Contract lifecycle management is a process that plays a crucial role in the success of any organization. And as time passes, many technological advancements and robust innovations that streamline contracting continue to rise to the surface to empower contract managers and business owners. To keep your organization competitive in the contract management sphere, we have developed a list of contract management tools most conducive to enhance contract results and productivity.
#1: End-to-End Contract Lifecycle Management Software
Every organization should leverage a comprehensive contract lifecycle management solution that systematizes every stage of the contract lifecycle. Today, many companies utilize outdated methods to manage and store their contracts – only leading to increased risk, noncompliance, missed deadlines, and lost documents. As 2022 approaches, you need to ensure that your company has everything it needs to optimize every contract’s lifecycle. Contract lifecycle management software can help you scale your business and provide transparency into your contracting processes. In addition, contract lifecycle management software automates several processes for your contracting team and other involved departments, allowing your organization to allocate hands-on efforts strategically while saving time and money.
Have you ever considered all the features that contract lifecycle management software could support your organization with? Here are just a few highlighted features that will certainly help your contract management process:
- Customizable contract intake and request forms
- Automated, flexible contract workflows
- Preapproved contract template and clause libraries for easy contract authoring
- A centralized, cloud-secure contract platform for communication and collaboration during negotiations, reviews, approvals, and more
- A digital repository for contract storage and retrieval
- Custom reporting features
- A proactive and detailed contract dashboard
- Contract expiration and auto renewal notifications
- Audit trails, permissions-based access, and other risk mitigative/security capabilities
Employing a dedicated contract lifecycle management software solution can support your organization by reducing contract lifecycle times and expediting tasks with automated workflows and much more. To increase compliance and results while decreasing risks and costs, leveraging a contract lifecycle management software solution is the best decision your organization could make.
#2: A Cloud Secure, SharePoint-based Contract Repository
To effectively oversee and store all of your company’s contracts, you should strongly consider adopting a contract repository that uses SharePoint as the central storage platform. Manual contract storage only results in lost contracts, noncompliance, and an increase of risk. Today, several organizations use an outdated approach to contract storage (think filing cabinets and email chains) that complicate the ability to maintain the security of your contract data, locate key details and documents, and properly control contract versions.
To gain the competitive edge, a SharePoint-based contract repository that supports the storage and organization of your contracts is the key. For example, in your SharePoint, you can configure permissions, enable version control settings, monitor contract performance and status, leverage custom filters for rapid searching, redline and review contracts easily, and much more.
During a contract’s lifecycle, sensitive contract data is managed and stored in your contract lifecycle management software. To protect your confidential data, permissions-based access controls are available to ensure that only authorized users can view and retrieve your contracts and associated documents.
Ever considered transitioning to a digital contract repository? Here are five key reasons why a cloud-secure digital contract repository can support your organization’s contract lifecycle management:
- Increase security with cloud storage
- Leverage audit trails and contract dashboards to improve transparency and accountability
- Centralize your processes (i.e., negotiations, reviews and redlining, approvals, etc.)
- Rapidly retrieve contracts and maximize productivity
- Standardize contract storage
To make the most of your company’s contracts, a cloud secure repository is exactly what your company needs in combination with cutting-edge contract lifecycle management software.
#3: Flexible Contract Workflow Automation
Imagine managing every step of the contract lifecycle manually. With a manual approach to contract lifecycle management, you waste time and money overseeing mundane tasks that could otherwise be automated. In the case that bottlenecks and other delays occur, you’ll find other processes within the contract lifecycle to be impacted – slowing the entirety of a given contract’s lifecycle. This negatively influences your return on investment and the duration of your contract lifecycles. As we approach 2022, we recommend contract managers to leverage software that can automate several tasks and regular, administrative processes.
To alleviate the pains associated with manual contract workflow management, we suggest employing contract lifecycle management software that includes flexible, automated contract workflows. Contract workflow automation sends alerts to the right employees and departments to complete contract-related actions within the workflow – allowing for systematized contract lifecycles. With workflow automation, you can configure contract notifications and reminders to keep the right people proactively aware in each stage of the contract lifecycle.
Automated contract workflows give contract managers the ability to use:
- Custom reporting and data analysis features
- Audit trails
- Redlining tools
- Centralized collaboration for negotiations and approvals
- Electronic signature integrations
- Contract auto renewal, expiration, and milestone reminders
- Detailed audit trail histories
#4: Simplified Contract Authoring
Have you dealt with the frustration of drafting your documents without the assistance of contract management software? The rate of productivity within your organization’s contract management processes takes a steep drop with a manual contract authoring method due to the time-consuming nature of drafting every new contract. When several people and departments are involved in the creation and review of a given contract, ensuring that the contract draft gets into the right hands at the right time without software can be complicated.
Consider all the factors involved when creating a new contract from scratch – copying and pasting content, downloading contract templates, retrieving key information, manual data entry, and ensuring compliance… the list goes on. A manual approach to drafting your contracts further complicates version control and compliance, particularly in the case when contract clauses and templates are unregulated and aren’t current.
With an automated contract authoring process, you simplify many of the processes involved in developing an accurate, compliant legal agreement. Not only do you simplify contract authoring, but you save energy, money, and time by automating this stage of the contract lifecycle. An automated approach to contract authoring allows contract managers and legal departments to centralize and systematize each contract in a manner that improves compliance management and collaboration while mitigating against human error and risks.
A standardized contract authoring process can assist contract managers with auto population and merging capabilities of preapproved clauses and data into contract templates. This allows for time-efficient contract authoring within your user-friendly interface. In addition, exporting documents into various file formats is made possible with contract lifecycle management software during your drafting and revising stages. Maintaining version control is efficient as well with automated contract management software, ensuring that every contributor to the authoring process is literally kept on the same page.
Another key item to note in regard to contract authoring software is how contract managers can configure permissions and rules so that only select individuals can be involved in contract creation. Approval routing and audit trails additionally help to ensure a smooth document authoring process. Optimize contract management with secure contract assembly and storage and you’ll surely reap several benefits quickly by automating this stage of the contract lifecycle.
#5: Electronic Signature Integrations
DocuSign, Adobe Sign, and Sertifi serve as some of today’s leading electronic signature providers that can support your organization in the contract signing and execution process. Electronic signature solutions expedite contract signing and approvals, allowing for quicker turnaround times and contract lifecycles. For example, once a negotiation is complete, you can immediately send contracts and associated documents off for signing within moments with just a few clicks. Your centralized contract repository serves as the single location where communication and collaboration occur on every contract, making it easy to oversee the status of documents during the signing and execution stage of the contract lifecycle.
There are several pitfalls to manual contract signing, and e-signature integrations have evolved to increase the speed and efficiency of this critical step. E-signature providers give contract managers a secure and rapid way to collect signatures for all of their agreements, where contract managers can send off unlimited files for signing in bulk. One of the most incredible aspects of e-signature integrations is how contracts can be signed on-the-go. So long as the signer has a digital device and internet connection, they can sign virtually any document at any time – any place. By integrating your contract lifecycle management software with an electronic signature provider, you can expedite and streamline contract signing.
Contracts lifecycle management is optimized with the five tools mentioned, and we highly recommend leveraging each of these key tools for a secure and successful contracting process. Dock 365 offers end-to-end contract lifecycle management software, a cloud-secure and SharePoint-based contract repository, flexible contract workflow automation, simplified contract authoring, and electronic integrations so that your company optimize and streamline all aspects of contract management. Gain the competitive advantage today with Dock 365.
Learn more about our Dock 365 Contract Management System here.
Learn more about Contract Lifecyle Management (CLM) Software here.
For more information, we welcome you to schedule a free demo with us today.
Written by Lindsey Paulk
Lindsey Paulk is a Content Writer in Jacksonville, Florida that specializes in digitally communicating all-things contract management.