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Podcast: Contracts Over Coffee with PwC's Jane Allen

Today we are releasing the eighth episode of Icertis' podcast series, "Contracts Over Coffee." This series brings together the most influential voices in Icertis' Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) partner ecosystem to discuss all things related to contracting while enjoying a delicious cup of joe.

In this episode, our senior director of partner marketing, Anne Baker, was joined by PricewaterhouseCooper's Jane Allen, an Advisory Cyber, Privacy, and Forensic Technology Partner focused on information and data governance, investigations and incident response, and digital forensics and eDiscovery. Jane has served primarily in-house law departments and law firms for over 25 years on various legal operational improvement and transformation efforts that usually center around technologies such as eBilling and matter management, contract lifecycle management, and legal holds and discovery.

Icertis · PwC — Jane Allen

Here are four takeaways from our chat:

1. Get All the Value From All Your Contracts

Anne: What do you think is the biggest challenge with contracting today?

Jane: Today, certainly the volume of contracts with all entities: your key business partners and everything else, more and more companies. How are you harnessing the value of those contracts? Are they able to adapt to where your business is going, in the right way, with the right partners? Are the terms current for what you need? Library changes, data-use privacy, cyber-requirements, data retention or disposition, all those things are built into the contracts. Have they been able to move as swiftly as companies need to? And I think the answer, unfortunately, is typically no.

2. Digitize for Transparency and Agility

Anne: Where do you think contracting is headed?

Jane: Well, clearly we need to think in a much more digitally advanced manner—people really biting the bullet and saying, okay, we gotta do the hard work so that we can reap all the advantages afterwards. So believe me: digitize your contracts. Get them into something that adds workflow and transparency across all the business units, and recognize this is a critical corporate asset. Let's make sure that we're agile, we're up-to-date, and reaping all the analytical capabilities available with tools like Icertis. To do business more quickly or to change business, or if you're going to make a deal, can you move quickly enough to know what you have? Leverage that to your advantage in terms of how you set up the contracts and in buying and selling power and such. I think there is still sort of a gap, where companies just aren't there yet.

3. There's No Skimping on Change Management

Anne: What's one contracting tip you wish every person knew?

Jane: Well, it's the reality for companies that are considering these investments in technologies like Icertis: Don't skimp up front on the work that's gonna really pay off in the end in terms of capturing your ROI. It's not just buying the technology and turning the lights on and okay, everything's going to be fixed. People really need to see that you need a technology and a services organization that can help the key users of these programs—procurement, legal, sales, many, many parts of the organization. Make sure the configuration and workflow is configured to your industry and the way you do business, including the reporting and dashboards and such.

And change management, if anything, is the one area I see folks skimp the most on, but that I think is the most impactful: getting people to adopt and use the technology right away and reap the benefits. You skip up front, you don't get it on the back end.

It's amazing. I still work with a lot of attorneys who will be embarrassed that "I can't find that contract. I need to go email my law firm or I need to go email the other party, to see if they've got a copy of the contract." Or they don't even know "How much business are we doing with this entity?" They might have five different repositories, you know, squirreled away around the company. It's some of those basic things. Especially at a time where all parties want to move very, very swiftly, I still see, across all industries, people hand-reading contracts. There's a little bit of nervousness in trusting newer technology like machine learning, natural language processing, and AI, but it's being used so effectively. So you hope that people are taking advantage of this.

4. Let Go of the Paperwork

Anne: What do you think people would be surprised to know about contracting?

Jane: How much antiquated work (with all due respect to those out there doing it) is still being done today. Rooms full of temporary employees and contract JDs, reviewing contracts page by page and making notes and putting them in different piles—some of that is still going on. Folks aren't reaping the benefits of the technology that's available to them through tools like Icertis.

Jane and Anne wrapped up this episode with a little personal history, revealing that Jane is a fan of both high-tech ("I spend spare time reading about different kinds of things and play with new apps on my phone all the time") and no-tech ("I still use analog paper to kind of write things down . . . there's something to me about the tactile piece of it").

Make sure to listen to the full podcast to hear more about that—and also thoughts on how the pandemic has revealed the resiliency of young people and inspired renewed civic engagement.

Listen to Contracts over Coffee

Contracts over Coffee on Youtube

Want to read more? visit www.pwc.com for more information