Contracts have been around for a very long time, but the way in which they are managed has changed drastically, especially in the last decade. Most businesses have transitioned to cloud computing, with many even going so far as to conduct their operations in a completely paperless fashion. Even contracting, a traditionally document heavy facet of business operations, is primarily completed in an electronic format, particularly given that the signing of contracts can be done online now. The contract management process will likely continue to evolve as the business climate does, but here are four notable trends happening now:
For many years, executives and managers had to deal with contracting in addition to their many other responsibilities. Granted, several attorneys were and still are usually involved at some point in the process, but in the past, the actual oversight rested on the shoulders of someone on the leadership team. In recent years, however, many companies have made the shift to creating a dedicated contract management team. Contracting can be quite time-consuming and rather nuanced, and thus there was a realization that it required a team with specific skills and qualifications. In many cases, there is one primary contract manager who oversees various other professionals tasked with handling different aspects of the contracting process.
Perhaps the most important change in contracting has been the development and widespread adoption of cloud-based contract management solutions. Contracts are often incredibly detailed, and there are usually a lot of important dates and deadlines to try to remember. As a result, automating certain parts of the contract cycle has completely transformed the entire contract management process, as the online systems help take care of the smaller details so that the people can focus on the big picture. In most sectors, contracts are created, stored, and shared electronically, which also allows for instant access and real time updates.
The automation of the contracting process has also allowed companies to have better contract visibility and analysis. Companies recognize that collecting and analyzing data are crucial to improving operations and growing a business, and contract data is no exception. Fortunately, many contract management solutions offer specialized reporting features that enable the contract management team to evaluate contract performance. This data analysis is of tremendous help in ensuring that things are done efficiently and in a cost effective manner.
Although many components of the contracting process are largely automated, the core of a contract is that it is an agreement between one or more parties. This means that there has to be a cordial working relationship among the people responsible for overseeing the contractual arrangement. Thus, the involved parties must be committed to ensuring that the relationship is mutually advantageous, which requires that all sides be actively engaged in the process. This led to a growing emphasis on cultivating relationships to ensure that contracting relationships thrive and survive.