Office 365 Contract Management – Digitizing Contracts for Contract & Legal Teams!
Legal teams across domains have hundreds of contracts to process daily, and using traditional practices for the same is a tedious process that is very inefficient, too. Employing an integrated system like Office 365 Contract Management provides a consolidated and collaborative CLM experience as it brings together contract metadata, documents, dashboards, activities, and workflows.
What are the shortcomings of traditional CLM practices?
Printing, signing and scanning are common practices in traditional Contract Management processes which makes managing contracts tiring and minimizes the overall value of many businesses.
Moreover, it is impossible to get an overview of all contracts in a company without digital means. It is estimated that almost 10% of all signed contracts in a company have completely disappeared. Gone! (Source: Faulkner Information Services). Let’s take a look at some of the most obvious disadvantages of traditional CLM practices:
- They are time consuming
- They are error-prone
- They increase costs and decrease control
- They lead to unnecessary operational costs
- They lack security
Microsoft’s Office 365, the cloud-based collection of productivity tools such as Excel and Word, is becoming a go-to integration in most organizations. The combination of Office 365 and Azure is capable of enhancing and securing Enterprise Contract Management effectively. Azure, Microsoft’s global cloud, is also home to SharePoint Online and countless other apps built to make life easier for business users. Currently, Office 365 has over 135 million users.
Let’s take a look at the advantages of digitizing contracts with Office 365:
1. Default Productivity Suite
Being an omnipresent organization-wide tool with over 1.5 billion users worldwide, Office 365 is the default productivity suite in most enterprises. Office 365 enables most of the basic tools that contract managers and legal teams need to create, edit, and manage contracts, such as Word, Excel and Outlook.
The global application of SharePoint and Office 365 by enterprises makes it convenient for legal and contract teams to work with tools that they are already comfortable with to manage sensitive data such as contracts. The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) states that one in two corporations use SharePoint for their enterprise content management (ECM) purposes.
2. Tight & Rich Integration With Microsoft Services
Office 365 has a rich integration with other Microsoft tools such as Word, Active Directory and Outlook which helps you to easily draft, review, track changes and assign user permissions to their enterprise contract management process. Its new workflow capabilities of Microsoft Flow feature code-free interaction with hundreds of third-party services such as Salesforce, Zendesk, Facebook, Twitter, OneDrive, SharePoint, Microsoft Dynamics, and more.
SharePoint Online team sites allow users to quickly find a familiar homepage with a newsfeed, an activity feed, and document libraries. Thanks to the tight integration of SharePoint Online with OneDrive, Contract and Legal teams can keep collaborating on documents from any location and now even without the internet connection via OneDrive Offline Folders.
3. Highly Secure
Microsoft 365 enables threat protection tools keeping your business free of hazards such as spam, malware, viruses, phishing attempts, and malicious links while protecting you from sophisticated threats such as zero-day ransomware and other advanced threat techniques. Another security feature called ATP (Advanced Threat Protection) includes email attachment scanning, URL scanning in email messages and Office documents, and proofing intelligence in email messages.
It also includes anti-phishing capability to detect when someone attempts to impersonate users or an organization’s domain. Microsoft Office 365 provides rights management that controls who can see what, allowing companies to easily share documents with those who have permission. It also lets you invite externals to securely collaborate on documents, a key capability during negotiations.
4. Central Repository
Office 365 enables a central repository for data such as contract records/documents and other contract supporting documents. Storing milestones, obligations, user profiles and other information in a single repository makes the whole process easier for legal and contract teams. A contract repository doesn’t only improve the way contracts are stored and accessed, but also provides you with wider benefits at a high level across the business, for individuals in their day-to-day roles and it can even help to improve external relationships with your vendors.
You can easily categorize data according to your specific needs – assign groups and folders so various document and contract types are arranged properly. The digital organization of documents ensures that you don’t have to worry about human error and misplacement of physical copies.
5. Effortless Communications
Office 365 provides tools to keep communication centralised and straightforward across Skype and Outlook. Skype for Business allows you to hold conference calls and meetings with staff and external agencies anywhere in the world, so you can easily collaborate and communicate irrespective of distance or time difference.
Microsoft Teams provides an instant messaging function where comments can be added and files uploaded at the same time, which is useful for cross-department collaboration and when co-authoring documents. You can also ‘at’ people on Teams so they receive a notification that a comment is aimed directly at them. All these features mean you can be in constant and immediate contact with teams and individuals wherever they are located and at any time.
6. Document Creation & Management
SharePoint-powered document creation and management is implemented by most businesses and has greatly helped them manage their documentation and to share information. Approximately 65% of all organizations using SharePoint add custom functionality to the software. It also works compatible with third-party security tools in case the company needs a different type of security, compared to the software’s own. SharePoint makes it very easy for the users to find their documents. Based on file names, metadata, content and phrases, the software makes search extremely precise and easy.
SharePoint enables work groups where one can create team sites that provide space for advanced collaboration. Multiple users can collaborate on a single document, with updates visible in real time. Features like embedded calendars, task lists and custom workflows allow team leaders to view status updates and manage projects.
7. Sharing & Collaboration
Office 365’s SharePoint and OneDrive seamlessly connects employees with the documents, information, people, and projects they need to perform their jobs. Collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams fill gaps in business communication and use technology to facilitate internal conversations.
Microsoft Teams, an Office 365 product allows you to personalize your collaboration solutions. You can create a new collaboration in minutes, tailoring it with specific features to help make teamwork as efficient as possible – while still encouraging creativity and innovation. Teams can work closely on a project without hang-ups such as lack of program consistency across systems or blocked access to certain information.
8. Files & Storage
Office 365 allows you to store all the files in the cloud, meaning they can easily be accessed on any device, from any location with an internet connection. For organizations where mobile working is important, being able to access all the apps and files you need when out of the office is invaluable.
Office 365 enables a totally secure environment with robust security measures in place, like two-factor authentication, which ensures unauthorised people can’t access your files if they happen to get on your device. Safety features like threat detection and anti-malware means security threats are identified and stopped immediately, which is particularly important for organisations that deal with confidential data or information. Using Office 365 means your business is free to operate without any concerns for security.
Office 365 has its many compelling benefits that can help you skyrocket your organization’s productivity. Rather than going back and forth between multiple brands and programs, you can choose a simple, all-in-one solution instead which has the most innovative features for the whole workforce to use. From online meetings to sharing documents to business-class email, Office 365 enables solutions that go way beyond the installed version of Microsoft Office.
It’s important to consider the needs of your organization as thoroughly as you would examine the features and benefits of Contract Management tools. It helps you reduce operational costs, increase productivity, and exceed your client’s expectations, and that’s exactly what we help you with.
So, are you ready to take control of your contract processes?