the CLM, but also across the entire company. For example, integrating with customer data may be in the cards soon. It all depends on prioritizing the most critical data domains to create an interconnected network that acts as a singular source of truth for data reporting.

It was a pleasure to have the Intel team on Contract Heroes to talk about their journey towards successful CLM implementation in an organization as large and impactful as Intel. If you want to learn more about their story, feel free to connect with Kuan, Donovan, and Gerald on LinkedIn and check out Intel’s website. To listen to the full episode of Contract Heroes, click here.