For some business people, dealing with contracts is an unappealing part of the production, sales or fulfillment process. The real job begins, they feel, when the contracts are signed. In reality, contract management before signing must be a priority because nothing works well if this aspect of the deal is not in order.
If your organization is using a contract management system, you have probably addressed the use cases that led you to adopt it. You have a repository for contracts so that they are no longer lost. You have forms and workflows that create contracts and guide them through finance and legal for approval. You are associating your contracts with related documents such as statements of work, licenses, certificates of insurance, amendments, and addenda.
Advanced contract management software makes running your business easier, at least in theory. If you are at the shopping stage, one of those “theoreticals” is the choice between software in the cloud (SaaS or Software as a Service) and software installed on premise. Either mode of delivery can give you a program that improves risk management, compliance, and contract quality. Below are five points to consider.
Looking for an upgrade in your contract management system? You may be most of the way there. Office 365, the cloud-based collection of Microsoft’s productivity tools such as Excel and Word, is becoming standard at many companies. The combination of Office 365 and Azure – the Microsoft cloud where O365 lives – has capabilities that will make enterprise contract management easier and more secure once the tools are harnessed to business processes.
Self-service contracts let your employees make contracts without consulting legal teams. If you haven’t used self-service contracts or contract management software before, this may sound like a risky proposition. Don’t you need your lawyers to review contracts to make sure your interests are protected?
As technology evolves, companies must update their processes and software to remain competitive. This process of “digital transformation” can be applied very effectively to contract management, where the return on investment can be realized in the short-term, with potential for ongoing savings as more contract types and business units are included.
In Part 1 of this blog, we looked at three sticking points in the contract lifecycle that occur before signature. Understanding the contract lifecycle means identifying those sticking points and reducing friction so business gets done promptly but still safely under contract.
Here are three common sticking points that occur once the contract is executed.
Some business you can do with a phone call and a hand shake. But when your business depends on the outcome, you need a contract. Getting a contract in place (or acting according to its terms) creates sticking points. Understanding the contract lifecycle means identifying those sticking points and reducing friction so business gets done promptly but still safely under contract.
Organizations expect the benefits of contract management software and contract compliance to accrue to them. Their procurement team will gain in efficiency, shorten turn-around time, and reduce costs. Their attorneys will focus on unreviewed, contract-specific terms in high-value agreements instead of checking and re-checking boilerplate language in routine contracts.
For public utilities, contract management software can play a key role in the successful procurement.