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3 Steps to Minimize Contract Management’s “Time to Value”

Any time you are evaluating software solutions, you need to think about “time to value,” or the amount of time it takes for a technology to deliver value. Think of it as the amount of time it takes a tool to either save you money or make you money. This is especially relevant for legal professionals since they have a specific dollar value on each hour of their time. 

How many hours, days, weeks, or months after you sign a contract for new software until it starts delivering a return on that investment (ROI)? That's the time to value, and you can't measure ROI without it. Time to value figures for even the most modern software solutions can be months or, occasionally, years. Systems that utilize artificial intelligence (AI) can take an especially long period to deliver value, as they must "learn" your data and processes.

Fortunately, that’s not the case with contract management software. Even contract management solutions that employ AI should a have time to value measured in weeks, if not days. If you get a longer time-to-value quote from a contract management vendor, that’s a red flag.

In this blog post, we'll explain the factors that contribute to contract management time to value, so you can evaluate your options effectively and ensure that the solution you adopt gets up and running quickly (delivering the highest ROI).

How to Minimize Time to Value

To maximize ROI, you need to minimize your time to value. There are three key ways to make sure your contract management solution has the shortest time between adoption and value delivery.

#1: Choose a SaaS Solution

While it seems like all software is delivered via a web browser these days, there are still plenty of "on-prem" solutions in the legal space, including contract management tools. Avoid them. One of the best ways to shorten your time to value is to adopt a Software-as-a-Service contract management solution because you skip any local installation and configuration issues, while simultaneously lowering the data-sharing barriers that can slow down implementation.

You need a solution that every member of your organization can access by clicking on a web link from any and every device they work on. If you don't want contracts trapped on someone's personal laptop, then SaaS contract management is the way to go.

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#2: Prioritize Solutions with Easy Data Ingestion

Contract management solutions need access to your contracts. While SaaS tools can get to every device where your contracts live, that doesn't mean those tools can easily ingest and analyze your contracts. 

At the bare minimum, a contract management solution should be able to handle every major document format, from Microsoft Word documents, to Adobe PDFs, to Google Drive files, to plain text files, and everything in between.

Then there are scanned paper documents, but some software can't handle poorly scanned images. You need to examine how well tools use object character recognition (OCR) to turn scanned files into digital documents. If a lot of your contracts live on paper and need to be scanned, OCR capabilities are even more important -- because scanning lots of documents quickly can mean those scans aren’t the highest quality.

If you want to shorten time to value, make sure your solution can take in your contracts in their current formats, rather than requiring you to spend time converting legal agreements to "acceptable" file types.

#3: Emphasize Solutions That Integrate with Other Software

One of the biggest drivers of time to value is your team's learning curve with a new solution. The best way to shorten that learning curve is to skip it by integrating with the systems other teams already use. If your contract management solution can push and pull data to and from other software, your team can continue to use the tools they are familiar with while gaining the value of your new solution. 

For example, if you've got Microsoft Word tuned up to write your standardized contracts, your legal team should be able to keep drafting in Word, rather than switch to a whole new (inferior) word processor.

This is doubly true for the "users" of your contract management solution outside your legal department. If you want to work efficiently with your sales team, you want to integrate with Salesforce. If you want to keep contract data handy for a compliance auditor, you want a contract management tool to connect to Sharepoint. And if you have internally developed software that needs connections to your contract analysis data, your contract management vendor should offer custom integrations, too.


If you want to shorten time to value, you need a contract management tool that is going to drive value outside the solution itself, which means major software integration options aren't optional.

Time is money. The more time you spend getting a contract management solution running adds to its price tag. Use these three criteria to evaluate contract management solutions and you'll get the best software with the shortest time to value.

Alyssa Verzino is a Senior Content Marketing Manager at LinkSquares.