The early days of our universe can be described as having low entropy. Simply put, entropy is disorder or chaos, and that’s what our universe is heading towards – away from order. Guy Raz and Sean Carroll discuss this concept in an episode of TED Radio Hour called “Why Does Time Exist?”
Carroll, a theoretical physicist at Caltech, says, “The thing about order versus disorder is there are many more ways to be disorderly than to be orderly. That’s why if you sort of clean your room, it’s not surprising that it gets messier over time. There’s more ways to be messy than clean.”
And Raz, the host, responds, “You can actually look that one up in any physics book. It’s the second law of thermodynamics – entropy, disorder, it’s always increasing. And whether you realize it or not, this law plays out all around you in everyday moments.”
Carroll goes on to give examples like breaking an egg and mixing cream into coffee.
I work with contracts on a daily basis, so this made me think of another example: all of the contracts created throughout the sales cycle. The ones scattered across the desks of the legal team, in the email inboxes of the sales force and in filing cabinets. A contract starts as one file and then grows exponentially into several different versions floating around on hard drives throughout your office.
There’s no technology solution that can clean your room, but there is a solution to clean up your contracts: Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM).
Imagine this: You’re a lawyer at a SaaS company, and you’re being audited. The auditor asks you for five of your customers’ contracts. That’s a fairly straightforward request of the contracts department, right? Well, not if you have an outdated or manual system for tracking your contracts. Your team has no centralized repository for all of the contracts; some are saved on computers, others are on paper. It’s time for you to start digging.
Second scenario: You’re a salesperson and your customer just asked for its contract from 2008. You ask someone on the legal team but probably won’t hear back for at least a week.
Both of these common instances are uncomfortable, and more unfortunately, they slow down the sales cycle. The lawyer looking for contracts doesn’t have time to write new ones. And the salesperson waiting for a contract is held back from closing that next deal.
Now imagine solving the problems above and having all of your contracts in one place – in CLM. Forrester’s July 2016 report, “The Forrester Wave™: Contract Lifecycle Management, Q3 2016,” confirmed that as the number one function of CLM software: “