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Design and Build an Effective Contract Lifecycle Management Process

Mitigate risk and drive value through robust best practices for contract lifecycle management.

  • Your vendor contracts are unorganized and held in various cabinets and network shares. There is no consolidated list or view of all the agreements, and some are misplaced or lost as coworkers leave.
  • The contract process takes a long time to complete. Coworkers are unsure who should be reviewing and approving them.
  • You are concerned that you are not getting favorable terms with your vendors and not complying with your agreement commitments.
  • You are unsure what risks your organization could be exposed to in your IT vendor contacts. These could be financial, legal, or security risks and/or compliance requirements.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Focus on what’s best for you. There are two phases to CLM. All stages within those phases are important, but choose to improve the phase that can be most beneficial to your organization in the short term. However, be sure to include reviewing risk and monitoring compliance.
  • Educate yourself. Understand the stages of CLM and how each step can rely on the previous one, like a stepping-stone model to success.
  • Consider the overall picture. Contract lifecycle management is the sum of many processes designed to manage contracts end to end while reducing corporate risk, improving financial savings, and managing agreement obligations. It can take time to get CLM organized and working efficiently, but then it will show its ROI and continuously improve.

Impact and Result

  • Understand how to identify and mitigate risk to save the organization time and money.
  • Gain the knowledge required to implement a CLM that will be beneficial to all business units.
  • Achieve measurable savings in contract time processing, financial risk avoidance, and dollar savings.
  • Effectively review, store, manage, comply with, and renew agreements with a collaborative process

Design and Build an Effective Contract Lifecycle Management Process Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out how a contract management system will save money and time and mitigate contract risk, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Master the operational framework of contract lifecycle management.

Understand how the basic operational framework of CLM will ensure cost savings, improved collaboration, and constant CLM improvement.

2. Understand the ten stages of contract lifecycle management.

Understand the two phases of CLM and the ten stages that make up the entire process.

Member Testimonials

After each Info-Tech experience, we ask our members to quantify the real-time savings, monetary impact, and project improvements our research helped them achieve. See our top member experiences for this blueprint and what our clients have to say.


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City of San Luis Obispo

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Frankenmuth Insurance Company

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Very knowledgeable analyst with practical guidance. Worth the effort! Difficult to determine potential time and financial impact until project is... Read More

Workshop: Design and Build an Effective Contract Lifecycle Management Process

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Review Your CLM Process and Learn the Basics

The Purpose

  • Identify current CLM processes.
  • Learn the CLM operational framework.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Documented overview of current processes and stakeholders.




Review and capture your current process.

  • Existing CLM Process Worksheet

Identify current stakeholders.


Learn the operational framework of CLM.


Identify current process gaps.

Module 2: Learn More and Plan

The Purpose

  • Dive into the two phases of CLM and the ten stages of a robust system.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • A deep understanding of the required components/stages of a CLM system.




Understand the two phases of CLM.


Learn the ten stages of CLM.


Assess your CLM maturity state.

  • CLM Maturity Assessment

Identify and assign stakeholders.

  • CLM RASCI Diagram

Design and Build an Effective Contract Lifecycle Management Process

Mitigate risk and drive value through robust best practices for contract lifecycle management.

Our understanding of the problem

This Research Is Designed For:

  • The CIO who depends on numerous key vendors for services
  • The CIO or Project Manager who wants to maximize the value delivered by vendors
  • The Director or Manager of an existing IT procurement or vendor management team
  • The Contracts Manager or Legal Counsel whose IT department holds responsibility for contracts, negotiation, and administration

This Research Will Help You:

  • Implement and streamline the contract management process, policies, and procedures
  • Baseline and benchmark existing contract processes
  • Understand the importance and value of contract lifecycle management (CLM)
  • Minimize risk, save time, and maximize savings with vendor contracts

This Research Will Also Assist

  • IT Service Managers
  • IT Procurement
  • Contract teams
  • Finance and Legal departments
  • Senior IT leadership

This Research Will Help Them

  • Understand the required components of a CLM
  • Establish the current CLM maturity level
  • Implement a new CLM process
  • Improve on an existing or disparate process


"Contract lifecycle management (CLM) is a vital process for small and enterprise organizations alike. Research shows that all organizations can benefit from a contract management process, whether they have as few as 25 contracts or especially if they have contracts numbering in the hundreds.

A CLM system will:

  • Save valuable time in the entire cycle of contract/agreement processes.
  • Save the organization money, both hard and soft dollars.
  • Mitigate risk to the organization.
  • Avoid loss of revenue.

If you’re not managing your contracts, you aren’t capitalizing on your investment with your vendors and are potentially exposing your organization to contract and monetary risk."

- Ted Walker
Principal Research Advisor, Vendor Management Practice
Info-Tech Research Group

Executive Summary


  • Most organizations have vendor overload and even worse, no defined process to manage the associated contracts and agreements. To manage contracts, some vendor management offices (VMOs) use a shared network drive to store the contracts and a spreadsheet to catalog and manage them. Yet other less-mature VMOs may just rely on a file cabinet in Procurement and a reminder in someone’s calendar about renewals. These disparate processes likely cost your organization time spent finding, managing, and renewing contracts, not to mention potential increases in vendor costs and risk and the inability to track contract obligations.


  • Contract lifecycle management (CLM) is not an IT buzzword, and it’s rarely on the top-ten list of CIO concerns in most annual surveys. Until a VMO gets to a level of maturity that can fully develop a CLM and afford the time and costs of doing so, there can be several challenges to developing even the basic processes required to store, manage, and renew IT vendor contracts. As is always an issue in IT, budget is one of the biggest obstacles in implementing a standard CLM process. Until senior leadership realizes that a CLM process can save time, money, and risk, getting mindshare and funding commitment will remain a challenge.


  • Understand the immediate benefits of a CLM process – even a basic CLM implementation can provide significant cost savings to the organization; reduce time spent on creating, negotiating, and renewing contracts; and help identify and mitigate risks within your vendor contracts.
  • Budgets don’t always need to be a barrier to a standard CLM process. However, a robust CLM system can provide significant savings to the organization.

Info-Tech Insight

  • If you aren’t managing your contracts, you aren’t capitalizing on your investments.
  • Even a basic CLM process with efficient procedures will provide savings and benefits.
  • Not having a CLM process may be costing your organization money, time, and exposure to unmitigated risk.

What you can gain from this blueprint

Why Create a CLM

  • Improved contract organization
  • Centralized and manageable storage/archives
  • Improved vendor compliance
  • Risk mitigation
  • Reduced potential loss of revenue

Knowledge Gained

  • Understanding of the value and importance of a CLM
  • How CLM can impact many departments within the organization
  • Who should be involved in the CLM steps and processes
  • Why a CLM is important to your organization
  • How to save time and money by maximizing IT vendor contracts
  • How basic CLM policies and procedures can be implemented without costly software expenditure

The Outcome

  • A foundation for a CLM with best-practice processes
  • Reduced exposure to potential risks within vendor contracts
  • Maximized savings with primary vendors
  • Vendor compliance and corporate governance
  • Collaboration, transparency, and integration with business units

Contract management: A case study

Industry Finance and Banking
Source Apttus

FIS Global

The Challenge

FIS’ business groups were isolated across the organization and used different agreements, making contract creation a long, difficult, and manual process.

  • Customers frustrated by slow and complicated contracting process
  • Manual contract creation and approval processes
  • Sensitive contract data that lacked secure storage
  • Multiple agreements managed across divisions
  • Lack of central repository for past contracts
  • Inconsistent and inaccessible

The Solution: Automating and Streamlining the Contract Management Process

A robust CLM system solved FIS’ various contract management needs while also providing a solution that could expand into full quote-to cash in the future.

  • Contract lifecycle management (CLM)
  • Intelligent workflow approvals (IWA)
  • X-Author for Excel

Customer Results

  • 75% cycle time reduction
  • $1M saved in admin costs per year
  • 49% increase in sales proposal volume
  • Automation on one standard platform and solution
  • 55% stronger compliance management
  • Easy maintenance for various templates
  • Ability to quickly absorb new contracts and processes via FIS’s ongoing acquisitions

Track the impact of CLM with these metrics

Dollars Saved

Upfront dollars saved

  • Potential dollars saved from avoiding unfavorable terms and conditions
  • Incentives that encourage the vendor to act in the customer’s best interest
  • Secured commitments to provide specified products and services at firm prices
  • Cost savings related to audits, penalties, and back support
  • Savings from discounts found

Time Saved

Time saved, which can be done in several areas

  • Defined and automated approval flow process
  • Preapproved contract templates with corporate terms
  • Reduced negotiation times
  • Locate contracts in minutes

Pitfalls Avoided

Number of pitfalls found and avoided, such as

  • Auto-renewal
  • Inconsistencies between sections and documents
  • Security and data not being deleted upon termination
  • Improper licensing

The numbers are compelling


of companies can’t locate up to 10% of their contracts.

Source: TechnologyAdvice, 2019


of companies’ annual revenue is lost because of poor contract management practices.

Source: IACCM, 2019


still track contracts in shared drives or email folders.

Source: “State of Contract Management,” SpringCM, 2018

CLM blueprint objectives

  • To provide a best-practice process for managing IT vendor contract lifecycles through a framework that organizes from the core, analyzes each step in the cycle, has collaboration and governance attached to each step, and integrates with established vendor management practices within your organization.
  • CLM doesn’t have to be an expensive managed database system in the cloud with fancy dashboards. As long as you have a defined process that has the framework steps and is followed by the organization, this will provide basic CLM and save the organization time and money over a short period of time.
  • This blueprint will not delve into the many vendors or providers of CLM solutions and their methodologies. However, we will discuss briefly how to use our framework and contract stages in evaluating a potential solution that you may be considering.

Info-Tech offers various levels of support to best suit your needs

DIY Toolkit

"Our team has already made this critical project a priority, and we have the time and capability, but some guidance along the way would be helpful.”

Guided Implementation

“Our team knows that we need to fix a process, but we need assistance to determine where to focus. Some check-ins along the way would help keep us on track."


"We need to hit the ground running and get this project kicked off immediately. Our team has the ability to take this over once we get a framework and strategy in place."


"Our team does not have the time or the knowledge to take this project on. We need assistance through the entirety of this project."

Diagnostics and consistent frameworks used throughout all four options

Design and Build an Effective CLM Process – project overview

1. Master the Operational Framework

2. Understand the Ten Stages of CLM

Best-Practice Toolkit

1.1 Understand the operational framework components.

1.2 Review your current framework.

1.3 Create a plan to implement or enhance existing processes.

2.1 Understand the ten stages of CLM.

2.2 Review and document your current processes.

2.3 Review RASCI chart and assign internal ownership.

2.4 Create an improvement plan.

2.5 Track changes for measurable ROI.

Guided Implementations
  • Review existing processes.
  • Understand what CLM is and why the framework is essential.
  • Create an implementation or improvement plan.
  • Review the ten stages of CLM.
  • Complete CLM Maturity Assessment.
  • Create a plan to target improvement.
  • Track progress to measure savings.
Onsite Workshop

Module 1: Review and Learn the Basics

  • Review and capture your current processes.
  • Learn the basic operational framework of contract management.

Module 2 Results:

  • Understand the ten stages of effective CLM.
  • Create an improvement or implementation plan.
Phase 1 Outcome:
  • A full understanding of what makes a comprehensive contract management system.
Phase 2 Outcome:
  • A full understanding of your current CLM processes and where to focus your efforts for improvement or implementation.

Workshop overview

Contact your account representative or email for more information.

Workshop Day 1 Workshop Day 2

Task – Review and Learn the Basics

Task – Learn More and Plan

1.1 Review and capture your current process.

1.2 Identify current stakeholders.

1.3 Learn the operational framework of contract lifecycle management.

1.4 Identify current process gaps.

2.1 Understand the two phases of CLM.

2.2 Learn the ten stages of CLM.

2.3 Assess your CLM maturity.

2.4 Identify and assign stakeholders.

2.5 Discuss ROI.

2.6 Summarize and next steps.

  1. Internal interviews with business units
  2. Existing CLM Process Worksheet
  1. CLM Maturity Assessment
  2. RASCI Diagram
  3. Improvement Action Plan


Master the Operational Framework of Contract Lifecycle Management

Design and Build an Effective CLM Process

Phase 1: Master the Operational Framework of Contract Lifecycle Management

Call 1-888-670-8889 or email for more information.

Complete these steps on your own, or call us to complete a guided implementation. A guided implementation is a series of
2-3 advisory calls that help you execute each phase of a project. They are included in most advisory memberships.

Guided Implementation 1: Master the Operational Framework of Contract Lifecycle Management
Proposed Time to Completion: 1-4 weeks

Step 1.1: Document your Current CLM Process

Step 1.2: Read and Understand the Operational Framework

Step 1.3: Review Solution Options

Start with an analyst kick-off call:

  • Understand what your current process(es) is for each stage
  • Do a probative review of any current processes
  • Interview stakeholders for input

Review findings with analyst:

  • Discuss the importance of the framework as the core of your plan
  • Review the gaps in your existing process
  • Understand how to prioritize next steps towards a CLM

Finalize phase deliverable:

  • Establish ownership of the framework
  • Prioritize improvement areas or map out how your new CLM will look

Then complete these activities…

  • Document the details of your process for each stage of CLM

With these tools & templates:

  • Existing CLM Process Worksheet

Phase 1 Results:

  • A full understanding of what makes a comprehensive contract management system.

What Is Contract Lifecycle Management?

  • Every contract has a lifecycle, from creation to time and usage to expiration. Organizations using a legacy or manual contract management process usually ask, “What is contract lifecycle management and how will it benefit my business?”
  • Contract lifecycle management (CLM) creates a process that manages each contract or agreement. CLM eases the challenges of managing hundreds or even thousands of important business and IT contracts that affect the day-to-day business and could expose the organization to vendor risk.
  • Managing a few contracts is quite easy, but as the number of contracts grows, managing each step for each contract becomes increasingly difficult. Ultimately, it will get to a point where managing contracts properly becomes very difficult or seemingly impossible.

That’s where contract lifecycle management (CLM) comes in.

CLM can save money and improve revenue by:

  • Improving accuracy and decreasing errors through standardized contract templates and approved terms and conditions that will reduce repetitive tasks.
  • Securing contracts and processes through centralized software storage, minimizing risk of lost or misplaced contracts due to changes in physical assets like hard drives, network shares, and file cabinets.
  • Using policies and procedures that standardize, organize, track, and optimize IT contracts, eliminating time spent on creation, approvals, errors, and vendor compliance.
  • Reducing the organization’s exposure to risks and liability.
  • Having contracts renewed on time without penalties and with the most favorable terms for the business.

The Operational Framework of Contract Lifecycle Management

Four Components of the Operational Framework

  1. Organization
  2. Analysis
  3. Collaboration and Governance
  4. Integration/Vendor Management
  • By organizing at the core of the process and then analyzing each stage, you will maximize each step of the CLM process and ensure long-term contract management for the organization.
  • Collaboration and governance as overarching policies for the system will provide accountability to stakeholders and business units.
  • Integration and vendor management are encompassing features in a well-developed CLM that add visibility, additional value, and savings to the entire organization.

Info-Tech Best Practice

Putting a contract manager in place to manage the CLM project will accelerate the improvements and provide faster returns to the organizations. Reference Info-Tech’s Contract Manager Job Description template as needed.

The operational framework is key to the success, return on investment (ROI), cost savings, and customer satisfaction of a CLM process.

This image depicts Info-Tech's Operational Framework.  It consists of a series of five concentric circles, with each circle a different colour.  On the outer circle, is the word Integration.  The next outermost circle has the words Collaboration and Governance.  The next circle has no words, the next circle has the word Analysis, and the very centre circle has the word Organization.

1. Organization

  • Every enterprise needs to organize its contract documents and data in a central repository so that everyone knows where to find the golden source of contractual truth.
  • This includes:
    • A repository for storing and organizing contract documents.
    • A data dictionary for describing the terms and conditions in a consistent, normalized way.
    • A database for persistent data storage.
    • An object model that tracks changes to the contract and its prevailing terms over time.

Info-Tech Insight

Paper is still alive and doing very well at slowing down the many stages of the contract process.

2. Analysis

Most organizations analyze their contracts in two ways:

  • First, they use reporting, search, and analytics to reveal risky and toxic terms so that appropriate operational strategies can be implemented to eliminate, mitigate, or transfer the risk.
  • Second, they use process analytics to reveal bottlenecks and points of friction as contracts are created, approved, and negotiated.

3. Collaboration

  • Throughout the contract lifecycle, teams must collaborate on tasks both pre-execution and post-execution.
  • This includes document collaboration among several different departments across an enterprise.
  • The challenge is to make the collaboration smooth and transparent to avoid costly mistakes.
  • For some contracting tasks, especially in regulated industries, a high degree of control is required.
  • In these scenarios, the organization must implement controlled systems that restrict access to certain types of data and processes backed up with robust audit trails.

4. Integration

  • For complete visibility into operational responsibilities, relationships, and risk, an organization must integrate its golden contract data with other systems of record.
  • An enterprise contracts platform must therefore provide a rich set of APIs and connectors so that information can be pushed into or pulled from systems for enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), supplier relationship management (SRM), document management, etc.

This is the ultimate goal of a robust contract management system!

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.


Overall Impact

Average $ Saved

Average Days Saved

After each Info-Tech experience, we ask our members to quantify the real-time savings, monetary impact, and project improvements our research helped them achieve.

Read what our members are saying

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 2-phase advisory process. You'll receive 7 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation 1: Master the Operational Framework of Contract Lifecycle Management
  • Call 1: Review existing processes.
  • Call 2: Understand what CLM is and why the framework is essential.
  • Call 3: Create an implementation or improvement plan.

Guided Implementation 2: Understand the Ten Stages of Contract Lifecycle Management
  • Call 1: Review the ten stages of CLM.
  • Call 2: Complete the CLM Maturity Assessment.
  • Call 3: Create a plan to target improvement.
  • Call 4: Track progress to measure savings.


Ted Walker

Search Code: 91385
Last Revised: March 11, 2020

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