Automated workflows reduce time and bottlenecks

Automated workflows reduce time and bottlenecks

The question of “where is the contract?” often arises during any review or approval process. Many times the answer is that ‘Bob’ is reviewing it. Perhaps Bob never received his email, lost and/or deleted the email, accidentally spilled coffee on the paper copy someone put on his desk, or a million other things could’ve happened to prevent Bob from responding. Maybe Bob even forgot that he needed to get back to you. Without knowing if Bob ever received your request in the first place, would it be inconsiderate to already start nagging him about it? By automating your contracts’ workflows based on contract types or allowing for ad-hoc workflows to be created on the fly, Bob will no longer have an excuse for not getting back to you. Loosely defined, workflow automation means streamlining workflows to improve processes, increase efficiency, and maximize communication and collaboration. So, once someone in your company initiates a workflow and routes it to Bob, Bob will automatically receive an email alert as well as a task waiting for him when he logs into your contract management solution. Anyone looking to receive information about the status of the workflow can simply view the workflow history and see that Bob has received the task and has a certain amount of days to complete it by. So, what happens if Bob is lazy, out sick, or generally not available to answer the call of duty? Most contract management solutions allow for delegation or escalation if Bob still doesn’t respond. Based on Bob’s profile (usually synced with AD), he may have already predetermined who the lucky folks are...
Fool Proof POCs: Why Companies are Investing in Them

Fool Proof POCs: Why Companies are Investing in Them

Companies are not that different from individual consumers when making large dollar value buying decisions. Just like a consumer would test drive a car or get a grand tour of a house, an inspection, etc., companies also want to make sure that whatever software product they are purchasing will stand the test of time with few hiccups along the way. One way that companies are accomplishing this is by engaging software vendors in a pilot or proof of concept program. Such programs usually run for a month or two, although occasionally longer periods are not uncommon, with basic configurations of the system and some specific customer requirements setup so that the company can get an understanding of how the system will work once fully implemented. This also allows the company and vendor to begin having an iterative dialogue about any changes that need to be made, further requirements to be addressed, as well as trialing any optional modules. During this pilot engagement, most software vendors will provide the company with access to a project management portal, such as basecamp, for the company to raise any issues, concerns, or questions. This also helps to familiarize the company with how interactions between the two parties occur as well as response times. The main goal of such engagements is to gain buy-in from other decision makers who may or may not have been involved in some of the initial conversations. While companies may engage in more than one pilot at the same, or around the same, time, it is rare that there will be several. As there is usually a cost associated...
Self-Service Contract Creation – Saving Time, Money, and Energy

Self-Service Contract Creation – Saving Time, Money, and Energy

Often times during the contract initiation process, a member from sales, procurement, HR, or other department is looking to get a contractual agreement from the legal or contracts group in a quick amount of time so that engagements can start. The problem with this situation is two-fold: 1. The legal or contracts group is already overwhelmed with managing and creating contract requests, active contracts, as well as milestones and obligations and 2. There is often a lack of communication between legal and the rest of the organization as to when contract requests can be fulfilled. A simple way to fix the problem is to allow for self-service creation of simple, standard contracts. For example, if you always use about the same verbage for standard templates such as NDAs, SOWs, or other basic agreements, groups or individuals looking to initiate these types of contracts could do so on their own. By simply entering required information such as counterparty information, start and end dates, any commercial values, etc. contracts can quickly and easily be created. If need be, the contract can get routed to a supervisor or legal team member for review and/or approval before it is issued and a signature from the counterparty is requested. So, this may sound good in theory, but how does an organization set itself up for success in doing self-service contract creation when it has been differently since (potentially) the beginning of time? Organizations/individuals content with status quos may be less thrilled about moving towards a self-service model, but the process itself will save time and money in the long run. For example, if the...
Are My Contracts and Counterparty Information Safe in the Cloud?

Are My Contracts and Counterparty Information Safe in the Cloud?

When pondering moving important confidential information contained within contract documents to the cloud, organizations sometimes cringe with fear. Thankfully, the cloud is not really that big or scary. As with any other way of storing your documents and information, there are pros and cons with moving to the cloud. For the most part, companies want to ensure their company, client, and vendor information stays safe and secure. Those without permission should not be able to access their confidential information, documents, financial data, and other pertinent items. Still, if everything is online, how can security be guaranteed? One of the main recommendations is to choose a reputable cloud hosting provider that highlights your security as one of their key features. Your provider should ensure that your infrastructure is secure and that your data and applications are protected. There are various security controls that should be put into place, as with any storage and networking system. These include deterrent controls, preventative controls, corrective controls, and detective controls. While setting up all these controls at the beginning may seem cumbersome, they will help to ensure your organization’s security and success for years to come. Organizational contracts and counterparty information can often times have its own set of security measures due to the sensitive nature of the data. For further security and privacy, it is highly recommended to utilize an identity management system to control access to info. Additionally, application security to protect all items stored within your contract management system can offer additional security measures by implementing testing and acceptance procedures for outsourced or packaged application code. Moving to the cloud may...
Why you should need to automate your Enterprise Contract Management process?

Why you should need to automate your Enterprise Contract Management process?

Almost all industries such as legal, public sector, banking, hospitality, healthcare, pharma, insurance, education, oil and gas, automobile, etc. treat contracts as the lifeline of their business. The legal and contract management teams need to have a quick turnaround process incorporated in their enterprise in order to effectively manage and execute their contracts. One of the essential activities in managing enterprise contracts is to maintain a centralized control of the contracts. An enterprise manages multiple contract types such as NDAs, IT vendor contracts, sales agreements, purchasing agreements, support contract, annual maintenance contract, lease agreement and so on. Having a centralized place for such contracts gives your enterprise the complete visibility of critical contract management processes such as contract requests, authoring, negotiation, review by stakeholders and counterparties, and amendments. But do enterprises really have the complete visibility of their contracts? If your enterprise is currently managing the contracts manually then it is facing contract visibility issues. Gartner’s recent report on contract lifecycle management states – “Contract Lifecycle management (CLM) is evolving from an operational record-keeping system, primarily used for legal audit purposes, to an enterprise-level core system addressing business risk, costs and the pursuit of revenue maximization. CIOs and line-of-business management need to identify the right solution for their needs.” We can all agree that contract management automation tools need to be leveraged by enterprises to gain total visibility of the contracts. Why Automate Contract Management? Imagine yourself as the contract manager. Your company CFO asks you these questions – Do you know where the NDA contracts are? Can you give me the annual maintenance contract agreement with XYZ Company?...
8 reasons why Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365 are perfect for Enterprise Contract Management

8 reasons why Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365 are perfect for Enterprise Contract Management

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...
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