For digitalization to succeed, companies need to act proactively and incorporate their in-house processes. And that holds true when it comes to dealing with contracts, too. A company’s ability to manage contracts smoothly and efficiently as part of its day-to-day operations is a major driver of its success. This article explores how modern, secure contract management software can take the pressure off the legal department by providing support for handling sensitive documents.
The legal department’s challenges with contract management
For many companies, managing complex customer and supplier relationships is the order of the day. It involves an extensive portfolio of contractual agreements governing rights, obligations, and schedules between and among the various entities involved. Failure to meet substantive requirements and deadlines often translates into serious contractual penalties. That means that as the primary authority responsible for storing, managing, and monitoring all of the company’s existing contracts, the legal department shoulders a hefty load of responsibility.
A decentralized contract management approach, while still common practice today, makes it significantly more complicated to satisfy these requirements. Activities around achieving an overview, locating information, and ensuring effective deadline management monopolize a great deal of time. Given the large number of manual steps and the lack of options for automating processes, businesses remain vulnerable to the risk of overlooking crucial information or adding it to the agenda too late. A standardized solution providing centralized management of the company’s contract portfolio eliminates these risks while dramatically reducing the amount of manual effort required.
These are the criteria that digital contract management systems need to satisfy
Transparency in your contract archive
The features included in digital contract management software – like semantic full-text search, seamless traceability of all changes, and an integrated calendar for deadline management – yield enormous benefits for corporate legal departments:
Intelligent semantic full-text search that offers a wide range of search and filter options will pore through the entire contract archive, capturing the content of all your documents in the process. This means that staff in the legal department can find every detail, including specific contract clauses, at the touch of a button. Challenging situations that demand ad-hoc solutions are now a thing of the past. With cloud-based contract management software, sharing information with your business partners is simple and straightforward, even on mobile devices.
Pinpoint all the changes
The system’s ability to seamlessly track each and every change makes day-to-day work that much easier. Digital contract management software eliminates the risk of overlooking minor amendments that can have a major impact, and puts an end to laborious manual version comparisons between contracts. When it comes to cross-company collaboration with customers and suppliers, this is all the more important. Storing your contracts in a certified revision-secure archive also ensures that critical compliance directives are fulfilled.
Get a handle on deadlines
Automated deadline management that avoids having to navigate between the systems of the calendar and the contract file, which serves as a repository for all documents and information, removes any risk of inconsistencies. When an agreement is initially established, as well as when deadlines are modified later on, these changes are immediately reflected in the deadline calendar. In addition, an intelligent calendar allows you to navigate directly from the calendar entry to each specific item of the contract. And when a push notification or an e-mail reminds you of an upcoming deadline, you can even handle it on your mobile device.
Your data – safer on European soil
For many businesses, data management and storage in a European data center is a key factor when selecting cloud-based solutions. As the gatekeepers for legal standards and security requirements, this aspect is mission-critical, particularly for legal departments. The goal is to leverage the advantages of contract management software in the cloud without accepting any risks when it comes to data storage. Independent tests and certificates bring clarity in this regard. Companies reap a wide range of benefits when it comes to the functionality of cloud-based applications, especially in terms of security when collaborating with external partners. What’s more, these applications cut infrastructure costs and eliminate the need for IT departments to maintain the system, while providing a high degree of scalability.
An off-the-shelf product for contract management won’t require a dedicated project
At their core, the requirements of contract management are quite homogeneous and easy to standardize. Clearly arranged user interfaces and an intuitive menu design speed up the onboarding and integration process for new users. This minimizes or even eliminates the need for training and implementation services. And by taking advantage of free trials, users have the chance to get a real first-hand impression of both the look and feel as well as the functionality.
With digital contract management, you have everything under control
Save time and eliminate risks in your everyday work with contracts. Shift the focus to substantive challenges and serve as an in-house advisory and oversight resource. By automating manual, repetitive, and time-consuming data entry and research activities in the legal department, these objectives are within easy reach. Modern digital contract management delivers these benefits and more. Using artificial intelligence, companies can accelerate their digitalization efforts and create added value in their day-to-day business. How? We’ll cover that in a follow-up blog post.