Choosing the right software with the right features can make all the difference.
Managing contracts is something that almost all industries do daily. A single company can have contracts in place for a variety of reasons which could include facilities, personnel, clients, the real estate they operate in and so much more. Whatever the case may be, these contracts have their own stages and lifecycles that are important to stay aware of through their duration of activity. It’s hard to imagine with today’s advances in technology that there was a time where manual contract management was the standard process at most organizations. Hard copies were being stored in filing cabinets and some contract administrator or designated personnel had to make a conscious effort to check in on these records and ensure things were running smoothly.
Fast-forward to 2018 and with the help of workplace productivity tools and shared drives, managing contracts has progressed to a more digital landscape but despite these advances, are still a manual process for many organizations. Manually tracking a contract through a spreadsheet can be great at first, but someone still has to manually check the file, track down who may be responsible for that particular task, and it just becomes another job you really don’t have the time – nor the patience – for.
When you find yourself frustrated and ready to move to a software solution that can handle everything for you, here are the core contract management software features your contract lifecycle should have:
Protecting the sensitive information of your contacts and your organization should be your biggest priority. A good CLM will ensure that confidential information stays confidential. A good rule of thumb is that only those who play a role in that contract’s lifecycle should have access to that contract. To ensure contracts aren’t falling into the wrong hands, your CLM should offer the ability to assign customer user-based permissions. This gives you a piece of mind in knowing that the right restrictions are in place.
2. Extensive Repository
Not only should a CLM manage contracts, but they should provide a robust repository as well. Keeping all your contracts in one place will mitigate the possibility of contracts going missing and will help maintain a consistent file storing process for your organization. A repository can also eliminate miscommunication between new and existing employees. Additionally, a good CLM should offer advanced tracking, searching, and reporting with no restrictions to the types of files that can be uploaded.
This may be one of the most important features to keep in mind when evaluating a CLM. How productive can you be if you’re spending more time trying to navigate through the software compared to actually using it? An effective, user-friendly interface will be straight-forward to use. Additionally, a good CLM will allow for personalization to make the software more personal for your organization. In the event that something doesn’t click right away, the CLM should offer easy-to-follow user tutorials, explanations, and a responsive customer care team.
4. Collaboration Tools
Depending on the size of your organization, you may implement one CLM across multiple departments. It’s important for a good CLM to make this a seamless implementation and not feel like more trouble than it’s worth. A contract may require a legal review or a signature from another manager and having a CLM should make accomplishing tasks across multiple departments a breeze. A huge plus to look for are not only collaboration tools within the organization, but between vendors and clients as well.
5. Automated Alerts
The best for last and for good reason – a core feature that any CLM should have is the ability to produce automated alerts and key dates/information notifications. The whole purpose as to why you would want a CLM is to stop manually managing your contracts and start utilizing a software solution that does all the manual work for you. When new contracts are entered into the CLM, you can set up the pieces of information you want to be notified on including renewals, expirations, and who a task may be assigned to. With these alerts alone, your organization will become that much more productive because you’ll be ahead of the game and on-top of all stages of that contract’s lifecycle.
A good contract management software can at least provide the features we mentioned. But a great contract management software can do so much more. No matter what you’re looking for, make sure you’re taking the steps to maximize efficiency in your organization with better contract management processes.