Choosing a contract management tool for your enterprise can be a daunting task and it requires careful consideration. Enterprises should spend time doing a thorough evaluation of the contract management vendors available on the market. There are numerous contract management vendors that are platform independent and there are vendors that are dependent on platforms like Microsoft SharePoint, Office 365, Microsoft dynamics, Salesforce and many others. There are enormous advantages of choosing a contract management solution that blends with your existing IT platform infrastructure to deploy the contract management solution. By utilizing your existing platform, enterprises are able to achieve greater cost efficiency than spending on another third party platform.

Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365 are the core products that are used for collaboration by most of the fortune 500 organizations. Collaboration is the success key for driving the contract lifecycle management process in a holistic manner and nothing beats SharePoint and Office 365 when it comes to collaboration.

The global acceptance of SharePoint and Office 365 by enterprises makes it easy for legal and contract teams to work with tools that they are already comfortable with when it comes to managing sensitive data such as contracts. Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) states that one in two corporations use SharePoint for their enterprise content management (ECM) purposes. The best part of using SharePoint and Office 365 for managing enterprise contracts is the integration with Microsoft tools such as Office, Outlook, Active Directory and Azure which allows for effective data storage, power document search functionality, collaborative workflow and data security.

Here are 8 good reasons for choosing SharePoint and Office 365 as the platform for meeting your contract management needs.

1. Repository

SharePoint and Office 365 provides an excellent repository for content such as contract records/documents and other contract supporting documents. It also stores all of the milestones, obligations, user profiles and other information in one single repository. Legal and contract teams can search, filter or access various default or custom views to access contracts from the repository.

2. Integration with other Microsoft Tools

SharePoint and Office 365 have a tight integration with other Microsoft tools such as Word, Active Directory and Outlook which can help legal and contract teams to easily draft, review, track changes and assign user permissions to their enterprise contract management process.

3. Highly Secure

SharePoint and Office 365 has the top notch security system in place authentication, group and user roles that makes it a strong tool to handle sensitive data like contracts. It also provides the entire security audit trail which can allow the legal and contract teams to know who accessed, modified, deleted and other actions that take place in the system.

4. Scalability

SharePoint and Office 365 have unmatched global scalability which makes it a perfect platform for large enterprise and geo-distributed deployments. Both these platforms can support up to 500 million documents which is what most large enterprises would ever need.

5. Powerful Search

SharePoint and Office 365 provides one of the most sophisticated search capability to search across vast amounts of content that includes data and documents. Both these platforms support multilingual search support and powerful search filters.

6. Collaboration

SharePoint and Office 365 platforms are known for its document collaboration capability which allows enterprises to share confidential documents securely both inside and outside the enterprise. SharePoint and Office 365 deliver a dynamic co-authoring environment and is very useful for managing the entire contract processes in real-time such as authoring, reviewing, negotiations, addendums, sign-off, execution and compliance. Productivity is increased by allowing contract team members to access and edit their sections of the contract document in a timely manner.

7. Document Version Control

SharePoint and Office 365 have excellent capability to handle contract document versioning, document approval and check-out to control contract document versions throughout their life cycle. Both these platforms help the contract team to keep a track on the changes that happen to their contract document in real-time. The previous versions of the contract documents are stored securely and can be accessed by the contract team members for reference or editing at any point of the contract document lifecycle.

8. Metadata Management

Common Contract Metadata such as Business area, Contract type, Contract title, Contract number, Contract value, Start date, End date, Renewal date, etc. can be managed centrally efficiently using SharePoint and Office 365 platforms. With SharePoint and Office 365 you can organize and search metadata as per your business requirement. Changes can be done at a centralized place and the changes can be easily implemented to the lower levels. For example, Contract Administrators can change the metadata and the same changes will be automatically applied to the lower levels.

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