Strategies for Transforming Legal Functions with Mark Ross

Welcome back to another installment of Contract Heroes! In this episode, we had the pleasure of chatting with a Principal and Co-Leader of Legal Business Services at Deloitte, Mark Ross. Before joining Deloitte, Mark spent 13 years as an alternative legal services provider. His vast experience uniquely positions him to understand the complexities of contracting transformation for large enterprise clients. Now, Mark and his team at Deloitte are transforming the way legal departments operate and interact with technology to optimize their processes. 

Join us as we discuss Mark’s experiences and how he has helped large enterprises evolve, improve efficiency, and embrace the power of technology.

The Customer Journey at Deloitte

During his time at Deloitte, Mark has worked with a variety of large organizations, each with their own unique complexities when it comes to contracting. When helping Fortune 1000 companies, it’s essential to first take time to understand the intersections and interplay happening between the different stakeholders by bringing them to the table for discussion. Only when everyone is on the same base can you truly prioritize one of the most important aspects of any technology implementation: user adoption.

Mark explained that, in recent years, the functionality of CLM has come a long way. It’s catching up with the promises made in the earlier years of development. However, just because that functionality is finally there, that doesn’t mean people will actually want to use it. Before employees can be convinced to really adopt a new piece of technology, they’ll need to have the benefits of the software demonstrated to them. Otherwise, they might view the system as another frustrating task clogging up their workday.

Since Deloitte has such a global reach, Mark has been able to take advantage of multidisciplinary resources within Deloitte to tap into the institutional knowledge that informs business decisions in such large companies. His colleagues can provide insight into how employees might respond to different types of training so they can boost user adoption as much as possible. He mentioned that effective training and user adoption will demonstrate ROI far more efficiently than merely seeing that the technology can do what it promises to do.

Taking the Pre-Readiness Step

Something we talk about pretty frequently on the show is the concept of CLM readiness. Typically, CLM readiness involves preparing for a CLM implementation by first evaluating and renovating the contracting processes that are already in place in the organization. After all, automating ineffective processes won’t solve anything. It might even create more problems.

Mark believes that CLM readiness is absolutely necessary, but he also thinks that there is a “pre-readiness” step that should be taken even earlier. “A lot of organizations don’t take the pre-readiness step of understanding the mission or the problem statement they’re trying to solve,” he said. He then went on to name some common examples of problems that organizations face when it comes to contracting, including:

  • Legal becoming a bottleneck.
  • Having trouble locating documents.
  • Poor risk avoidance.
  • Slowed down revenue generation.

Once you have a clear understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve, you can then begin the CLM readiness phase by outlining current workflows, defining different positions, creating playbooks and template libraries, assessing your tech stack, condensing the various versions of a document into one standardized template, and much more. These actions form the foundation of CLM readiness, but they cannot be accurately evaluated until you know your mission.

How to Quantify CLM Success

This pre-readiness step of defining the problem is also key to quantifying the success of a CLM implementation. Mark named three examples of value quantifiers for corporate contracting that organizations can use to measure the benefits of having a CLM:

  • Process efficiencies. Executing contracts quicker on the buy and sell side leads to faster acquisition of necessary goods and services and revenue generation.
  • Lost contract value. On average, organizations lose 8.6% of contract value through ineffective contract management.
  • Savings from risk avoidance. Taking steps to ensure contract compliance could save the company from fronting massive costs for fines or litigation.

By tracking these metrics, companies can form a baseline of data that informs them about the direct value of their contracts. As you implement changes with the CLM software, you can continue to measure the most important metrics to figure out how effective the technology is at solving the most pressing problems in the organization.

Mark also recommended starting small and taking a phased approach to any technology implementation. Start with a business unit, a certain geography, or a select bucket of contract types. Celebrate the success and the small victories that occur within that group in order to gain internal champions who can then advocate for the value the technology has created by closing the right loopholes. “Trends that we see in automation initiatives are the MVP and multi-phased approach, demonstrating value at every stage of the journey,” he said.

Handling Large Company-wide Integrations

Integration is an undeniably difficult part of any technology implementation, especially across a large organization. It can be hard to coordinate and get everyone on the same page with what needs to happen in order for the integration to be successful. We wanted to tap into Mark’s experience frequently working with large organizations, so we asked him to tell us about some of the requirements he’s seen in big enterprises that need to integrate with other technologies.

Mark explained that every organization is very different, so there isn’t exactly a standard blueprint for integrations that will always work. But, the most simple or standard integrations usually occur during phase one of the implementation. These might include minor integrations like DocuSign. In the latter phases, you will see the more complex integrations take shape, including Oracle or procure-to pay systems.

Each organization will define when integrations need to take place according to their priorities and their most urgent ROIs. One organization may have found that a certain integration will help stop value leakage for them, so they want to make that integration a top priority as soon as possible. Others may not need a lot of integrations and view them as nice-to-haves rather than must-haves.

Mark rounded our discussions by cautioning against trying to “boil the ocean” at any stage of a CLM implementation. In the world of contracting, where everyone touches the document and no one truly owns it, everyone will have an opinion. Each stakeholder will have a different aspect of the technology that is the most important to them. 

That’s why it’s important to have a final arbiter who can make decisions about what to prioritize. It can be legal, procurement, sales, or anyone who has the most investment in the technology. Define the must-haves and the nice-to-haves in every phase so you can focus on what will have the most impact and where the business needs the most help.

For the latest updates on all things legal tech, be sure to stay tuned to the Contract Heroes Podcast!