Contract Management 3.0

CCBJ: CobbleStone Software has been an innovator in contract lifecycle management software solutions for nearly thirty years. Please provide an overview of your organization and how it approaches the streamlining of legal operations functions?

Mark Nastasi: CobbleStone Software's proprietary CLM software – CobbleStone Contract Insight® -- is web-enabled (SaaS) or deployed (on-premise) and used by many leading corporations, state and local governments and other regulated organizations worldwide. Our platform hosts more than three million contract transactions and billions of dollars in contract value. We have been providing contract lifecycle management software as a service longer than any other CLM software provider. CobbleStone Software is a Federal GSA vendor that is SOC 1 and SOC 2 compliant, reviewed by industry-leading analyst firms, and retains a continually expanding partner network for increased software integrations and business expansion. Through our close relationships, we continuously identify new ways to streamline legal operations with robust tools such as contract workflows, eSignatures, artificial intelligence with machine learning and dynamic contract risk assessment mapping solutions.

How do CobbleStone's contract workflow features help corporate counsel and other in-house legal professionals?

Dealing with contracts in both the pre-award and post-award stages can be challenging, especially when dealing with many internal and external stakeholders of ranging authority. For instance, requesting a senior lawyer to review a clause that a junior lawyer could have reviewed may cause workflow inefficiencies. These types of legal ops bottlenecks can not only breed inefficiencies but also exponentially increase contract administration risks by inadvertently excluding stakeholders from necessary contract tasks. CobbleStone's automated contract workflows with alerts and notifications can help solve these problems and increase contract lifecycle management efficiency.

CobbleStone Contract Insight allows organizations to configure contract workflows with notifications and alerts. Stakeholders, including corporate counsel and paralegals, can be assigned to specific tasks and receive notifications for completion. Once a task is completed, the assigned stakeholders can be notified within the preconfigured workflow to complete the subsequent task. Organizations can also assign clauses to necessary stakeholders, who can be notified whenever a specific clause is modified.

Post-award contract compliance and obligation notifications can be assigned to necessary stakeholders to encourage timely anticipation and follow through with counterparties and to encourage post-award contract compliance. Upon a contract's upcoming renewal date, internal and external stakeholders can be promptly notified. Additionally, organizations can receive on-screen alerts and recommendations in real-time via preconfigured notifications for increased contract visibility. Internal stakeholders can also leverage AI-based contract management software tools to help identify areas of opportunity to leverage upon a contract's renewal for further risk mitigation and increased return on investment.

We understand CobbleStone's industry-leading eSignature tool - IntelliSign® is being employed by thousands of legal professionals as their go-to electronic signature software solution. How does this tool expedite legal operations and support internal clients?

Gathering the required signatures for a contract can prove difficult, especially when signees are in different locations. Considering signatures finalize contracts and propel their execution, this highly anticipated step in legal operations can be delayed with manual wet signatures that can waste time and paper-based resources. Fortunately, IntelliSign can make signing contracts a breeze by empowering signees to sign virtually anywhere at any time - with the proper electronic device and adequate internet access. Additionally, our mobile app, a key CLM software differentiator, offers added convenience for our users to sign remotely and request signatures from third-party signees via email. We’ve found that this solution helps legal professionals cut their send-to-sign time by 20 percent.

Please talk with us about your artificial intelligence engine – VISDOM®, which we understand is designed to help corporate counsel and other legal professionals manage their contracts effectively. What makes VISDOM AI an essential tool for legal operations?

Remaining current with the latest document language can prove challenging – especially as laws and regulations change. Corporate counsel can encounter legal ops setbacks when manually sourcing the latest contract language – particularly clauses. CobbleStone’s VISDOM AI can empower corporate counsel by supporting automated contract assembly and revision. VISDOM AI with machine learning can be configured to recognize specific language – including clauses and phrases – and offer insightful language recommendations. Such recommendations arise from CobbleStone Contract Insight users' language libraries. Additionally, VISDOM can help extract metadata that can be leveraged to support legal routing, contract abstraction, amendment recommendations, approvals and more. Machine learning can feed CLM software the necessary data to agilely evolve with changing environmental variables and algorithms. While artificial intelligence does not replace the counsel of a licensed legal resource, AI can reduce some of the tedium and offer intelligent possibilities from which you can choose. Rather than waste time unnecessarily, VISDOM can help streamline legal operations functions with and offer critical insights – yielding unparalleled corporate counsel confidence.

CobbleStone Contract Insight CLM Software helps general counsel, corporate counsel, paralegals and other legal professionals manage and mitigate risk with dynamic CLM software features. How do CobbleStone's risk management tools assist and improve legal operations?

Assessing contract management risk within a myriad of contracts can be challenging without visualization and prioritization. Whether corporate counsel are dealing with ten or ten million contracts, identifying and prioritizing risk factors can prove challenging when sifting through words and other data variables within pages of documents. Identifying risk can prove arduous without a centralized and graphical risk opportunity and assessment tool. CobbleStone Contract Insight offers risk assessment and OFAC search mapping tools to graphically visualize risk within documents for comprehensive risk contract management. Rather than corporate counsel needing to manually sift through contract records for risk variables, they can leverage a visualized graph that can plot contracts based on their identified risk score – yielding a holistically visualized risk analysis of active contracts that can help prioritize contract risk factor decision-making. Corporate counsel can also analyze how a contract would perform with hypothetical risk variables and exposure within a risk assessment matrix – further helping corporate counsel and other stakeholders prepare for prospective happenings. Legal professionals can leverage CobbleStone's visual contract risk assessment matrix and statistical data analysis to identify negative, neutral or positive facts about contracts within a centralized platform to help improve their overall contract strategy. Moreover, stakeholders can receive message alerts that notify them if a contract incurs a value of a pre-determined percentage greater than the average contract within their contract database. To promote accountability, CobbleStone users are afforded a usage percentage score that elucidates the percentage of risk assessment tools used – and how the usage of risk tools can be improved. CobbleStone Contract Insight also offers a robust Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) search graphical risk tool to help corporate counsel identify if their contracts, vendors, employees and other entities comply with OFAC’s national sanctions list. This graphical risk visualization allows corporate counsel to identify a contract's OFAC compliance both in the pre-award and post-award stage – increasing comprehensive risk mitigation. Software users can preconfigure rules to notify them in virtually real-time if a current contract meets or exceeds a specific OFAC Search percentage – allowing for swift risk mitigation before it becomes untenable.

How will CobbleStone’s unique CLM software tools pave the way for legal operations success. What does the future look like for for product development and innovation in this area?

We are commited to continuing to develop new features and provide future-minded contract management solutions. We recently released CobbleStone Contract Insight 17.10.0, which offers our clients powerful oversight of online document editing processes for third-party negotiations, advanced workflow automation with mergeable templates for notifications and alerts, next-level workflow status oversight at a glance with visually engaging calendars and automated creation of new records from contract request records – to name a few. We release multiple software updates throughout each year to support ongoing legal operations' digital transformation that can encourage continuous contract lifecycle management success.

Additionally, as contract redlining processes continue to transform digitally, we excitedly forge ahead in streamlining CobbleStone users' contract redlining and negotiation processes. CobbleStone Contract Insight centralizes the contract negotiation process with holistic oversight. Rather than corporate counsel needing to communicate with disjointed platforms, source updated contract language manually, play email ping-pong with attached documents and leverage other divorced processes, CobbleStone can help streamline what usually takes the longest time of the contract lifecycle in a centralized system. Our future-minded CLM software allows for workflow configurations, including clause ownership assignments, task escalations and approval routing. To virtually ensure the right stakeholders remain abreast of language changes for review, they can receive notifications of language modifications of contract areas for which they are responsible. Such changes can trigger notifications to clause owners for review. Rather than work with disparate contract versions, stakeholders can work concurrently within a centralized, web-enabled location, including seamless connectors for document collaboration in MS Office 365 and Google Workspace. Stakeholders can receive configured email notifications of comments and applied changes to review within the centralized contract redlining location. As legal operations experience increasing digital transformation, corporate counsel can rely on CobbleStone Software to support their journey ahead with a CLM software provider backed by nearly three decades of experience and driven by innovative vision.

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