Implementing a Contract Lifecycle Management System Is Like Building a House Part 2

Implementing a Contract Lifecycle Management System
Is Like Building a House

Part 2: Finishes versus Design Specifications

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at the parallels between building a house and building a Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) system and the determination of what your organization’s major design requirements are for your ‘to-be’ system.
In this part, we further subdivide these major design requirements of your Contract Management System into the Design Specifications into how your process needs to operate and how your users will interact with the delivered product.


The blueprint in our house analogy is primarily focused on the build: what are the size of the rooms, where are the doors, the general requirements of mechanical services, etc. However, the blueprint does not typically detail what are the finishes that will be included in the final build. So the future homeowner and the builder will collaborate to define the specific models and dimensions for items such as cabinets, countertops, plumbing and electrical fixtures, floor coverings, colors, etc. and these will be documented in a Schedule or similar document.
With a Contract Lifecycle Management system you need to further specify your requirements to include items such as the following:



Define the key types of contracts that are to be managed by the Contract Management System. • What are the types of contracts that need to be better managed? This might include sales agreements, procurement agreements, non-monetary agreements, Intellectual Property, etc.
• Do you want to pilot your implementation by using a selective group of contract types?
Define what the data elements you need to effectively articulate the key terms of the contracts • It is quite common for different contract types to have a base set of attributes (i.e. who are the parties, dates, location, etc.). However, there may be terms that are unique to a contract type that you may want to record and track. Culling this information can provide a much higher level of visibility to the key attributes and obligations contained within the Contract Management System. .
Define what document management containers are needed in your Contract Lifecycle Management System. • What level of version history to the T&C’s do you need to maintain in the CLM system?
• What are the supplemental documents, files, artifacts, and/or emails that you typically expect for a contract?
• Do you need to organize this supplemental information into unique folders to better organize and control them?
Define specific business rules the CLM needs to administer for the review and approval process. • Who needs to review a contract and in what order does this occur?
• At what point do higher value contracts need additional levels of approval?
• Can lower risk contracts be self-service driven?
Quantify what performance measures, commitments, or obligations that need to be managed. • What user roles do you envision the Contract Management System should have to help manage what users can see and what they can add, change, or delete?
• Are there certain types of contracts or certain data on contracts that need to be restricted to specific users or roles?
Scope your high-level reporting requirements • What data needs to be assembled and delivered to various stakeholders?
• What common data needs to be available to users via pre-built dashboards?

These items should be documented and vetted by all affected parts of the organization and prioritized. Once there is agreement on what to include in the implementation, and any potential phases of implementation, the CLM vendor can present these design components in a Schedule. The Schedule can go by many names (Statement of Work, Business Area Analysis, Task Order, etc.) but it is the collection of business planning and technical requirements needed to properly define the design and operating specifications. An inherent part of this Schedule is a detailed Project Plan (who is doing what and when).

COMING UP IN PART 3 OF THIS SERIES: Bringing it all together so that we can ‘move-in’ to our new way of life.

Dan Townsend, Director, Symfact

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