In the wake of lockdowns and the coronavirus, remote work is the new norm for many businesses. Companies had to alter their processes and adopt advanced systems to enable employees to work from anywhere. That is why organizations must consider more efficient ways to manage their contracts when all employees work remotely. Moreover, since contracts deal with crucial clients and sensitive information, organizations must take special care to ensure data security.
It’s next to impossible to keep track of all the data, with documents and information changing hands throughout the contract lifecycle. The good news is that organizations with contract management solutions are already ahead of the curve in data protection. Anywhere, anytime employees can effectively collaborate on the contract management lifecycle from within a single platform. Here's how a contract management system's advanced features can aid in establishing contract security in a remote working environment.
Storing contractual agreements in hard drives and folders isn’t feasible while working remotely. All the involved parties must be on the same page and require real-time access to documents and information. Contract management software makes it possible with a cloud-based digital repository. Organizations can safely store all their active contracts and related documents in a centralized location accessible from anywhere, anytime.
Contract management software doesn’t merely provide digital storage. The CMS system converts any physical document into searchable, dynamic contract data using its sophisticated AI and OCR capabilities. It ensures that those involved in the contract management lifecycle can access and share relevant information without worrying about data leakage or unauthorized access. The system allows businesses to view, organize, and filter contract documents and data according to party, contract type, project, organization, etc.
Utilizing digital repositories for centralizing data and establishing version control promotes collaboration and productivity among employees during remote work. Moreover, Dock 365 introduces its contract management platform within the pre-existing Microsoft 365 environment. As a result, businesses are free to maintain critical contract information on their internal systems. They control how every piece of data moves through the contract lifecycle. It eliminates the scope of damage, loss, or corruption of contract data in third-party sites.
To ensure the smooth progression of the contract lifecycle while working remotely, contract requests and intake processes must maintain absolute accuracy and precision. Unlike conventional methods, contract management software provides an error-free contract intake process. Even for third-party paper, compliance, and competency are guaranteed by using standard contract request forms. The contract management system offers custom fields for party names, dates, contacts, values, and other crucial terms and information. It eliminates the delay and human error caused by other forms of communication.
The quality and competency of an agreement heavily depend upon the information gathered during the contract request and intake procedure. Moreover, organizations collect essential supporting documentation during this stage. Therefore, there’s no room for manual entry or missing crucial information in the contract intake process. Fortunately, contract management software enables users to capture and import data to route the contract generation process to eliminate unnecessary delays or errors.
Furthermore, the encrypted intake forms used by advanced contract management solutions guarantee that the information requested never leaves the secure contract network and prevents unauthorized access to contract data. Encrypting data adds an extra layer of security and guards against hacking when sending contract data to third parties or portals. With the entire operation within the centralized platform and limited to authorized users, there’s improved data security even for remote work environments.
Whether sell-side or buy-side agreements, enterprises are moving away from traditional paper contracts to quick and safe solutions. When working remotely, organizations can’t afford to depend on wet signatures to onboard clients or vendors. That is why scaling businesses now largely depends on electronic signature solutions for user-friendly contract collaboration and execution. Secure e-signature integrations available through contract management software enable users to sign contracts from any place and on any device, speeding up the contract approval and signing process. They also aid in establishing contract data security in remote work settings.
E-signature solutions extend beyond simplifying the work for the legal team. They enable users to execute agreements without ever leaving the safety of the contract management system. E-signatures solutions keep track of the dates, locations, and signatories of contracts as they move swiftly through the contract lifecycle to reach the right parties for signing. These factors together help to ensure contract security. It helps to maintain an accurate audit trail and ensures increased accountability and reduced scope for data leakage.
Organizations can guarantee optimum effectiveness and performance without compromising data security through cross-functional contract visibility. While in most organizations, the responsibility of the contract lifecycle rests solely on the legal department, it doesn’t have to be so. Incorporating relevant parties and departments into the contracting process enables businesses to derive maximum value from contract agreements. Especially for remote work settings, shared goals and responsibilities for contract management can lighten the load on legal counsel. One of the primary roadblocks to contract management collaboration in a remote work setting is the lack of proper communication and a common platform.
Businesses can overcome these challenges by adopting flexible contract management software. Through the centralized platform, departments across the organization can contribute, collaborate, and oversee the contract lifecycle without stepping on each other’s toes. Additionally, the automated contract workflows guarantee that the agreements reach the appropriate stakeholders at the right time. Thus, the relevant parties have access to real-time contract data without the scope of data leakage or breaches.
Another key strategy to achieve cross-functional contract visibility without compromising data security is integrating contract management software with relevant business apps. Integration with CRM or ERP solutions like Microsoft Business Central, Salesforce, or Microsoft Dynamics enables users to manage the contracting process from either system. Thus, the sales, vendor, or finance team can oversee the contract lifecycle and access data without switching platforms. It saves time and provides well-deserved respite from having to resort to mail to exchange contract information. Consequently, there’s no fear of sensitive data reaching the wrong hands or getting lost in long email chains.
Ego conflicts, data breaches, and miscommunications are unavoidable when multiple parties are involved in the contracting process, especially in a remote setting. That is why organizations must clearly define the roles and responsibilities of every individual contributing to the contract management lifecycle. It perpetuates efficiency and data protection for scaling organizations with countless contributors.
Fortunately, digital and dynamic contract management solution has configurable dashboards and role-based access to make the job easier. It allows businesses to delegate contract management tasks and allocate power across the organization depending on their rank, role, and seniority. Organizations can also set up dashboards for customers, vendors, and finances to prevent duplication and information overload. Thus, only relevant parties come across the contractual agreement, and the sensitive data remains safe throughout the lifecycle.
For instance, Dock contract management software provides three-tier access levels; owners, readers, and visitors. So there’s clear accountability for every step taken in the contract lifecycle. Owners have complete control over the contract management platform and processes. On the other hand, the readers have editing permission for the contract lifecycle. Lastly, visitor permission provides read-only access to third parties. It is pretty convenient for businesses when negotiating high-risk, high-value contracts.; protecting against unauthorized entry and improper information use. It is added data protection for organizations working from all over the world.
Contract audit trails provide a reliable chronological record of all actions taken or tasks completed concerning a contract. It enables businesses to keep track of who did what and when as the legal agreement progresses throughout the contract lifecycle. Fortunately, contract management software provides a comprehensive audit trail of all contract and vendor management records, helping your business improve data security even in remote settings. These organization-level trials empower enterprises to hold teams accountable for outcomes and protect data from breaches or leaks.
Contract management software offers real-time document status to guarantee that everyone is on the same page. The relevant parties can receive automated alerts for alterations to the contractual agreement during the negotiation and review phase. As a result, companies can meticulously record every change made to a contract. It ensures that important information does not lapse through the cracks while working in remote environments.
Everyone who works from home or in remote settings faces several business challenges. When organizations transition to a work-from-home culture, they are expected to maintain high productivity without compromising security or efficiency. The good news is that contract management software comes with the necessary tools and technology to achieve data protection at every level.
From centralized storage to authorized access, these user-friendly features enable users to manage contracts more securely. They can easily align with electronic signatures to execute contracts within the contract management platform. Apart from providing respite from out-of-date contract management practices, contract management solution is the way to maximize value and data protection.
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