It’s a question I get asked frequently. “How do I get started with CLM?”
Knowing how to get to a goal is not easy, especially when it’s in an area where you are not an expert, like tech. I know how this feels. When I was starting my very first CLM project, I knew where I wanted to get to, but I had no idea how to get there.
In my next few articles, I will walk you through the broad stages of implementing a CLM system: working out what you need, making the business case, selecting the tech, planning and designing the solution, implementation, training, and rollout.
Every step of that process is crucial. You can deliver a near-perfect system that no one uses because you have failed to run proper training. Or you can end up with a solution that only covers the needs of 50% of your user base because you haven’t properly scoped out the requirements. Expert advice can help you avoid the pitfalls.
DECIDE YOUR END GOAL AND WORK BACKWARDS
A CLM implementation is like any other change project. The first step is to set your “North Star”: what you are trying to achieve. And be specific. You need to drill down into the detail of what your goal looks like, then work backwards to plan how you are going to get there.
It’s also important to get buy-in for your vision from the top down. If you are a GC or Legal Ops Director, that means engaging your executive team on the success criteria, including the projected return on investment. Make sure they are publicly supportive of your vision, too, and are prepared to hold your stakeholders accountable. If you are a less senior team member who wants to implement CLM, try sitting down with your GC or Legal Ops Director to explain what it could do for the function and the business.
HOW DOES HAVING A NORTH STAR HELP?
When you are distracted by new requests during the implementation process (which will happen), you can point to the North Star everyone has bought into. It’s a lot easier to keep the ship on course if everyone is working towards the same goal rather than their own personal agendas.
It will also help you avoid scope drift, which inevitably leads to a project not being delivered on time or within budget. Failing to deliver your projected ROI will also make it harder to secure the ongoing investment needed to make the project a long-term success.
So, start with your North Star, and let it drive strategy. Then make sure you realise all of the different elements the project needs to be successful (making the business case, selecting the tech, planning and designing the solution, implementation, training, and rollout). It’s not just: “Let’s buy a tool, implement it and that will solve the problem.” It’s all the extra steps along the way.
Coming next: how to make the business case for CLM. If you have a question before then, get in touch.