If your company has never purchased contract management software before or is planning to switch from an outdated system, it can be a daunting task. Instead of getting bogged down comparing features between programs, business executives should first ask two simple questions:
- How will this feature help employees improve their work and efficiency?
- How will it protect the company from risk?
With those questions in mind, here’s how to analyze key contract management features to maximize productivity and security.
The main reason many organizations seek a system in the first place is because they have too many contracts to manage effectively. Managing all contracts in one place streamlines workflow and aids office productivity. A central system for all contracts also minimizes risk by reducing the chance that contracts will get lost in a forgotten filing cabinet or local hard drive.
Unlimited Admins and Users
Similarly, unlimited users is an important feature for effective contract management software. Every member of the legal department needs access to contracts. In some cases, the entire organization may need to access certain documents. Unlimited system administrators and users allow all employees to benefit from the convenience and organization the software offers.
Customizable User Access
While an unlimited number of users is important, not every employee needs the same information. Lower-level employees may only need to deal with contracts for their specific projects. Restricted access can aid worker productivity by removing irrelevant documents from view.
Limiting a user’s access to files can also protect confidential information. Contracts are among the most sensitive documents an organization handles. Taking steps to protect the company from liability risk is an understandable concern. Look for security measures for users, in addition to establishing protected levels of access. Two-factor authentication is helpful to verify users. Features like a timestamped digital watermark discourage users with view-only access from saving screenshots.
Easy Document Management
It doesn’t matter how many other strong features a contract management system has if it’s not easy to use. Uploading documents and folders should be quick and simple. When a user accesses the system, a clear table of contents minimizes wasted time. Employees can be more productive when they can easily locate and share documents they need.
Sophisticated search options enable workers to control the unique parameters for their projects, reviewing contracts at a glance. Saved search functions keep employees from having to redo work every time they need to check on contracts.
A common mistake for many organizations is using a scattered contract organization system. It’s easy to put off reviewing or organizing contracts. Expiration dates are often months or years away. Pressing daily concerns steal the spotlight. Letting a favorable contract lapse or auto-renewing instead of negotiating can cost an organization money.
Contract management software should make it easy to automate contract renewal and review processes. Helpful features include multiple options for reminder frequency and how to receive reminders (email is often convenient), and space to include process instructions.