Despite an abundance of contract automation software, adoption rates are non-existent
Legal contract automation isn’t new: LegalTech and contract automation solutions have gained a lot of attention in recent years, but many tools have already existed for decades.
Despite of the amount of contract automation solutions available, the adoption rate is still very low. The reason? According to Gartner’s 4 legal tech trends for 20201, “a large delta exists in legal departments between those who have knowledge on legal matters and workflows and those who understand technology.” In short: The issue is not the lack of LegalTech, the issue is the lack of know-how on how to effectively use it.
In this post, we outline the typical issues with the implementation of contract automation software in companies and how to do it better with LEXR Bridge.
Current contract automation projects often fail in practice
In our discussions with inhouse legal departments across industries, we have observed three key challenges with current contract automation projects.
- Complexity limits: Software is standardized for scalability and usage by non-tech savvy users: When building software, there is a tendency to opt for standardization to allow for scalability which, on the flipside, reduces the ability to customize for specific customer needs. Also, the interface is usually simplified to cater for non tech-savvy users such as legal professionals. Legal processes are, however, not only complex but also very company-specific and require a lot of customization in order to truly reflect the complexity of the individual case. External data sources (such as sales software and contract management tools) as well as the approval processes and the contractual documents vary widely and the contract automation software can rarely cover the process end-to-end.
- Change management: The transition to a contract automation tool takes a lot of time and requires tech and legal know-how: Contract automation software generally comes with tech support and sometimes even with limited legal support. However, the largest task, i.e., transferring data form legacy systems, adjusting workflows and embedding the tool in the existing environment, still needs to be done by the inhouse legal department. Also, all the involved functions, be it sales, procurement or finance, have to be properly onboarded and trained to ensure proper usage of the tool. As the legal department rarely has enough time and companies often lack the coordinated effort to adopt the tool, many projects fail before they ever really get started.
- No ongoing maintenance: Processes evolve and contracts change, and a continuous effort is required to ensure the contract automation tool evolves with it:In successful implementation projects, there is usually a very dedicated individual in the legal team with sufficient tech know-how that drives the entire process from purchase decision to implementation and change management. These individuals have the know-how and take the time to continuously improve the processes and keep the contracts up to date. However, once these individuals leave the company, it is only a matter of time until the tool is outdated, and the team slowly falls back into manual processes.
Automate legal processes with a managed solution that bridges the legal and technology gap
Long overdue, it was about time to bridge the gap between legal expertise and tech know-how for inhouse legal departments. We now offer our end-to-end managed contract automation solution – LEXR Bridge!
LEXR Bridge combines powerful contract automation with expert legal know-how. Built on tested and reliable software, LEXR Bridge adapts both to the operational and technology needs of businesses. LEXR handles the strategic planning, implementation of the software, accompanies the companywide rollout and training, and finally ensures the maintenance from both the legal and the tech side.
Customization, end-to-end implementation, training & change management
With our team’s unique ability to deliver contract automation solutions from the planning stage through the implementation to the ongoing maintenance, we bridge the gap between tech & legal know-how. On top, we address the current challenges we see in the market:
- Customization: We can build integrations to almost any application and databases and tailor each contract automation project to specific customer needs, regardless of legal complexity and current processes.
- We take care of the full project implementation: Our dedicated team of legal process engineers does not only take care of individual aspects of contract automation, but also of the project implementation. We understand how to onboard all functions for a specific project and there is no need for your inhouse legal department to learn to code.
- Ongoing support: As a managed service, the LEXR team ensures the contract automation grows and evolves with your business. There is no dependency on a single employee, and we cover the tech as well as the legal maintenance of the tool.
Conclusion & Outlook
In order to close the legal expertise and technological know-how gap, business leaders will either have to hire and develop specific internal roles, or outsource their contract automation to providers such as LEXR, which ensure full coverage with managed services like LEXR Bridge.
Stay tuned! We will continue to blog about legal technology trends, what traps to avoid with current legal software, how to start your first automation project, and how success with contract automation looks like based on real-life references.