When it comes to CLM (Contract Lifecycle Management), there are a healthy number of vendors in the legaltech space. And with so many off-the-shelf options, a no-code platform might not be the first thing that comes to mind when shopping for a CLM solution. Maybe it should be? Here’s why.
CLM, by its very nature, is unique to each business. Your legal team has their own requirements, workflows, policies, and ways to manage the process. Consequently, most off-the-shelf tools in the market are limited in their flexibility, as they are designed for an ‘average’ of processes. Implementing such a CLM solution can mean a significant time investment in vendor-led customizations, or a lack of product-fit entirely.
For this reason, many companies have taken to developing their own digital solutions, using a no-code platform like Neota. These platforms enable legal teams to quickly and easily build targeted CLM tools, tailored to your unique contracting processes and requirements.
Understanding what you need from a digital CLM tool
The first step in any purchase decision starts with stepping back and making sense of what you need – the functionality most important to you and the “nice-to-haves.” Some CLM software encompasses tools usable by only 5% of legal teams, while others may not go far enough in automated approval workflows, or have the right integration capabilities. The first step for many Neota customers is mapping out their existing CLM process and creating a needs and wants wishlist from there.
This process involves talking with people across your team and internal stakeholders (perhaps your marketing department has many ongoing contracts) to get a sense of what functionality and reporting / analytics would be most useful for you.
While requirements-gathering can be a somewhat tedious process, you will reap the benefits of it when you implement a digital solution that does what you need it to. And don’t be afraid to ask potential providers a ton of questions. The right vendor will understand your position and help you get a sense of the best approach in your context and for your unique processes.
How can no-code platforms be used as an alternative to an off-the-shelf CLM?
At a high-level, no-code platforms provide a visual interface and pre-built modular components for business users to develop custom digital applications without coding. For example, we made Neota as a drag-and-drop environment so that even non-tech-savvy users feel comfortable using it.
Many customers use Neota to draft contracts and manage processes and workflows related to the negotiation and approval of contracts, contract renewal, and compliance tasks. Most importantly, Neota solutions integrate seamlessly with your existing techstack, which means previously siloed parts of the process can be joined to form an end-to-end contracting experience. Many no-code platforms (Neota included) have web service capabilities that allow you to retrieve and post data using REST API calls, which is how integrations with a wide range of technology are possible.
For example, since several of our customers use Neota for contract approval, we built a plug-and-play integration with DocuSign that lets you electronically sign a document in the same user flow where redlining and versioning take place.
All of this is important because having flexible technology means you can develop an automated CLM process that works for your team. Automate as much or as little as you need – many Neota clients get extra value from their subscription by building apps that automate other, non-CLM processes. Your ability to scale is entirely unrestricted.
Wait, so why no-code and not… code?
You’d be right in saying custom digital solutions have been around for decades. No-code has changed the landscape primarily with regard to accessibility, cost, and maintainability.
No-code platforms enable non-technical business users to build automation solutions quickly and easily. These tools are far more accessible than coding, and unlock a whole world of potential for those of us not trained in Java, HTML, C++, or any of the other programming languages.
Traditionally, software development meant getting the (already swamped) IT team involved, or hiring external developers at eye-watering prices. Now, You can build, manage, and maintain no-code tools with ease within your own team. No-code takes far less picking-apart, and updates can be made without taking the tool offline. And finally, time. Coding takes a long time. So much time, in fact, that some of our customers who have extensive technical and coding backgrounds still opt to use Neota to build tools as the speed of building makes the investment worthwhile.
Consider your options
A no-code approach to CLM is being picked up as a strong alternative to traditional off-the-shelf CLM tools and should be part of the evaluation process for any CLM needs. While I could list out the reasons above again, the most important part here is flexibility and the ability to tailor the solution to your unique CLM needs. A tool built for your specific processes and requirements, with significant input from the people closest to those processes, is invaluable.