Advanced Guide to procurement of Contract Management Software


 Contract  Software Guide
Your extensive guide for selecting and procuring the Best Contract Management Software

Why Contract Lifecycle Software is important and why it is required?

People who are leaders and accountable for Contracts within the organization do two things really very well:

First, they identify the need for best Contract Software or Contract Automation Software and understand the effect of Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) early enough so that they could mitigate or minimize contractual risks throughout the company.

Second, they are committed to make sure that the Contract Software implementation provides them the best return of investment (ROI) and at the same time improves the relationships with customers, vendors, suppliers, partners and employees multi fold and makes the contract management process very efficient in all of their departments.

See below video for a basic understanding of Contract Management and see here and Contract Management Software for Dummies for reviewing basics of Contract Management System requirements.

See below video for a basic understanding of NCMA CMBOK Standard(Contract Management Body of Knowledge)


Refreshing Contract Management Definition

As per Wikipedia Contract Management or Contract administration or contract tracking refers to the management or administration of Contracts and maintenance of relationships with customers , vendors , supplier, partners or employees.

As per Chartered Institute of procurement and supply guide Contract Management or Contract lifecycle management is defined as the process of efficient and systematic management and administration of contract creation , execution and analysis for achieving maximum operational and financial performance while minimizing risk.
Go through the contract management basics resources first if you need to understand the basics.


Importance of Contract Software Solution and Contract Administration at Organization Level

Do you use Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) ? Why and how do you use it? You want to streamline customer acquisition process and capture all the contacts, leads , potentials and turn them to accounts. Great, so you have CRM part automated.

What about after acquiring the customer and managing the relationship with the customer? This is where the most important benefit of CLM comes into play, creating your customer happy by having great relationship and thus gets more and more business from the same customer again and again.

Your relationship with customer does not start with CRM , but with the CLM process that you have. The Contract Process that you work with your newly acquired customer initially is the first impression of your business and sets the tone of what is going to come from you as a Product or Service provider and puts the foundation for your relationship with your customer. This advantage is from the Sales side of CLM perspective. The other angle to think about is the Buy side of it , where you are protected from compliance and legal risks arising from an executed contract.

Most organizations small, medium or large tend to think Contract Management as an add on , but essentially with the growing demands of customers and the risks associated with it , better to embrace CLM or Contract Lifecycle Management than regretting it later with all the associated downsides of not having an efficient system in place.


For instance, let’s look at the Harvard university guidelines and process for Contracts and Contract Risk Management
The entire process and guidelines of Harvard Contract Risk Management could be efficiently handled by selecting the best contract software solution in the industry.

Additional Reading: Managing Risks effectively by using contract lifecycle system


Buy side Contract Management System Vs Sell Side Contract Management System

The business environment is so dynamic and the meaning to this is that businesses on the buying side of a contract do find it very involving to look into all the contracts being offered by potential sellers. The outcome is that buyers are likely to spend more time evaluating all the contract options available and deciding if any of them may be worthy of an approval. Perhaps this is one area where contract system really does prove to be of significance. It is possible to fast-track any contract available and again focus on the feasibility part. The upside of this kind of an approach is that any buyer of a contract will be better placed in choosing a contract which can truly fulfill the mission which is being looked after.

One factor that buyers do find themselves in is that there are indeed many sellers who are willing to enter into binding contractual agreements. All the terms and conditions that are being given are usually so good that they create some kind of dilemma when it comes to decision making. In such situations buyers do favor decisions that would definitely turn out to be highly trustworthy. This is where contract software does get in and offer solutions which many would otherwise deem to be impossible. Prior to settling to a given contract offered by a specific seller, this tool allows for thorough monitoring of all the aspects which might be of business relevance to the buyer.

For instance it is possible to look into important issues surrounding compliance, approval rating and life cycle of the contracts which the sellers may be offering. This way, buyers will gain that kind of confidence that is needed to handle any contract negotiation. All the obligatory processes that need to be followed prior to engaging in a contract negotiation, i.e. evaluation of a suitable seller, monitoring session and implementation are all automated. The meaning that can be attached to this is that buyers will find very easy to arrive at optimal solutions when looking for sellers offering favorable contracts.

It is without a doubt that there are many businesses that have had massive contract breach of terms and conditions but because of their elusiveness, they are still plying their trade just in the same level as other clean sellers. Perhaps this is one of the pitfalls that buyers do work so hard to avoid but nevertheless t is still very easy to fall a victim. The reason is that the conventional contract negotiations involves massive paperwork which makes it very difficult to accurately follow the history of a seller who has a bad reputation but because of elusiveness seems to be riding on a high level confidence. Contract management software does come with financial auditing feature and thus making it possible to analyze if a given seller have compromised on the intended obligations thus creating a clear path through which untrustworthy deals can be avoided.

Using human resources to monitor contract progress is itself a highly engaging task and besides this some errors might flow as humans are not that good in handling large and highly complex data which large businesses do work with. Contract management software does feature a highly robust in-built functions which can accurately monitor on any kind of financial in and outflows that may be involved on the buyer’s side of the contract. The advantage of this is that it is possible to maintaining a high degree of financial integrity in any of the deals which a buyer may be intending to collaborate on.

Again, it is obvious fact that business deals may cover a wide geographical span. This makes traveling options very costly and this kind of arrangement doesn't stand a chance to work out with willing contract buyers and sellers who are thousands of miles away from each other. Contract lifecycle software makes connections between the involved parties to be very simple as all the transactions are done online. Element of e-signature is also incorporated into this software thus creating an opportunity through which a buyer can engage with a suitable contract seller who may be some distance apart. The great advantage is that contract buyers will save on time as they will still contact the sellers who live up to their requirements.

The other really unique feature of Contract software is that it is tailored to meet the industry-specifics which a contract buyer and seller may be operating. This way buyers only get to receive contract offers from sellers who are plying their trade in that sector which is of relevance to the buyer. It is expected that a contractor buyer may have some relevant knowledge on the trends of the business field which the yet to be bought contract may be touching on. This way making an in-formed decision becomes very easy and high chances are that a buyer will settle for contract seller who offer terms and conditions that go hand in hand with what the buyer was after.

The buy side contract management software does integrate all the possible tasks that are likely to be involved during contract procurements. Such include e-invoicing, e-procurement, compliance management, legal applications and many other tasks which buyers will find to be very useful. Again, the given tasks are highly optimized to fit various professional fields that buyers would like to use the given agreement software system. For instance, industries like finance and health-care do find it very vital to conform to strict data entry and regulation measures and this is one aspect that contract management software does guarantee.

The level of automation in this software allows for high flexibility with which any task relating to contract can be performed. For instance there are already in-built contract templates and this makes the general process of creating a new contact to be in fact very easy. Saved contract library templates mean that buyers and sellers will spend little time when creating contracts. Perhaps the unique aspect of the contract lifecycle software is that is possible to insert other important documents like memos, invoices, meeting minutes and invoices to contracts. It is possible to merge other previous contracts to create a new contract, securely share contract details with other interested parties and also make suitable approvals. The database used to store all the attributes related to any contract is highly secured and this implies that only the right persons can make relevant changes if necessary.

One the sell side, contract software is very important in that they help businesses to come up with the most efficient solutions. This is the case as this software helps to monitor all aspects which are involved in the contract agreement and because of the optimal solutions provided businesses do find themselves reducing their sales time cycle by a greater margin. CLM software does facilitate real-time online negotiation and employ e-signature for verification purposes. The benefit is that any given contract negotiation will come to quick closure as information exchange is very fast even for parties who may be far from each other. Again, with this business tool it is very easy to administer contract agreements thus allowing for creation of an open environment where all matters of concern can be effectively looked into.

Renewals as well re-negotiations are considered some of the aspects that can greatly impact on the success of any contract negotiation. This is one other area where contract management system is of advantage in contract negotiations in that it is possible to see at a glance what kind of contract is put in place for the business parties to discuss. Sales are likely to close faster as all the accompanying critical documents are kept in one central and secure location for easy access. This way it becomes very easy to automate creation of any contract through the pre-approved and internally made contract templates.

Any contract negotiation heavily requires that any standards as well as customized terms be made available for reference during any negotiation sessions. Meanwhile manually preparing the terms and conditions can be time-wasting given the bulky nature of this types of information. In contract software, all the terms and conditions are kept in an electronic format. This allows for easy modifications to be done as the contract templates can be easily accessed and the upside is that business organizations will spend less time while handling any modification of the contract terms and conditions.

For any smooth contract negotiation process, business organizations do create and assign roles to users based on the value, role, security and all other variables which directly touch on a contract. The problem that can arise is that manual supervision of all the users may be very tiresome as it implies that data has to be sourced and sent to every direction during the contact negotiation process. Contract software will on the other hand act as a central location where it becomes very easy to get as well as send all the information pertaining to the given contract being negotiated. In this kind of situation, businesses will find that it is in fact very simple to negotiate over more than one contract at a time while still being able to go over this process with high level efficiency.

Contract Lifecycle solution allows for quick location of any data and any document which may be of key value during negotiation sessions. This makes streamlining of communications across many departments of a business to very easy taking into consideration the roles and functions that were assigned prior to embarking on the contract negotiation. The e-signature feature of the contract software is in fact a great time saver in that it allows for faster deal closing. The cloud-based operation of the contract management software tools emphasizes on central data location. If this is combined with a world-class business marketing team then a business will find it very easy to turn any of its woes into highly profitable opportunities.

Perhaps one of the things that organizations do find it very difficult to deal with is the planning, implementation and enforcement of any sales policies which might have been set out. If all these tasks are performed correctly businesses will see themselves in a totally new dimension – being able to eliminate any excesses in operational costs and maximize in saving. CLM software helps to provide in-depth software of what a business is likely to accrue based on the kind of cash flows expected to flow in and out of an organization.

Superb contract negotiations do require accurate and comprehensive understanding of all the previous contract negotiations and sales which a business may have been involved in. Managing this kind of data is often very difficult as the bulky terms have a direct meaning that a business is likely to spend a greater deal of its time just on identifying the data leave alone if there would enough time for scrutiny. Meanwhile it is very essential to incorporate other business tools such as the Customer Relations Management software. The purpose of this is that this kind of software enables a business to have an improved data entry, sharing and even reporting on the client attributes which may have significance to how a business operates. Combining this powerful with contract management software can greatly leverage the sales as well as contract negotiations aspects of a business.

The faster the time a business executes its contract obligations the better it will be placed in the overall business landscape. Businesses are plying their trade at a time when consumers are highly cautious about any possible contract violation as this can translate to losses to all the parties brought together by the contract. In order to gain a highly reputable market visibility a business should be in a position to honor all its obligations and on time.

Again we cannot forget that some contracts do have a ton of conditions that needs to be fully fulfilled. Because of this a business may find itself giving more leverage to one contract condition while barely tending to others. This is where Contract system does provide probably the most efficient solutions both in terms of time and economics. All the contract obligations are integrated into one platform thus allowing for each aspect involved being thoroughly involved. The result is that a business will be able to maintain high degree of contract compliance thus maintaining relevance to the overall existence of the business objectives.


Cloud Contract Management Software Vs On premise contract management software

One of the most common (and often, the earliest) question that clients put across a business analyst while choosing a contract life cycle system is - "What is the better option : a Cloud Contract Management Solution or an On-Premise one?".

The answer to this seemingly straightforward question is not as simple though. It is more like choosing between Mac and Windows; a comparison between apples and oranges really. This is because every client is different and so are their concerns. That is why the solution can never be unanimous for everyone, and arriving at a satisfactory solution essentially requires a proper assessment of each client's business needs and the kind of infrastructure they possess.

Both Cloud Contract software and On-Premise Contract software have their own pros and cons. It is up to the clients to decide which one would suit their purpose better. The ultimate choice though, will always feature a trade off between security, costs and returns. So, to think of Cloud Contract Software (or SaaS, Software-as-a-Service) as a magic wand that is going to solve ALL of the problems of an organization, would be wrong. Just as it would be wrong again, to think of an On-Premise Contract Management software as being completely incompetent and a thing of past.

Points to consider before choosing a Cloud or an On-Premise Contract Lifecycle Software

1) Costs - Probably the biggest factor to consider when it comes to deciding what to go with - a Cloud contract automation software or an On-Premise contract software. With the latter, the costs are higher up front, i.e. installing an On-Premise system will require intensive capital investment due to procurement of in-house server hardware, cost of software licensing, longer deployment time and an in-house team of IT support staff. However, with time the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of an On-Premise contract software tend to be lower than that of the subscription based Cloud system.

This is because Cloud based contract system require ongoing, perpetual payments (annual or monthly) whereas On-Premise systems require only infrequent maintenance costs after the initial investment upfront. However, as an alternative, the Cloud service providers DO provide a very cost-effective option - the "pay as you grow" subscription model. Using this model, clients get a contract management system that almost exactly matches their requirements and they are provided with options to upgrade as and when their IT infrastructure grows. Most of the small and medium sized businesses consider SaaS or Cloud as the best contract management software for this very reason.

2) Security - One of the least differentiating factor between On-Premise and Cloud based contract software. Yet, this is the reason most of clients feel apprehensive going with a Cloud system. Even though Cloud contract software is just as safe and secure as an On-Premise system, many clients still prefer to have valuable data such as customer info and confidential company data within their own firewalls rather than the vendors'. Also, with an On-Premise system clients are assured of the stored data being in line with the company backup and privacy policies. In case of SaaS or Cloud contract software system, the vendors are in charge of the data security and control the entire system.

The sensible way to go about ensuring the security of stored data in such a case is seeking security certification from vendors and getting them to ensure that their policies are in accordance with a client's security compliances.

3) Degree of Integration and Customization - Not all Cloud or SaaS solutions are entirely customizable and so, such kind of situation might require the deployment of an On-Premise contract software. In that case, it must be clearly outlined what kind and degree of customization is required to suit the client's requirements in the best way. Another top priority of companies when shifting to an On-Premise or a Cloud system is the degree of integration required between the to be installed contract system and the already existing programs.

Many companies have to undergo vast integrations to adjust equally vast amounts of data when transferring to the new contract software system. However, such complex integrations need not be undertaken if the new contract software is to be used only for task management.

4) Remote Access - One of the main selling points of the SaaS solutions is that they allow access to business information from anywhere, by using a laptop or a smart phone. This has received a major fillip with Cloud providers now developing specialized mobile apps that allow remote access even easier and faster. However, the remote access feature is definitely not a unique option available with the Cloud system only. Even On-Premise contract software allows for a remote access using a VPN service that allows off site connection. Additionally, by going On-Premise, you wont have to pay for every additional collaborator whom you add to the system to allow remote access feature.

Additional reading: how to select between cloud or on premise contract software

Contract Management Systems - Must have features

Contracts play a vital role in ensuring smooth processes in the businesses environment. A contact can be between a company and it employees, its suppliers and clients. Given their crucial role, it important that a business manages its contract processes correctly; there is more to managing contracts apart from signing the dotted lines. Without proper management, you might not know the pain points that are in the process, and that slow the sales cycles.

Sometimes you may lack the correct tools for standardizing language in all the contracts, or you could be following up with several people to approve a contract. Some people get stuck when trying to find the amendments in a contract to get the entire view of a particular deal. You can solve all of the above issues by using contract management system.

Fully featured contract software solution will enable you to have control and visibility of your contracts from their inception to the end and all the way to their renewal. There are nine stages in the contract management process, and they include authoring, negotiation, approval, execution, obligations management, amendment, audit, and reporting. Renewal is the final stage. In all of the above stages, automated solutions ensure that there are no clogs to slow the process. They also ensure that the sales cycles are taking place at a faster rate.

Must Have Features of the Contract Software

Contract software have many features, and some companies have additional aspects that are unique to them. However, there are some standard features that every software should have. Among these is the contract management function. The latter manages every aspect and phase of all the contractual agreements including those created professionally, and that meet the legal threshold, systemization in the contacts and supply categorization. Contract lifecycle software systems helps in the automation and management of reporting and tracking contract processes.

Contract Creation

Contract  Software Microsoft Word Authoring
Contract Software - MS Word Authoring Plugin

This feature helps in drafting contracts from the idea stage to discussion and completion of the contract. You can modify the documents as well. You will also find templates and correct wording to ensure that the agreement is clearly worded and explained.

Additional Reading : Contract Authoring or Drafting


Contract Repository or Contract Database or Contract Storage

Contract  Software Repository
Contract Software - Contract Repository

This feature allows the user to gather, collect and keep their contracts in a particular system. The system will offer you the best system that you can use to save your contracts properly for record keeping. Having good storage for the contract will mean that you have access to copies of the contracts, amendments, and modifications whenever you need them. This means that you will not need to worry about loss, spills or damage to the hard copies.

Additional Reading : Contract Repository


Contract Payments

Contract Payments
Contract Software - Contract Payments

This feature entails negotiating of payment terms, setting up methods of compensation and the ability to track payments from the beginning to the end of the contract. With this feature, you will not experience any interruptions when implementing expenditures that you owe to other partners as long as the contract is viable. Having a single place to document and discuss all payment negotiations is quite invaluable for the user. In case of legal discrepancies and ramifications in the negotiations of the contract, both parties can use the software to document and automate all methods of financial compensation.

Additional Reading , see payment section in : Contract Management Guide


Contract Negotiation, Contract approval work flow and Contract Endorsement

Contract Negotiation
Contract Software - Contract Negotiation, Contract approval work flow and Contract Endorsement

This feature will ensure the evaluation completion and establishing the due payments and other important contract terms according to the specifics laid down in the negotiation by both parties to the agreement. With the feature, you will be able to perform contract negotiations for all contract partners.

Contract endorsement entails scheduled approvals according to the changes that the parties have made as well as the milestones they have reached in the contract negotiations. Most of the time you will find the contracts online, and this allows the parties to the agreement to assess objective goals and then submit approval. The contract management feature will also enable both parties to deny or approve any of the goals of the contract of the partner in the contract. This part is important because you cannot finalize any single part of the contract without approval from your partner.

Additional Reading : Contract Management Negotiation


Contract Relationship Metrics and Analytics

Contract Relationship Metrics and analytics
Contract Software - Contract Relationship Metrics and Analytics

This feature lets you analyze and investigate the various relationships in the contract as long as it is in use. You can scrutinize the contractual implementation, financial analysis and contractual agreements for all customers according to their demographics. You will also be able to tell the efficient and ineffective strategies so as to plan for the future. You will also implement the effective strategy and leave out the other ones. If you do not put in place the correct strategies you may repeat ineffective businesses practices and lose money.

Additional Reading : Contract Management Relationship


Short Term and Longer Term Benefits of using Contract Lifecycle Software

Contract Software Advantages and Benifits
Contract Software Cons and Pros

Advantages and Benefits

When there is a clog in the sales cycle, things do not move as fast as the company wants them to move. One advantage of contract software is that it shortens the sales cycle by enabling you to work smarter and just harder. Automated contract management process streamline approvals and reviews, making it easier for you to work smarter as opposed to working harder. This can be quite helpful if you have large orders that are known to cause people to work all night and cause many mistakes There are instances when sales cycles slow down because there is no sufficient information on a particular account. A reason for this could be that the person who used to handle the account has probably moved to another company. Automated contract management process allow for a smooth transition in such cases. They provide valuable information that will help the new sales person continue where the other one left the account. You can do it the manual way but you will need to dig through mountains of folders or beg other people to help you when you are in the field.

Minimize Risk of Manual Data Entry
Errors are inevitable when sales teams are stressed, tired or when they have much info ration to capture in the stack of contracts. Some packages get lost in the process as well. Errors often cause problems that could have otherwise been avoided and among these is inaccurate pricing. People also fail to focus on the correct options and features of the product. You may also encounter incomplete pricing, and there will not be any consistency with the last pricing concessions. The company may also fail to realize the gross margin impact of the contract concession on the gross margin. Contract management systems can help you avoid all these by capturing the information fast and accurately. This will leave your employees with time to close deals and spend much-needed time with customers. It also helps the company save money that they would have otherwise spent on re-doing the contract or on renewal opportunities.

Help you Achieve Sales Goals
Automated contract management process work to reduce company administrative costs, diminish risk and improve compliance. Contract management processes help companies improve the rate of contract renewal, increase their revenue and reduce their contract cycle by half. All these create additional sales.

Building Channel Relationships
Channel partners will demand undivided attention from you. With automated contract management processes you will be able to give them full attention because you will not need to be running all over the place putting out all kinds of fires. You will control your resources and in the process maintain existing channel relationships while building up new ones.

Strengthen Relationships with Customers
Using contract lifecycle system will help you control, the flow of information between the company and its clients. It also helps you show your clients that you are doing much to ensure that you track, manage and maintain your relationships with them. A relationship with your customer will include fundamentals such as product schedules, pricing, and promotional programs. All these are found in the contracts.

Contract Management Processes for the End –of Quarter Period
The end –of- quarter period in most companies is usually characterized by the end- of- quarter crunch that entails the pressure for the sales personnel to exceed their quotas. There is usually the demand for approvals as well as signatures and the need to process contracts that come up at 10 am. Having an automated contract management process can be a game- changer for the person eager to make their sales quotas, bonuses, and ensure company profitability and compensation plans. All enterprises that equip themselves with automated contract management processes can turn their end –of –quarter crunch into their core strengths. The process can change their contract management process into an asset.

In most companies, the morning usually entails sales and sales operations, working to get approvals, extensions new pricing requests as well as service level and reseller agreements. Some customers might call in to ask for more products as long as you can change their pricing request and contract extension. As the orders continue to stream in, the director of sales, the sales vice president, vice president of finance and other relevant personnel may have to think of pushing some of the smaller orders into the next quarter. Some people may have to burn the midnight oil to ensure that they have considered all contracts. Given the pressure, some of the contracts may have errors on discount percentages and pricing schedules. Despite all the hurdles and the pressure, the teams may finish and cover all contract before the next quarter. In such situations, automated contract management processes can help to make things easier for all parties involved. They do this by streamlining businesses processes, which means personnel, get to work smarter and not harder.

Additional Reading : Selecting best contract life cycle software solution


Contract Management Process for Small Business

Marketing campaigns, managing customers and following up on the company sales leads are some of the critical processes that overwhelm small businesses. It is also crucial that business keeps promises, store correspondence, determine account status and manage sales if they want to be successful. It is, therefore, important that small businesses invest in an integrated solution that can take up all these tasks to make everything easier for them and to make them more productive.

There is no one size fits all software for contract management, and if you have a small business, you will have to buy the correct software for your businesses. There is some software that specifically target small businesses. You can choose to install them online, on mobile or the premises. You may also have to choose an operating system. Some of the functions you can expect from such software include approvals, audit, and reporting, authoring, notifications, negotiation and repository.

You can use some of the support features as well, and they include video tutorials, phone support, and online support.


Contract Management Process for Medium Business

Medium enterprises are slightly larger than the small ones and, therefore, need a contract management automation that is specifically designed for such enterprises. In most cases, a company will buy various software for their functions. This often works against the company as it becomes more expensive. Some companies have addressed this problem and have made integrated systems to counter the problem. Automated contract management system should keep the information of the business on a single platform. The system should also be easy to operate. As far as storage is concerned, you should be able to store it on-premise or on the cloud.


Contract Management Process for Large Business

Large companies need a more elaborate contract management process because of the complicated nature of their activities. It should have advanced security and customizable alerts. They entail features for managing contracts for private agreements, IPs, procurement, sales, and licenses. Some of the automated processes support other countries. Such countries include Brazil, Canada, Latin America, United Kingdom, United States as well as those in Middle-East, Africa, and Europe. Some of the other features included in these processes are online support, Frequently Asked Questions, and knowledge base.


Optimize current Contract Process using best contract software available in the market

Contract Request
For a contract request to be efficient, the users should be able to initiate it easily using the contract software and attach the relevant details and documents quickly and easily.

Contract Authoring or Drafting
Contract software can help create a contract faster as the user will make use of word processing tools and standardized language. These will be included depending on the kind of agreement that the two parties draw up. The authoring stage can only be successful if there is a scope for the contract and both sides give their consent. It is important that both parties view the terms of the agreement in a clear perspective. A point to note is that the parties can change the terms if the need arises.

Contract Negotiation
Streamlined and automated contract management processes enable the parties to make a comparison of the redlined versions in the contracts side by side in different formats. This helps to note the discrepancies and reduce the time spend on negotiation by half. Normally, organizations will take some time to discuss their benefits, objectives, and positions. The focus of the contract will be on minimizing risks, improving the contractual relationship, financial penalties, performance and so on. Parties get to discuss their various contributions to the company success at the negotiation stage as well. Both sides get to set the terms of the contract at this point. They can include anything that had been left out at this point as well.

Contract Approval
The approval stage is the one that causes most bottlenecks when it comes to contracts. With automates processes, users can strike preemptively by creating approval workflows. They also include serial and parallel approvals while keeping businesses going at the same time.

Contract Execution
This stage will entail tools like fax support and eSignature and when you use automated contract management; you will shorten and control the signature process. After signing, the associates fax documents in electronic file through barcode.

Contract Obligation Management
This stage is instrumental in ensuring that both parties are meeting their obligations as far as the deliverable as concerned. It also prevents the contracts from leaking value. You can maximize the value of your contract with automated alerts with links to expirations, key events, renewals, fulfillment tracking, sophisticated reporting, and analytics as well as post-execution workflows. Parties to the contract can only address their disputes in the presence of legal help. All the objectives in the contract should adhere to the law.

Contract Amendment
It can be quite time-consuming trying to collect all documents that are relevant to a deal manually. With the contract management process, you can view a business relationship across different contract amendments effectively.

Auditing and Reporting
There are also many reporting and auditing tools that you can use after you automate your contracts management process. Some of the tools you can use are contract compliance alerts, one-click access from your reports to the contract records, audit tracking in the field, on-demand report generation. There is also easy integration with the third-party reporting tools.

Renewal
You can use a manual contract management process for this stage as well, but you run the risk of overlooking some of the renewal opportunities. This will lead to loss of revenue. Contract software makes it possible for users to identify candidates for renewal, allow them time to act and create new drafts automatically on the basis of the last contract.


Conclusion

As pointed out above, there are both advantages and disadvantages associated with both Cloud Contract software and On-Premise contract software. The key is to find a proper balance between the two models and adapt according to the business requirements; what works for one company will not work in the same way for another, regardless of industry type. Some applications are great for hosting in Cloud system - CRM tools, travel apps, backup systems for On-Premise hardware and software solutions itself. While certain others such as security products, data storage solutions and accounting packages are implemented best using an On-Premise contract automation software.

While Cloud systems might appear to be a good choice for small and medium enterprises (for obvious reasons such as low initial investment, zero need for IT backup team, lack of an IT infrastructure), the larger businesses must look beyond this criteria. Strict security compliance and privacy concerns must be made a priority for them. Companies should always remember that rather than going for the best contract management solution available in the market or used by their competitors, they should opt for a contract software that is best suited for them and enables better growth and success rate.

Despite their best intentions, some people end up with contract management systems that turn out to be a liability rather than an asset. It is, therefore, vital that you take time in choosing the right software. You should only use products from established companies. Some companies may offer shiny products and assure their customers but fold up within a few months or years of operation. You need to work with a business that will continuously supply you with the software whenever you need it. You also need online support in case you encounter a problem while using the software. Niche companies upgrade their products from time to time, and you can use them for this purpose as well.

Most companies look for automated contract processes to enhance efficiency in their businesses. You should, therefore, define your software requirements from the beginning. If you do not use this particular step, you will end up with unwanted software meaning that you will have to get more money for better software. Alternatively, you can customize it once you implement it. For accuracy, you should list down your current processes, the gaps and what you would like to improve. You should also consider input from C-level executives to know the most critical of the processes. It is also important to consider their value for money. When you are comparing the software, it is important that you ask quantitative, detailed questions.

Once you have answer for the important questions, you can ask for a detailed and custom demonstration of the particular process you want. Avoid generic demos because they do not highlight the weaknesses but only show the strengths of the software. It is advisable to ask for references or testimonials from people who have used the software before. You should have a conversation with the other client in the absence of the vendor so that you can that you can get an unbiased opinion. You can read online reviews of the software as well to get the best in the market.

Cost is a critical consideration for a contract manager or procurement professional looking to buy contract software for their contract management processes. You should look for a contract management system that will fit your budget and at the same time give you the best results. This is for the not just for the short term, but for the long term as well more so for ongoing projects.

You could also look at more details by clicking on the Features and Get Started section of this website to see how CMx Contract Experience surpasses all your expectations by providing you the best contract management system available in the market today.


References

Gartner - Contract Lifecycle Management CLM

Harvard University - Contract Management

IACCM - International Association of Commercial Contract Management

Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply

University of Southampton – Contract Management

Lahti University – Contract Management
Universiteit Twente