We have discussed the first four stages of contract lifecycle management: contract request, contract authoring, contract approval, and contract execution. Today we will cover the fifth stage of contract lifecycle management: contract storage.

What to Look For in a Contract Management System

Stage #5: The Contract Storage Stage

After a contract is signed and executed, it is then stored within a contract repository. Here at Dock, we utilize a SharePoint-based centralized contract repository that keeps all of your contract secured within a cloud. This allows contract managers to access the document for review at any time.

Various metadata and related documents are saved in the repository so they can be referred to as needed. With the help of a centralized contract repository provided by your contract management solution, users can easily conduct filtered, customized searches to located documents and specific clauses instantly. With indexed searching functionalities, users can easily sort through numerous documents and find exactly what they need, when they need it most.

Your Dock Contract Management System allows you to search through your contract repository’s files with filters pertaining to contract type, party, department, and more. By having an accessible and efficient repository on hand, you can support the storage, monitoring, and tracking of all of your organization’s documents.

A cloud-based repository provides an additional layer of security that manual, paper-based contract storage methods lack. Managing documents and contracts is simple with Dock, as we offer a user-friendly and intelligent platform equipped with premiere storage, contract generation, workflow automation, reporting, and collaboration capabilities.

What are the features of a centralized contract repository?

  1. Levels-based security with configurable permissions-based access controls, ensuring only authorized users can access, retrieve, review, create, and edit your organization’s contracts and related documents
  2. Encryption and storage of your contracts and documents
  3. Version control visibility, giving select users the ability to track the status, location, and revisions of documents, in addition to a full audit trail of document iterations
  4. Filtered, customized searches allowing users to locate contracts and clauses according to full text searches or metadata
  5. Automated alerts and notifications, keeping all employees up to speed on upcoming due dates, milestones, and compliance policies
  6. Workflow automation for enhanced contract lifecycle management

An Overview of Contract Storage

When contracts are executed, they must be kept in a single location so they can be referred to at a later date when needed. Contract lifecycle management requires that documents are available through an easily accessible storage mechanism, where contracts and related documents can be effectively indexed and pertinent metadata can be quickly searched. With the help of contract management software, you can standardize your search terms for each contract type that your organization consistently works with. In addition, you can easily create reports on your contracts whenever needed from your software platform.

Cloud-based contract management and storage has changed the game. Storing documents within a cloud provides a level of security that traditional, manual contract management was never able to provide. In a way, utilizing the cloud is the way of the future (and of the now). By utilizing a cloud-based contract repository, you keep your data secured in a centralized location that is easily accessible on any digital device – meaning you can retrieve and review contracts on the go. An optimal contract repository improves productivity creates organizational efficiency.

Different Methods of Contract Storage

The most common methods of contract storage include the following:

  • Paper-based contract repository: least secure, least efficient, free, vulnerable to misplacement and damage
  • Server-based digital storage: only accessible to employees using a company server, meaning documents are shared via email or by printing
  • Digital and disconnected: document storage in different locations, where various departments store their own contracts in their own storage centers
  • MOST OPTIMAL – Cloud-based, centralized repository: allows authorized users to access and search for documents at any time, any place, on any device

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3 Keys to Improved Security of Contract Storage

No matter the complexity or volume of the contracts at hand, it’s essential that your method of storing contracts includes the three following elements:

  1. Accessibility enabled by configurable security controls
  2. Alerts for access supervision
  3. A standardized auditing procedure

Some additional security measures include two-step authentication and detailed, strong password creation, allowing you to mitigate risk with just some simple changes. You can monitor user access instantly with sign-on notifications and manage contractual risks by maintaining a standardized auditing procedure.

Utilize Robust Search Features in Your Contract Repository

Locating documents within a physical, manual contract repository is incredibly difficult. With a cloud-based, centralized repository, you can maximize your data and the organization of all of your company’s contracts.

Here are some ways you should be able to search for your contracts by:

  • By contract type or vendor
  • By deadlines or conditions
  • By file type (i.e., Word Document or PDF)
  • By full text scanning (OCR)

With an efficient searching mechanism, you can stay proactive and plan ahead for what’s next so you can develop the best strategy to managing your contractual obligations and tasks.

Centralized Counter Party Collaboration

It’s incredibly important to have an optimized, highly secure contract management system that securely stores all of your company’s contracts and related documents. However, how will you effectively collaborate on your contracts and documents? Within your SharePoint-based contract repository, Dock provides you with several collaborative tools that makes it easy to work with others on contracts from one place.

In this manner, your contract storage method assists in the editing and sharing of contracts with contractual parties. With your Office 365 and SharePoint-based contract management system, you can give authorized users access to contracts and folders. Here at Dock, we organize contract management and provide powerful tools to control your contracts and produce results. Increase efficiency and reduce costs today with Dock.

Conclusion

The contract storage stage is one element of contract lifecycle management that should not be overlooked. Your approach to storing all of your organization’s contracts and other related documents should provide increased organization, improved accessibility and security, and ease when tracking, searching for, and collaborating on contracts. At Dock, we want you to have full confidence in the accuracy, compliance, and value of your contract management system.

By centralizing and automating processes for contract management, you can increase time-efficiency and improve the overall experience for all of your stakeholders. The Dock 365 Contract Management System simplifies contract management during the contract storage stage of a contract’s lifecycle. Dock works to empower your contract management team, vendors, and clients with robust search, storage, and collaboration features.

Ready to get started today? Reach out to us to learn more about our  Dock 365 Contract Management System. If you would like more information, we welcome you to schedule a free demo with us today.

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