2021 is just around the corner, and that means it's time to start thinking about the tools you're using. One tool in particular you should be lookin at is your contract management system. Contract management is an important part of any business. If your CMS isn't making contract life cycle management easy for your company, now might be the time to start looking for a new one. To help you with that, we took the time to compile a list of 11 of the most "must-have" features for a contract management system in 2021.
Easy to Use Dashboard
While a contract management system having a clean, easy-to-understand dashboard doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be effective, it is a pretty good indication. Users need to be able to log into your solution and get a grasp of what they should be doing. You need a CMS that provides users a home dashboard that shows an overview of the important information they need. This includes data such as the number of active contracts, the total value, and which contracts are expiring soon. All of this important so users can know what needs their attention so they can jump into doing their work.
Central Contract Repository
Organization is key for effectively managing all of the different contracts your company works with through their lifecycles. One of the best ways to do this is to use a contract management system with a central contract repository. This offers users quick and easy access to contracts and contract data. Your team can now spend less time searching through OneDrives and email inboxes and more time working with contracts. This allows users - and your organization by extension - to be faster and more flexible in the work they do.
Document Storage and Organization
Contract management goes beyond just the contracts you're working with. It also extends to the documents surrounding the contracts you and your team are working on. This includes things like the Scope of Work (SOW), schedules, cost estimates, and more. It's important that users be able to easily find and work on them. A contract management system that helps you sort and organize your associated documents can be a great help. You should really look for one that allows you to store documents under the contract listing and not just in a document library. This way, you can make finding important contract documents a cinch.
Depending on what your organization does, you might be working with anywhere from a dozen to hundreds of contracts. It's important that you be able to sort through all of these and find the contracts you're looking for. A contract management system with full search functionality can help you with that. No more scrolling through pages and pages of contracts. Instead, a CMS with search capabilities can allow you to search for the exact contract and save time. This is certainly a must-have for any company looking to streamline contract life cycle management.
It's important that you and your users are up to date with important updates about your contracts. Whether it's about key terms, obligations, or the expiration, you need to be in the loop. That's why you need to find a contract management system that is going to alert your users at important times and dates. This way, you don't risk running into compliance issues from not fulfilling an obligation or not being prepared as a contract expires. Instead, you'll be fully aware and prepared to take whatever actions necessary to ensure a smooth contract management process.
Monitoring and Reporting
Just like you want to know what's going on in each of your contracts individually, you also want to be able to know the status of your contracts overall. It's important to know whether your contract management process is healthy and working properly. That's why you need a contract management system that monitors and reports that. Any CMS you choose for 2021 should offer a full array of monitoring and reporting capabilities. You should be able to find out everything that's going on with little to no effort. Any system that doesn't offer that isn't worth your time.
Digital is the way of the future - something that's especially true for the contract management process. The old ways of gathering approvals and signatures are too slow. You need a system that makes it easy for executives and leaders to sign off on contracts and important documents. A contract management system with e-signature integration like DocuSign is a must-have for 2021. This is a fast way to get important figure's consent on contracts and documents. Not only that, but it provides plenty of benefits including security, verification, and full audit capabilities for your business.
Creating documents from scratch takes time. You have to dig through them with a fine tooth comb to make sure that you've found any mistakes or issues in the contract. That's why your business should look for a contract management system that can help you move away from this. A CMS system that makes it easy for your company to create and use templates for your contracts can do a lot for your business. Instead of spending time building and tweaking a contract, you can plug the important information into your templates and get going. This is fast, efficient, and a must-have feature you should expect from your CMS provider in 2021.
Human error is one of the biggest issues that comes up in the contract management process. That's why you need to be on the lookout for as many ways to remove the human element as possible. A contract management system with automated workflows is the best way to do that. Instead of employees manually notifying an approver when a contract needs signed, a CMS with workflows will send a notification without the employee having to remember. This can help with any issues with people forgetting aspects of the process and eliminate any handoff gaps you may be having.
As we move into 2021, it's important that our tools be as modular and flexible as possible. To that end, you need tools that can connect and work with your other tools. A contract management system that doesn't talk to your other solutions ends up wasting more time than it saves. That's why you need to find a CMS that allows you to integrate any internal or third-party tools that you're using. That way, you can ensure that your data is the same across all platforms. This lets you move seamlessly from platform to platform without having to worry about any issues or discrepancies.
Contract management isn't a fun process, but that doesn't mean it has to be a hard process. One of the best ways to make the contract management process manageable is to use a modern, intuitive contract management system that fits your needs. Make sure to look for the features above and you'll be on your way to finding a system that can help you take your business to the next level in 2021.
If you have any questions about contract management systems, or you're interested in booking a demo of Dock's Contract Management system, fill out the form to the right to schedule a free, 30-minute demo with our team. We'd love to answer any questions you may have and show you how our system can revolutionize your contract management process.
Written by Quentin Russell
Quentin Russell is a Content Specialist with knowledge of Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing.