6 Things to Look for when Choosing Contract Management Software

Written by Quentin Russell

Let's be honest; contract lifecycle management isn't fun. It can be a long and tedious process that leaves everyone involved with a headache. There are a ton of small, menial tasks required that can gum it up and open the door to mistakes in the contracts or their management. However, do not despair; there is a solution:  contract management software.

Contract management software automates all those menial tasks, reducing human error in many capacities, and simplifies complex contract workflows. 

There are a lot of companies offering contract management software. Many offer similar features, and a few companies are leaders in the space as they create innovative software such as artificial intelligence (AI).  This article lists features of the best innovative software available in contract management system software.

Foundation of Contract Management Software 

A lot of people evaluate contract management software based who built it, without considering how it was built. Contract management software can be built as a separate system, or built on another platform. 

Contract software built from the ground up tend to be more expensive and boast a steep learning curve. In contrast, contract management software built using platforms like SharePoint tend to be more affordable and only require an understanding of the platform.

Contract management systems can be installed on pre-existing platforms or acquired simultaneous to a tenant platform.    

Deployment Times 

A lot of companies boast that their contract management software will revolutionize contract management for your company. Be aware that deployment times vary.  6-12 months to reach full deployment has occurred, however 4-6 weeks is the most ideal deployment time.  If deployment is less than about four weeks, perhaps the quality of the software is low. 

Make sure to see a demo of the contract management system before making the investment to purchase it for your organization.  Also, make sure that your staff gets the appropriate amount of time to learn the system.  Learning the system should be a free-of-charge feature of the contract management system provider.

Deployment Pitfalls

What some contract management system providers don’t tell you is that deploying the system might take anywhere up to six months to even a year. Even if it’s just two months, that’s way too long to wait. You need contract management software that you can hit the ground running with. Ideally, you should be looking for contract software that can be deployed in less than six weeks. The sweet spot exists somewhere between the four-to-six week mark. Any longer than that and it’s too slow. Any shorter than that and the system likely isn’t thorough enough to meet your needs. You could even say that a four-to-six week deployment time is the “goldilocks zone” for contract management software implementation. 

Training 

In a perfect world you should be able to jump into a contract management system and get going. Unfortunately, that’s generally not going to be the case. All contract management software has little idiosyncrasies that you need to learn. Additionally, users in your company are also going to have varied levels of technological competence. Basically, training is needed from the contract management system to the users within your organization. You should be on the lookout for contract management software providers that offer free training for their systems. It shouldn’t be up to you and your team to puzzle things out. Further, you’ll want to find a provider that offers free ongoing training as you’ll inevitably be bringing in new users. Companies that offer contract software without training likely aren’t invested in your ongoing success. That’s why you should always look for free, ongoing training when looking for contract management software.  

Ease of Use 

While some training is going to be required, contract management software shouldn’t require a college course to use. The framework of the system should be easy to navigate and simple to use. The training that the contract management system provider offers should only point out functionality. Your users shouldn’t have to hold their nose, chant a magic phrase, and hop on one leg to get simple things done. Contract software that requires a song and dance to use isn’t going to benefit your company. It’s going to do the opposite. A complicated system might put people off using it. They’ll see others struggling with it and not want to even try learning it. This creates a situation where only a few people know how to use the system. If employees are sick or leave the company you’re left with an overcomplicated system that’s costing your company money that no one knows how to use. That’s why you should be looking for how easy the system is to use.  

Support 

Things are going to go wrong with any contract management software you decide to go with. Someone’s going to make a mistake, or a bug might pop up. Problems are inevitable. What separates different types of contract software is what support the provider offers. There are plenty of questions you need to ask regarding this. 

  • Do you need to pay for support or is it free?
  • When is support available? 
  • How quickly does the company’s support team get back to you?

These are all factors to consider and ask about during the sales process. Ideally, the company should offer unlimited, free, and timely support. The quality of support they offer should be high, and it should be thorough. No canned responses. The support you get should be able help you navigate even the toughest of issues with your contract management software.  

Integrations 

Your company is probably using more than just contract management software. It’s likely you have a whole suite of tools and platforms you use. Having to memorize logins and switch between different platforms can waste a lot of time over a long period. However, contract management software that offers large number of tool integrations can help that out. This can help break down any information or document silos and make contract management a lot easier. You can log into a contract management system using one set of login information and have access to all of your tools within one platform. This saves you time and helps cut down on a lot of the mistakes that can creep into the contract management process.  

Conclusion 

These are just some of the things that you’re looking for in contract management software. If you’re looking for a list of features you should look for, make sure to check out this blog we wrote at the end of 2020. It gives a comprehensive view of what to look for in contract management software.  

If you have any questions, or you’d like to take a look at Dock 365’s SharePoint Contract Management System make sure to fill out the form to the right. You can schedule a free, 30-minute demo with someone from our team. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have and explore how our contract management software can help you.  

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