Successfully managing corporate agreements throughout the contract lifecycle requires great attention to detail, patience, and discipline. It also takes a lot of time.
That’s why legal teams, contract managers, and others who regularly work with contracts search for any opportunities to streamline various parts of the contract management process, and introduce automation when possible.
Whether you are responsible for 30 contracts, 300, or 3,000, there are steps you can take to manage these important documents more efficiently, so you can free up time to work on other tasks and business initiatives. Here are three ways to automate your contract management process.
Automate contract monitoring and milestone tracking
Every contract you manage includes important dates, deadlines, and other milestones that, if not closely monitored, can derail the agreement. Depending on the type of agreement, a single contract may contain dozens of key dates to keep track of and prepare for, and if your portfolio contains more than a handful of documents, staying on top of these details can turn into a complicated assignment. The more your contract portfolio grows, the greater the need becomes to introduce automation into your contract management process.
Look for ways to automate the process of tracking key contract dates, and consider investing in whatever solutions you need to ensure contract milestones don’t slip through the cracks. Whether it’s project management tools, automated calendar alerts, or contract management software, find what works best for you to eliminate the manual tracking of critical contract dates and deadlines.
Automate contract reporting
Contract reporting often gets overlooked when those responsible for managing agreements become overwhelmed with other parts of the contract lifecycle that might appear to be more important, like the execution of new agreements. But the fact is that reporting should be part of every company’s contract management process, and can reveal things like where contracts fell short in the past, risky clauses that need special attention going forward, how contracts are impacting your business, and other details that can cost your organization if not highlighted and addressed.
To avoid letting more seemingly time-sensitive tasks get in the way of contract reporting, set aside time on an ongoing basis so it becomes a regular part of your routine. Based on the size and complexity of your portfolio, this may need to be a weekly, monthly, or quarterly task, or however often you need to be sure that you know what’s happening with your agreements as they move through their lifecycles.
There are many solutions available that can help automate the contract reporting process, including contract management software with custom reporting options. Some solutions allow you to customize exactly which contract details you want to report on, how often to run the reports, and which individuals should receive that information on a regular basis, which can also help eliminate time spent responding to one-off requests for contract data.
Automate the signing process
Without automation, the contract signing process can turn into one of the biggest hurdles to getting contracts across the finish line after weeks or months of negotiations. Physically sending contracts from one location to the next for wet signatures not only adds time to the process, but also creates unnecessary risk that your sensitive information ends up lost or in the wrong hands.
Electronic signature tools can automate and significantly expedite the signing process. While some businesses invest in standalone e-signature solutions, many others have adopted contract management software with built-in e-signature functionality. With e-signature features, you can quickly indicate the various parties that need to sign the agreement, and have the contract and related documents automatically move from one signer to the next (or have everyone sign at once) to streamline the signature workflow. Another benefit of electronic signature is that you have visibility into the status of each contract, so you know who signed the document when and who still needs to sign.
There are various ways to incorporate automation into your contract management process, either with a combination of standalone solutions or with dedicated contract management software that incorporates all of this functionality (and more) into one system. Schedule a demo today to see how ContractWorks helps businesses automate the contract management process so you can spend less time on tedious, repetitive tasks and more time on higher value businesses activities.