Every organization that has a large contract portfolio will rely on its contract management team for successful monitoring of each legal agreement through the various stages of the contract lifecycle, such as contract negotiations and signing. The number of contracts, value, risk potential, and complexity of such agreements will determine what protocols should be set in place for the most effective approach to managing your organization’s contracts. There are several different tools provided by modern contract management software solutions that will assist your contract management team and your legal team when overseeing contracts.
Contracts are at the core of any thriving business or organization. However, legal teams often work on contracts using manual processes as opposed to leveraging a software-based approach to contract management. Your organization’s legal team can benefit from a contract lifecycle management (CLM) system to help systematize your daily legal tasks while increasing productivity and efficiency. Additionally, contract management software can help you reduce costs by expediting contract lifecycles. This is made possible by way of a centralized, cloud-secure contract repository. Using your repository, you can easily search and gather important information, locate opportunities, and take strategic action that will allow you to speed up contract lifecycles.
With all of this in mind, let’s discuss several ways that contract management software will advance your contracting processes and assist your legal team.
For an in-depth overview of the contract intake process for your legal team, click here.
One of the most common goals of contract management teams and legal teams is to decrease the average length of the contract lifecycle. This timeframe specifically refers to the time required to transition a contract request into a signed and executed agreement, keeping business momentum on a forward trajectory. With contract management software, your business can employ powerful tools including preapproved contract templates and clause libraries, workflow automation, self-service contract features, and integrations to increase the efficiency and speed of each contract lifecycle. The worst scenario is for a lead to be left waiting on standby entirely too long for a contract to be prepared. Thanks to contract management software, authoring, reviewing, sharing, and signing contracts becomes a process that can be completed within a few minutes as opposed to days and weeks. With a dedicated software solution, you’ll gain the confidence that your leads are satisfied with your service since you know you’ll be overdelivering with speed, accuracy, and efficiency each time.
A key risk-mitigative way that contract management software can drive business results is by increasing the accuracy of your contract content and of each phase of the contract lifecycle. An increase in contract accuracy can lead to a potential increase in customer and vendor loyalty. By ensuring full accuracy of all the fine details associated with your contracts, you maximize their value and precision. Imagine receiving a contract full of errors – would you want to work with that provider again if they can’t get the fine details correct? Contract errors are often indicators of larger organizational faults and issues. The more you produce contracts with errors, the higher the likelihood to cultivate a poor reputation for your company, as well as reduce your credibility and customer/vendor trust and loyalty. However, contract management software can leverage saved contract data and information from custom contract intake forms to auto-populate into contract fields, reducing the need for manual re-entry and the possibility of human error.
Contract automation is one of the most powerful features of contract management software. With flexible automated contract lifecycle workflows, you can customize and configure the exact sequence of events and activities for your contracts to follow. There are several essential stages to the contract lifecycle, so standardizing each stage can support you in managing risk and in maximizing productivity. With your software solution, you can automate contract authoring, renewals, notifications, and several other activities. To save time and simplify complex processes, or to take care of low-priority recurring tasks, look no further than contract automation.
Boosting contract visibility can help you ensure version control, and that all of your employees are using the most current versions of your contract templates and preapproved clauses. If your employees work remotely, then providing them access to contract templates and clauses via your cloud repository supports them in continuing their efforts no matter their geographical location. Contract management software also offers reporting and data analysis features, where you can generate custom reports based on specific contract metrics. Running these reports on an automated schedule can assist you in increasing contract transparency and visibility throughout your organization – keeping everyone in the know of contract performance and contract data relative to ongoing objectives and business strategies.
Contract management teams oftentimes struggle to properly manage all of their contract tasks and responsibilities with timelines. Many teams continue to utilize manual processes like spreadsheets and shared drives to monitor their legal agreements, clauses, and deadlines associated with each contract. By tracking these details manually, you waste time and make the process that much harder and risk-prone.
With contract management software, you can use various features to streamline contract management. For example, electronic signature integrations are an important addition that any contract management team should use. With an electronic signature solution like DocuSign, Adobe Sign, or Sertifi eSignature, you can expedite contract execution – especially now in a widely remote working environment. Our Contract Management System is integrated with the aforementioned electronic signature providers for an additional touch of efficiency.
With contract management software, you remove the tendency to develop silos of information, and you can help share your contract tasks with other departments on your digital solution that is accessible at any time, any place. In addition, these software solutions allow users to locate contracts instantly whenever a contract-related query is raised. One particular standout feature of contract management software is how it can provide security and protection to your organization’s sensitive data, and a centralized system allows for just that.
Permission-based access and user roles assist in risk mitigation by giving you to the ability to assign levels of access throughout your contract management system, meaning you will only allow authorized personnel to view agreements that are relevant to their role. In this manner, contract managers can fully control their contracting processes while allowing more people to help at the same time.
Reporting is made simple with a contract management solution. When creating contract reports manually, it takes an exorbitant amount of time to organize and synthesize contract data. However, contract management software can generate customized reports on a regularly scheduled basis, allowing you and your team to automatically receive key contract data to your email. Keeping executives, stakeholders, and department heads in the know of the most updated contract information regarding key contracts is incredibly simple with the numerous reporting capabilities provided by your software solution.
Locating keywords, important terms, clauses, and even contracts themselves can take a great deal of time. This unfortunately can cause other critical legal responsibilities and tasks to be tossed to the side. A user-friendly contract management software system can help you locate relevant documents in your centralized repository with advanced filter and search capabilities, allowing your legal team to save time, energy, and resources.
Gain peace of mind with a contract management solution that removes the guesswork. When an organization works with a high quantity of contracts or works with contracts that are high stakes/risk and high value, maintaining an efficient and risk-mitigative process can be taxing. One small error could lead to significant negative impacts on your organization, so leveraging a software solution can help add a layer of protection.
For your legal department, we suggest leveraging automated alerts to ensure all obligations and key dates are being met, so you never miss fulfilling your responsibilities or miss contract expiry and renewal dates. By storing contracts within your centralized, cloud-secure repository, you’ll know exactly where your contracts are located at all times. To add, contract management software pinpoints important dates and clauses within contracts that are critical for legal professionals to keep in mind, helping to protect against the impacts of human error when keywords and clauses aren’t notated.
In essence, contract management software is key to risk mitigation, allowing your legal team to see which contracts are near expiration, which contracts require renegotiation, and which contracts and clauses require review. These features allow your legal department to skip past many unnecessary stresses while practicing some key risk mitigation strategies.
Collaborating and communicating with several employees can prove to be difficult at times, especially when working on high-stakes, complex legal agreements. When working with employees remotely, time zones can add a bit of a challenge to developing an effective channel of communication. For example, version control can be an important issue when considering collaboration, where monitoring various edits, reviews, and contract iterations is critical.
Contract management software offers your legal team several advanced, collaboration-minded features to keep employees on the same page – literally. Your employees will be able to work on the most current contract versions at any time, allowing them to easily track changes, redline, and review contracts and associated documents. Gone are the days of email chains and back-and-forth now that you can use a centralized system perfectly suited for cross-department communication and collaboration.
Many legal departments today still review their contracts manually. Locating contracts and developing contract reports can take tons of time and can increase the likelihood of human error. However, contract management software can do all of the tasks required in a successful and productive contract review. Increase the accuracy, speed, and efficiency of your contract reviews and approvals with your software’s flexible automated contract workflows. In addition, you can configure automated notifications to keep the appropriate stakeholders in the loop of the next steps and required actions for completion.
Your contract management software also serves as an excellent platform for communication and collaboration on your documents, centralizing all discussions. With redlining capabilities, in-document commenting, content-locking, and other key features, you’ll find your approvals running smoother than ever before. With optimal character recognition (OCR), you can identify key dates, important terms, and clauses immediately. These software solutions will only make contracting more powerful and effective, giving your legal team more time to spend on other responsibilities and strategic initiatives.
For a detailed contract review checklist, click here.
The legal industry is considered to be an industry that is weary to transition to new technological systems, as some manual systems seem to be tried and true. This may be because legal operations typically require a systematic, linear, and manual working process. While this approach can work, legal technology can seriously up-level and improve efficiency – leading to serious results.
Legal technology today is evolving and finding its way into several industries as it improves and advances over time. In this manner, legal professionals could be assisted by the centralization and digitization of data, where all their organization’s contracts are kept in one place rather than in filing cabinets or in shared drives. A cloud-based digital contract repository solves this problem, removing the stress involved when a contract is lost or temporarily missing. Your repository is accessible to all of your employees and other authorized users at any time, any place in the world, on any digital device.
This means that legal teams who leverage contract management software can gain a competitive edge over others who currently do not use a software solution for their contracts. Contract management software doesn’t only allow users to access an organization’s contracts at any time, but it allows them to stay up to date on their contracts with automated reminders and notifications. For the most secure and productive approach to contract management that relieves stress and unnecessary pressures from your legal team, leveraging a user-friendly contract management system is the best investment you could possibly make.
For a comprehensive guide to legal contract management, click here.
Signatures are at the core of every contract, as they are required for a contract to be considered legally enforceable. In a manual contract signing process, you spend time and resources on printing, physically signing, faxing, scanning, and snail-mailing contracts back and forth. This process can take up to several weeks when shipping delays and other unforeseen bottlenecks are accounted for. However, leveraging electronic signature integrations into your contract management system can support rapid, accurate, and secure contract signing. This results in reductions in turnaround times and contract lifecycle times. You’ll also close more deals at faster rates. With contract management software equipped with electronic signature integrations, your leads can sign contracts on their mobile devices with the click of a button. Leveraging a digital alternative to your contract signing process results in saved time, resources, money, and improvements in the client/vendor experience. Here at Dock, we partner with leading electronic signature providers like DocuSign, Adobe Sign, and Sertifi.
Give your legal team the best contract management software so they can perform their responsibilities with the best assistance available. Dock offers an affordable and user-friendly approach to contract management that leverages your existing Microsoft 365 infrastructure. If you're in the market for a dedicated contract lifecycle management software solution, reach out and we would love to assist you with a complimentary demo of our solution.
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