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Legal users and buyers of the DocuSign Agreement Cloud continue to grow in volume and frequency, making their presence and needs known within the buying cycle. Though the pandemic has supported the growth in adoption of technology like eSignature for global contracting processes, the virtual nature of work has also highlighted the need for:

  • More efficient processes
  • Workflows that can route work to the right skilled resource
  • Cloud-based technology to make connections between Legal and other areas of the business

In many ways, Legal has hesitated, even actively resisted against this transformation, but, recently, this is changing. Many departments, legal leaders, corporate counsel, and legal operations professionals are better understanding the success of these technologies, meaning that, more and more, selling cycles are involving legal stakeholders as buyers or consumers of the technology, not just as approvers of spend.  

Legal buyers are looking for technology platforms that support and compliment the way their business and teams operate, as well as connect into other systems to bridge that historically isolated technical footprint.

The Top 3 Trends in Agreement Cloud for Legal


1) Accelerating Digital Technologies to Legal

We see a continued focus on bringing digital technologies to the legal department, ones that stand comparable to other corporate functions when it comes to capturing data, trends, and visibility.

The platforms and technologies of the Agreement Cloud support the speed of contracting, a shift toward standards, templates and clause libraries, as well as support efficient processes for drafting, negotiating, and approving contracts.

2) Legal Joining the Connected Cloud (even at the Enterprise level)

The value derived from connecting historically isolated business processes and a department, like Legal, to a headline-grabbing function and metrics, such as corporate sales, is enormous.

This holistic view provided by managing all contracts using a single technology or platform results in improved analytics, better workflows, and reduced risk across the entire company.

Via that technical bridge, we can also start to understand the value and influence of legal work for revenue-generating contracts, as well as gain better visibility to the risks at a portfolio and for frequent regulatory impacts.

3) Increased Automation and AI

Most recently, we are seeing a big leap in the interest and understanding of Artificial Intelligence (more commonly known as AI) in contracting processes. Many legal buyers have heard they need it but feel the pressure of internal rumblings from teams who feel threatened by AI. Will it replace lawyers? (Answer? No.)

The reality is that most people aren’t even sure what it is.

Understanding what AI really is, how it works, and ultimately how it can bring value will change the gut reaction many legal teams have towards it. In time, this technology will become known, appreciated, and understood as a natural evolution for CLM. Legal buyers will become more aware of the latest thinking in Smart Contracts, like the power of, for instance.

Currently, most of what’s being marketed as AI is really automation, something that most teams implement without hesitation. Automation has a reputation of augmenting professionals, whereas AI is known to be synonymous with replacing professionals. The latter isn’t true.

Both automation and AI can help the legal team in real-time, adding value by making sure that contracts are created, executed, and managed properly. They can assist legal leaders in optimizing budgets and resources, while maintaining vigilance to managing risk and protecting the company.

Within the Agreement Cloud, we focus on the contracting process itself, and how AI can support the negotiation process, as well as assessing or harvesting value and information from existing contracts and repositories. And, again, while much of “AI” right now is actually automation, getting left behind on this AI/Automation trend would be a mistake. It can help legal swap out the time spent on manually managing contracts with building up better relations with business partners.

The Conclusion

Despite the uncertainty of 2020, the 2021 trends are about as expected. Companies have recognized the need for cloud applications for Legal and are accelerating adopting them, as well as connecting them to other parts of the business.

The drive to stay up to date on all useful technologies, i.e., the adoption of AI/automation technology should not be undervalued ” it can save Legal manual effort, improve security, and more.

Click here to download a copy of Rebecca Yoder’s insights on 2021 Trends in Agreement Cloud for Legal

About Spaulding Ridge

Founded in 2018, Spaulding Ridge is a top management consulting firm, dedicated to client success and helping organizations implement and adopt best-in-cloud technology to solve their most pressing challenges. We provide the office of the CFO financial clarity to Sales and Operational complexity by integrating financial and sales SaaS Platforms.

We help:
• Finance gain control: Increasing financial effectiveness, insight and impact
• Sales increase Productivity: Hitting quota more quickly, consistently and efficiently
• Operations increase Competitiveness: Through productivity rates, customer service outcomes, and efficiency

Questions on how the DocuSign CLM function can make your business more efficient? Contact us at [email protected].