There are many different ways to approach contract management and the technology you use to make your processes easier and more efficient.
Some businesses elect to develop internal solutions by customizing their existing technology to also address their contract management challenges. Others adopt simple, purpose-built software to streamline key contracting needs like storage, tracking, and reporting quickly and affordably. And some invest in custom offerings that are developed to meet more in-depth needs around contract requests and intake, complex workflows, and more.
The path you take should ultimately be determined by a few key factors, including:
Complexity of your contracting process
Challenges and objectives
If you’re looking to make an immediate impact and generate results right away, consider addressing your top pain points with simple, straightforward software.
This blog shares some ways you can find quick starts and wins with contract management software.
Establish a single source of truth for your contracts
Once you are up and running with your contract management solution, the first task should be ensuring all of your organization’s contracts get uploaded into your central repository — often as easy as dragging and dropping your existing files and folders into the software. This will allow you to start taking control of your contract situation immediately so you can develop a comprehensive understanding of your contract portfolio. With all of your contracts in one place, you can start reviewing your contracts and applying metadata tags to capture details including obligations, contract values, key milestones, and high risk contract terms.
Set milestone alerts to stay ahead of important dates
By tagging key dates and milestones in your contracts, you’ll be able to set up automated alerts and email notifications in advance of major events like end dates, termination notice windows, and renegotiation opportunities. Software solutions that include artificial intelligence features like auto-tagging will significantly reduce the time it takes to get started.
Not only will milestone alerts help you reduce the risk of letting contracts lapse or renew automatically, but they also give decision makers across your organization the time and information they need to take action and make changes to their contracts when needed.
Set up custom reports to keep stakeholders informed
In addition to milestone alerts and emails, custom reports can also give stakeholders routine updates on the information they care about most, including contract values, high risk clauses, auto renewing agreements, and more. Reports can be set up once then scheduled to run on a recurring basis so they’re always capturing current data.
This can be especially helpful when reporting on information that is constantly changing, like agreements expiring in the next 90 days. These reports can also be automatically shared with any internal or external stakeholders, so the legal team can keep cross-functional colleagues informed without adding to your workload.
Give appropriate teams and individuals access to relevant contracts
One of the easiest, most important things you can do early on with your contract management system is to establish granular user roles and permissions so cross-functional teams can access and manage their own contracts. Corporate legal teams are often responsible for managing all contracts for the company, but this system of self-service empowers others throughout the organization to access key contract information, while allowing Legal to maintain ultimate control and oversight.
This is especially important for Sales teams that frequently need to reference customer agreements. Now, Sales can quickly find information about their customer contracts without having to go through Legal each time. And by setting up custom roles and permissions, Legal can grant access only to the relevant files and folders to eliminate the risk of teams having visibility into confidential documents like HR and Finance files stored in the same repository.
Run reports to capture the low-hanging fruit
Another way to generate quick wins with contract management software is to run reports that help you identify immediate opportunities to impact expenses and revenue. Consider running reports that answer questions such as:
Which of our contracts renew automatically?
Which contracts expire in the next 90 days?
Which contracts are worth more than $25,000 in value?
With this information available, you can prioritize making changes to contracts that are either set to expire or renew in the near future or represent significant costs to your business.