Blog Post

What Top Gun can teach you about contract management, part 2

October 16, 2018

Speed isn’t everything, says Rico Burnett, Exigent’s Global Head of Legal Services and Solutions as he looks at lessons the 80s classic can teach us about Contract Lifecycle Management

While chatting about Contract Management best practice during a recent webinar with the IACCM, I remembered a famous scene in Top Gun: Tom Cruise racing against an F14 Tomcat fighter plane on a Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle. These days CLM feels a bit like that: buying the fastest, most powerful motorcycle on the planet to run a race on a completely different scale, against a machine capable of breaking the sound barrier! Today we have the tools, the means and ability to build fighter planes and produce value, but we are often constrained and stuck with wanting to design motorcycles when we are in the era of fighter planes.

‘I feel the need…the need for speed’

Technology has become central to CLM – and quite rightly so. It has proven powerful in giving organizations the tools to automate, speed up processes and bring down costs. The challenge is that businesses have been stuck on the tarmac for a long time, failing to see that technology has now advanced to include artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and so much more than just churning out contracts faster. It is rumored that Top Gun 2 (scheduled for release in 2019) will explore a world of drone technology and fifth-generation fighters, so contract management needs to get a sequel too.

The big question about legal technology is often: “Where do I start?”. The perception is that you need a jet fighter, even if you don’t know your pitch from your yaw. You barely have a contract repository, how are you going to implement AI? The best way to start is by thinking about impact, get leadership buy-in and work on ROI metrics that make sense for your department and organization.

Lesson 2: Get on with business technology

Top Guns get to fly state-of-the-art planes, so if your contracts are your elite pilots, they should also use the latest technology to deliver on their potential. Investment can be steep, but over the last decade barriers have been reducing and ROI is set to become bigger and bigger. The key is to identify what it is that you want to know from your contracts, starting from a small project that can deliver early results. Using the wrong technology will get you to the wrong place much quicker. Remember: data must be organized effectively, it’s not just about having the data available and visible to you.

For an example of how one of Exigent’s clients has used contract management technology to improve asset utilization by 20% download our latest webinar recording here.

An early quick win will allow you to demonstrate ROI on a bigger scale, win the Board over and start to deploy the technology your contracts need to deliver value to the whole organization. It might help to stop pigeonholing CLM into the legal technology space: it’s about business results, so let’s start calling it business technology. View Lesson 1 or move on to the next lesson.

In charge of Exigent’s legal solutions team, Rico Burnett supports a dynamic environment in which we deliver innovative yet practical solutions to our client’s challenges. As Exigent’s Director, Global Client Innovation,  Rico is an advocate for best practice in Contract Management and believes all departments can achieve it, even lawyers (he’s a lawyer himself!)

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