While 2021 marked another year of uncertainty due to the pandemic, the circumstances of this year have fostered incredible growth and innovation in many industrial sectors, especially enterprise technology. Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) is a critical back-end process that has provided tremendous value to businesses throughout the pandemic.

Business Technology Predictions 2022

Eric Laughlin, CEO, and Colin Earl, Founder and CTO of Agiloft share their 2022 enterprise technology forecast on conversational AI, the rise of ContractOps and more. Eric Laughlin, CEO of Agiloft:

1) CLM further consolidates its place in the top five most critical business software functions

In 2022, Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) will consolidate its place in the enterprise technology stack as one of five key enterprise software functions alongside customer relationship management (CRM). , enterprise resource planning (ERP), purchasing and human capital management (HCM). Five years ago, CLM was seen as an ancillary function, but not fundamental to business operations. Fast forward to today, it is widely used across all businesses and has become essential as the pandemic and remote working accelerated digital initiatives.

With the CLM market evolving rapidly, it is time to rethink companies’ contractual approaches. Historically, organizations have relied on contracts only as a defensive shield, relegated to dead-end digital representations of paper. That’s no longer the case – contract data is a digital asset that serves as the DNA of business relationships, which companies can analyze and leverage across the enterprise. CLM also helps to protect the company from a financial point of view. If CLM software is outdated or misconfigured, it can cost businesses an average of 9% in annual revenue. This revenue drain is caused by missed contractual deadlines, late renewals, compliance fines, etc. As a result, CLM is now just as important to a company’s bottom line as managing customer relationships and sales.

2) In 2022, the war for talents will give birth to the “ContractOps” career field

In 2021, we saw many consulting firms struggling to find and retain top talent with experience in contract lifecycle management (CLM) processes, as well as CLM clients trying to hire admins. interns to run their contract management software. Due to growing demand, 2022 will see the rise of “ContractOps” and the start of a war for talents to secure their services. As CLM emerges as a critical function for the business, a new generation of internal professionals will be needed to manage the processes and technology used to manage contracts, as LegalOps teams will focus on expense management, maximization productivity and rationalization. legal processes.

As a result, ContractOps professionals will be in high demand, with consulting firms, technology providers, and legal advisors vying for the best and brightest talent with the right experience. ContractOps will also contribute to the continued growth of the code-free CLM platforms, as it allows a person to perform updates to the CLM platforms without having to hire software developers to add new processes. writing a new code.

3) For the future of enterprise software, connected experiences are essential

In 2022, enterprise software will go beyond simple integrations between applications and evolve into more holistic connected experiences. These “connected experiences” take traditional integrations a step further with additional functionality and increased flexibility. For example, Agiloft CLM customers can interact with their contract data and approval workflows while staying in Microsoft Teams or Salesforce. This new level of connectivity will be critical as it connects siled data and workflows across the enterprise, enables better collaboration between applications, and brings more value to teams from the applications they use every day.

4) In the highly competitive market, the benchmark-centric CLM is not enough

Looking at the current landscape of the CLM market, there are now a ton of different players out there and many of their offerings are essentially contract repositories with contract management software layered on top. This simplified approach may work for a small business, but for a larger business, one contract repository system is simply not enough to handle hundreds of thousands of unique contracts and associated workflows.

That said, we are seeing CLM vendors that only offer basic workflows securing massive venture capital investments and new competitors in that space are appearing left and right. As a result, in 2022 there will be bankrupt companies in this market segment as there are so many competitors offering the same limited contract management capabilities. What will differentiate the winners from the losers? Flexibility, connectivity and the implementation of cutting edge technologies such as AI for an accurate view of contract data across the enterprise.

Colin Earl, Founder and CTO of Agiloft:

1) In 2022, the CLM market will experience a wave of activity – major financing rounds, mergers and acquisitions, IPOs and more competition

Building on the momentum of 2020 and 2021, there will be a lot of funding and industry movement in the CLM market in 2022. Analyst research shows that an increasing amount of M&Q activity across the world to improve product portfolios and expand overseas business presence is to stimulate demand for CLM software. In the past six months alone, we have seen the valuations of CLM companies soar and multiple acquisitions between CLM vendors.

In light of the growth and potential of the market, there will also be even more new suppliers of CLMs, which will make the competition even tougher. However, there will be a different playing field for small, repository-based CLM software versus enterprise-level end-to-end CLM software vendors that encompass procurement and organization-wide data. Even so, this wave of activity in the market is expected to continue through 2022.

2) Conversations with your contracts: conversational AI will become common practice

In 2022, modern conversational AI technology will allow us to start having conversations with our contracts, providing businesses with actionable data, faster. Employees can verbally ask the AI ​​questions and the AI ​​robot will immediately respond with a recommendation, while simultaneously extracting all relevant data from the company’s document database. For example, someone can ask the bot which contracts contain specific data about a recent sale, new hire, or trial and the bot will pull that data based on that context. It can go even further, with employees being able to ask the AI ​​for the most common clause language to use when creating a new contract.

For example, in the sales department, salespeople can ask the system what language they should use when writing customer contracts. Then the bot can review the contents of the draft contract and share a score based on the likelihood of the contract getting approval from the legal team or not. Conversational AI can also be very useful for negotiations, as the bot can pull all past similar sales transactions to compare the price and terms to compare before the deal is closed.

3) A strong business IT infrastructure will be just as critical to success as innovation

It’s normal to be excited about new technologies, whether it’s the metaverse or a revolutionary new machine learning algorithm. However, with the rapid innovation happening today in all industry sectors, companies are also making sure to invest in critical IT infrastructure to support these new systems. With innovations like these, there is a whole new set of challenges ranging from regulations and compliance issues to safety. The right infrastructure and core functions such as CLM should always be maintained for these businesses to avoid additional risk and legal liability. As we’ve seen time and time again with Facebook, ignoring best legal and compliance practices can result in massive government fines and hurt brand regulation, regardless of the size of the business.

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