A few years ago we started noticing a trend among our new customers. In their first weeks of using Evisort, we’d field six or seven calls from the client asking about how to expand the product. They had questions about integrating the platform into different workstreams, training hundreds of new clauses, and introducing it to different departments.
We’ve always invested heavily in customer success, so naturally we wanted to help those early users improve their digital contracting function. After all, if our customers don’t implement best practices, they won’t realize the full potential benefits of our solution.
The Evisort team started training customers ad-hoc on everything they needed to know to maximize their investment. After we’d piloted our not-yet-codified best practices with several clients and seen real results, we realized these actions could be mechanized into a model.
That’s how Evisort’s digital contracting Center of Excellence program was born.
Digital transformation leaders across industries agree: establishing a Center of Excellence (CoE) can help your organization consolidate the capabilities, tech stack, and operations you need to scale your automation investment.
What is a Digital Center of Excellence?
But exactly what is a center of excellence in terms of contract management?
Here’s Evisort’s Center of Excellence definition for digital contracting:
In short, a Center of Excellence program uses a product to centralize digital contracting processes to help people improve operations. COE is a team, and a center of excellence can also be described as a shared facility or any entity providing leadership, guidance, or best practice as it relates to a specific focus area.
A CoE is an initiative to democratize the use of automated contract management products by building AI skills and formalizing internal workflows and processes. It functions as a centralized shared service that bridges legal, technology and the broader business to establish best practices around digital contracting. CoEs consist of a multidisciplinary transformational team made up of legal ops professionals, lawyers and business line users.
How an Effective COE program helps your organization and Operational Efficiency
The most important thing to know about Center of Excellence programs is that they’re essential to contract management and project management.
It’s not enough to just put out a RFP for a contract management vendor. You need to centralize digital contracting into a shared function and treat it as a project, not a program. You need to designate a business champion to drive the change management. Without a CoE, you’ll end up accelerating broken contracting processes.
We developed our holistic, end-to-end Center of Excellence model to teach our customers how to self-service AI and contract management automation. Now, we’re excited to share that model with the world in a free whitepaper.
Our whitepaper teaches legal teams how to establish a digital contracting CoE, following a model used by major tech companies. Read it to learn best practices in digital contract management processes, including improving AI models, handling reporting requests and integrating stakeholders from different departments.
Not sure if you need a CoE? Still wondering how the Center of Excellence model will benefit your organization? Get started with an excerpt from How to Build a Digital Contracting Center of Excellence: A Practical Guide to Transforming your Contract Management Function. Download the full paper.
Why You Should Read This Guide
If you have tens of thousands of contracts, or if you’re looking to deliver cost savings and enhanced revenue opportunities through a best practice digital contracting function, you’ll benefit from establishing a CoE — and thus from reading this guide.
Specifically, you should read this guide if you face any of the following challenges when managing your contracts:
- You’re unsure what’s in your business agreements. For example, if you’ve ever wondered: if your contracts are compliant, if the terms are on your standards, if you’re leaving money on the table by not taking advantage of rebates, or if they’re up for renewal soon.
- You lack visibility into where a contract is in the approval process.
- You’ve had to ask if you even have a contract with a client or vendor.
- You haven’t established standard workflows for important processes like pre-signature.
- Your legal ops department hasn’t established clear SLAs around shared service performance.
- You’re always asking for more staffing.
- You notice that your outside counsel bills are always increasing.
- You struggle with high employee churn in your contracts function.
- You struggle to maintain visibility and efficiency in a distributed work environment.
If you identify with any one of these challenges, you need a CoE.
Critical Success Factors in Scaling a CoE
Getting a digital contracting product off the ground is not hard. The hard part of implementing a new technology that affects processes and people is running a change management agenda. That’s the real investment — and that’s where a CoE comes in.
There’s a significant need for formalized AI best practices. Companies often worry about inadvertently “diluting” algorithm effectiveness by not following the same methods and naming conventions.
The benefits are significant, too. CoEs inspire outsized business ROI. One Silicon Valley high tech storage company recognized $30 million in revenue because its CoE helped find all the customers that would accept a partial shipment for full revenue recognition.
Setting an AI initiative in motion can also have a career-changing impact. The business champion of a CoE at a top media company enabled his department to streamline three hours worth of work into a five second task — a feat that won him company-wide recognition and got him promoted to a leadership role.