Managing Contracts through the New Normal

July 24, 2020 Abby Melling

In my role as account manager and sales executive, a question many have asked is: what’s the best approach for managing contracts when everyone is working from home, and will continue to work from home, for the foreseeable future? This could be a legal contract manager with 3,000 contracts to manage, or a purchasing director who is responsible for tens of thousands of contracts.

My answer is always the same: A technology-driven approach is required to manage the volume and complexity of contracts and this approach is absolutely critical when so many of us are working remotely.

At Conduent, we offer a state-of-the-art Contract Analytics solution that simplifies effective and efficient management of contracts. Our solution saves organizations money in day-to-day contract management, is highly configurable and easy to use. It also helps organizations build a comprehensive and searchable database of terms extracted and derived from contracts, providing business intelligence to guide strategy and drive savings.

Most timely and critical is the fact that our solution may be accessed remotely and securely to support the new work-from-home norm.

Powered by AI and machine learning

Conduent’s Contract Analytics (CA) solution is a cloud-based AI and machine learning solution that automatically extracts key contractual terms, phrases, clauses (including rights and obligations). For example, the right to terminate a contract for cause based upon the other party’s invoking the force majeure clause to excuse performance.

Users can easily search for contracts or specific contract elements in the database. This database also becomes the organization’s “golden” source of contract data and provides three levels of analysis.

  1. Analytics on extracted contract data help our clients identify cost reduction and risk mitigation opportunities in their contracts.
  2. Extracted contract data may be integrated with other data (such as data from a CRM, CLM, and a procurement or spend management tool) to analyze and optimize cross-functional business processes and identify additional cost-reduction strategies.
  3. Advanced (or predictive) analytics provide strategic business intelligence on the integrated data and can identify future cost savings opportunities. In addition, automating workflows significantly increases users’ productivity, thereby allowing companies to shift resources to more critical tasks.

Conduent’s Contract Analytics solution is highly configurable and designed to address specific bespoke requirements. In addition to pre-trained extraction models for many contract elements, such as contract terms, payment terms, termination rights and choice of law, we can extract any term, clause or right and obligation. For example, we can extract the entire force majeure clause from a contract.  And then we can also identify whether the force majeure clause contains an epidemic/pandemic “trigger,” whether a party invoking the force majeure provision has a mitigation obligation, and whether the other party has the right to terminate the contract for cause if force majeure is invoked.

What makes Conduent’s Contract Analytics solution unique?

Our solution offers some differentiated, critical features including:

  • The clause management feature enables risk assessment of clauses, rights and obligations, which incorporates workflow to identify preferred and non-approved versions of clauses. In addition, using approved clauses to draft a new contract ensures that the new contract complies with the organization’s legal, business and risk compliance programs. This eliminates a level of review in the contract creation phase, and reduces the contract creation timeline.
  • Real-world contractual relationships are often based on multiple related documents, such as a contract and an amendment. Our Operative Data feature links related documents to provide transparency into the legally “operative” data contained in the related documents. Take the example of two documents, a contract and an amendment. With the knowledge that these two documents are related, we can extract information from both documents, and then link the documents together so that the user can see the legally “operative” data – such as the amended price term in a sales contract. The legally operative data is then automatically fed into downstream business processes to provide secondary levels of automation, efficiency and optimization.
  • By integrating the extracted contract data with other data, including operational data, such as SLA compliance data, CRMs, and procurement/spend platforms, we optimize cross-functional business processes, and address bespoke issues.
  • We’re also differentiated by our people and consultative approach. We provide a solution – including training documents to ensure you can focus on the outcomes.  And this can all be accomplished remotely.
     

How can contract analytics benefit legal, procurement, finance and accounting teams right now?

Contract Analytics can help legal department users mitigate risk, identify and proactively resolve costly compliance issues, and identify opportunities for risk transfer strategies. Legal teams can also optimize the contract renewal and renegotiation processes.

Procurement and business unit users can reduce or eliminate contract leakage while improving supplier performance. They can also assess risk and opportunities at a portfolio level.

Finance and accounting users can improve audit review, uncover areas of risk, and reduce revenue and margin leakage. This is vital because the sheer number and variability of supplier contracts can make it difficult to know whether agreed upon terms are being met.

Those are just a few examples of how companies can effectively coordinate contract management efforts to accomplish positive business outcomes regardless of their physical location. For any contract manager, regardless of industry, our Contract Analytics solution helps our clients locate, analyze, and act faster to ensure contracts are thorough, effective and that all third parties are performing and invoicing in compliance with negotiated agreements.

To learn how Conduent can help you navigate the contract management process while working from anywhere, check out our website or call 1-844-ONE-CNDT.

About the Author

Abby Melling is Director, Legal eDiscovery & Compliance for Conduent Legal and Compliance Solutions.

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