How does this sound for a perfect world? Your C-level executives can access contracts with all business partners instantly. Just as quickly, your executive can review the audit log to see who last worked on it. In preparation for a meeting with the legal department, the shared software assigns the files to the people who need to review it.
These are just a few of the components of a powerful contract management system (CMS) that effective IT managers can bring to their organization. Maintaining clear records, minimizing risk while optimizing security, streamlining approvals and tracking trends for strategic insight are additional capabilities made possible with the right tools at your fingertips.
Maintain Clear Records
Maintaining clear records helps stakeholders stay on top of renewal deadlines, and important deliverables. IT managers set up a contract management system to categorize contracts by organizational needs and to identify overlaps. By identifying redundant contracts and low-performing agreements, the CMS helps decision makers decide when to expand or end relationships, depending on their usefulness. If you can prevent missed opportunities by homing in on relationships that are working, your organization can concentrate spending on performing contracts.
Minimize Risk and Enhance Security
Along with maximizing contract availability, implementing a CMS provides additional security. An audit trail reveals everyone who opens the contract and records any changes made. This confirms when an approver signs off on a modified contract when someone makes changes and other valuable information.
Using a contract management system gives decision makers control over who can access each file. This enables control measures and disciplinary steps if someone shares sensitive contract files with unauthorized individuals.
A shared system speeds up the approval process because decision makers all have access to the most recent files. This reduces the timeline from the inception of agreement to a signed, formal contract. Ultimately, bringing this system online is a big win for the organization and the IT leaders who suggested the solution.
An effective CMS uses electronic signatures as the preferred method of approval to reduce the amount of coordination needed for manual signatures. Further, e-signatures are now legally valid and binding and even more secure the signing with a pen on paper.
Contract management systems improve contract workflow and approvals, but they also lend insight into whether you are managing the process effectively. To do this, metrics tell you the average turnaround time for approvals and reviews. It can identify areas of improvement, such as opportunities to standardize and automate as many steps as possible, which helps your business partners prevent errors and wasted time.
Managing the contract workflow, approval, storage, and availability may not be a top priority for a busy organization. However, it can prevent disasters such as an unintentionally deleted contract or poor records that cause your company to get burned in a legal battle.
In addition, a contract management solution helps you set the bar higher and exceed contract expectation with key partners. It's also a key selling point to providing the tools negotiators need to build successful new relationships.
Three Reasons to Invest in a CMS Today
1. Lower Costs
As a forward-thinking IT manager, you can help your organization automate much of the contract lifecycle. Consequently, you reduce the time needed for administering contract storage, access, and control. Ultimately, this lets you standardize contract workflow, which reduces the number of resources needed and prevents avoidable human errors.
2. Increased Accessibility
To increase accessibility to contracts across the business, you require automated software that has a centralized repository of all contracts and supporting documents. You can be the hero that implemented a seamless system that provided secure visibility and an easy-to-follow process to secure lucrative agreements faster or to ring the alarm by finding under-performing deals that need to be phased out.
3. Stronger Compliance
Due to the legal and binding nature of contracts, each with its own set of requirements, having a transparent but secure CMS can give you a stronger compliance strategy. Using an automated electronic system lets you offer that to your business without sacrificing security.
Being an IT leader for your company's contract repository is about more than monitoring server space and maintaining security. By vetting out Contract Management Solutions that fit with your business, you can save your organization time, money and effort while increasing security around contracts and other sensitive documents.
About the Author: Chantel Soumis
Chantel Soumis brings over a decade of knowledge in workflow enhancement through the use of technology. Chantel studied marketing communications and business administration at Franklin University and proceeded to work in a fast, ambitious environment, assuring client delight in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Passionate about project productivity and streamlining workflows through the use of technology, Chantel strives to inform organizations of Valicom’s advanced telecom expense management software and services by mastering communications and messaging while delivering helpful information and supporting resources.