Contract management is an area where many legal departments struggle to gain control. If you have ad-hoc contract processes and lack visibility, you have probably experienced the consequences: delayed decision-making, misunderstanding of peoples’ responsibilities, missed opportunities to improve performance, increased exposure to risk, etc…
By examining of how your business manages contracts, you can identify where technology can help you structure processes, increase efficiency and mitigate risks in due time.
Not only can you ensure that contracts perform as intended, but you can also proactively
protect the business and elevate the level of service Legal provides to the business.
Here are a few way technology can support you:
- Use document assembly tools
Document assembly tools can empower colleague across the business to create “ready-to-sign” contracts using pre-approved templates provided by the legal department. This can help improve compliance and give you more time to focus on higher value tasks.
- Establish clause libraries
To mitigate this risk, Legal can provide term and clause libraries to use with document
automation tools. By ensuring that automated contracts use approved terms and clauses, you can reduce loopholes and increase the likelihood that contacts are fulfilled as intended.
Collaboration and Negotiation
- Define workflows for each type of contract
Creating defined workflows helps identify and eliminate unnecessary procedures. It also helps businesses understand the objectives of the task, who is responsible and how much time is required. When parties understand their role and what is required from them and when, you can eliminate delays in decision making and close contracts quicker.
Businesses often spend too much time collecting signatures required for contracts, a problem that can be avoided by using e-signatures. Legal must make sure that the e-signature feature used, is from a reputable vendor who guarantees that the signatures are legally binding and provides a full audit history of every action taken place during the signing process.
- Track contract status & responsible parties
Tracking helps you understand the stage of the contract and who is responsible. This ensures that everyone is aware of which contracts they are responsible for and who has signing authority. Tracking can also help you identify and eliminate bottlenecks in your process so that you can continually optimise.
- Use a central repository to store contracts
Storing all contracts in a centralised digital repository makes contract easier to find, search, share and report on. That can save time and money – especially when you need to generate insights for the C-suite and provide strategic advice.
- Set reminders
Reminders or alerts can help you avoid missing deadlines or critical events that could result in financial losses and/or expose the business to legal risks.
- Generate reports
The legal departments need to be able to quickly generate insights to assess and monitor performance while mitigating risks. When contract information is in one system, you can quickly run reports (ie. Contracts that will expire in 90 days), cross-reference data (ie. Contracts by entity or jurisdiction) and pull out insights for action planning (ie. which contracts will be impacted by Brexit).
By structuring contract management processes, Legal to gain control over contracts throughout their life cycle. It also improves efficiency and compliance while allowing Legal to proactively mitigate risks by becoming a value delivering function to the business.
Want to improve control over contract management process but not sure how to start? In our latest whitepaper, we illustrate some common challenges businesses face when they have ad-hoc contract management and describe how technology can help Legal take control. Get your free copy here.