10 Must Have Features in a Contract Management System

10 Must Have Features in a Contract Management System

Organizations have lots of business relationships dictated by contracts and its terms. Keeping track of contract terms, provisions, obligations in a methodical fashion is frustratingly difficult when the volume of contracts is high. Developing systems and automating contract management is one of the top areas to improve productivity in contract management while managing organizational risk and compliance. Your company may own an inhouse document management system that is currently being used to manage contracts. It has solved the repository problem but does not provide means for starting workflows, receiving alerts or collaborating with third parties leaving you looking for a viable alternative. So how does one choose a contract management system? To answer that question, find below the top 10 features to look for in a contract management system. A repository of contract documents with relevant data to search and find contracts easily Multiple storage mediums for contracts leads to mixing of document versions, creation of duplicates and agonizing difficulty in finding contracts. In contrast, a centralized repository with contracts stored under individual business areas accompanied by metadata and third party information gives you a single source of truth and overall simpler contract management experience. Alerts to manage timelines for obligations, terms and key provisions Being wary of upcoming renewals, pending obligations and key provisions of your contract is a critical part of a contract management. A good contract management software assists you in these areas by sending you duly reminders on upcoming renewals and alerts on non-compliance occurrences and pending obligations. A full text and advanced search functionality Contract managers lose weeks of time every year searching for...
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...
7 ways to deliver ‘quick wins’ with Contract Automation

7 ways to deliver ‘quick wins’ with Contract Automation

Your contract lifecycle process need a boost but can’t figure out where to get started? Sure, you have your feature wishlist for automating contract management, and probably a budget too, but with a plethora of options, the last thing you want to do is bite more that what you could chew. While on the surface the challenges look similar, every organization and the teams within can have difference in priorities and how they approach contracts management as a process. The key to successful implementation is getting your stakeholders and fellow employees on board by generating a few “quick wins”. Working with hundreds of contract management and legal teams around the globe, some of these which you could expect as part of your contract automation with eContracts, Office 365 and SharePoint are highlighted below. This article is aimed at anyone whose contract management process consists of nothing more than email conversations, spreadsheets and documents stashed across shared drives, file cabinets or some document software. 1. Automated Access Control and Sharing eContracts inbuilt business areas, SharePoint based document repositories along with Active Directory integrations enables creation of hierarchical access levels and user permission. Providing or denying access for specific sensitive contract records, or temporary sharing to external guest users is achieved with a single click which automatically resets access control for all folders and document documents, sub-agreements, obligations and reporting views. 2. Automate Task Alerts and Reminders With eContracts, it’s easier than ever to manage deadlines. Notifications sent via email remind users of upcoming expirations and obligations such as payments that are due. Reminders can be automatically created, assigned to appropriate...
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...
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