Contract Management’s Role in Business Continuity Planning
Contracts play an important role governing the relationships every business needs to be successful, and the ability to manage those agreements in any situation is imperative. During unexpected interruptions to your standard business operations or times when you’re physically unable to get to the office, having a strong contract management process in place helps ensure business continuity.
There are a few things you can do regarding the way you manage corporate agreements that put you in position to minimize any fallout resulting from unplanned time away from your office. From a business continuity perspective, having a strong contract management process in place means that you have accounted for the following:
Your contracts are stored online
In order to ensure you can find and access your contracts under any circumstances, online storage is a must. Even if your contracts are meticulously managed and organized, but they’re housed in a physical location in paper form, there’s no guarantee they’ll always be accessible.
Storing your organization’s contracts online means that no matter your physical location, you and others responsible for managing agreements will be able to maintain visibility of important contract details, such as approaching dates and deadlines, deliverables, and key clauses. This access and insight prevents your team from scrambling to find answers to inquiries about the status of specific agreements or missing opportunities to take critical contract-related actions.
You have an online system for tracking important dates
Whether you’re in the office, on the road, or working from home, staying on top of contract deliverables and deadlines is key to any effective contract management process. Similar to the issues that can arise from relying on access to paper contracts, failing to establish online calendars, email alerts, or other digital notification systems can prove costly in an extended absence from the office. Failing to terminate an annual contract during the opt-out window or missing an opportunity to renegotiate the terms of an agreement can lead to unnecessary spending and increased risk for your business.
However you choose to track important contract deadlines, be sure that your process accounts for unexpected time away from your primary workplace and desktop calendars.
You have a way to sign agreements electronically
To ensure business continuity, contract management plans should account for both effectively managing all existing agreements and signing new contracts with customers, strategic partners, service providers, and others. When unable to meet in person, electronic signature tools offer businesses the ability to sign contracts from nearly any location with an internet connection.
Signing contracts digitally means that your team doesn’t have to wait until the operational interruption has been resolved so you can gather all parties to sign in person, or deal with the costs and delays involved with printing and mailing agreements back and forth. Electronic signature solutions make it easier to sign and approve new contracts quickly, which can be crucial when responding to an unexpected event.
How contract management software helps
Undoubtedly, all of the tasks and challenges listed above can be solved using a variety of shared drives, calendar apps, and standalone electronic signature services. However, many purpose-built contract management software solutions can address all of these issues and more, while allowing you to manage your contracts faster and easier than you can with a collection of business solutions that solve for various aspects of the process.
Contract management software is designed to provide you and your team with constant access to your corporate agreements, so you always have the visibility and insight needed to make informed decisions that positively impact your business. Common features like searchable online repositories, milestone alerts and notifications, and custom reporting options give you the tools needed to fully understand all of the important details hidden in your contracts - from any location.
During your organization’s business continuity planning, remember that you need to do more than maintain access to network servers, continue supporting customers, and ensure employees know what to do if they can’t get to work. Your plan should also account for your team always having secure, remote access to your important contracts and business documents to avoid wasting money, adding unnecessary risk, or possibly committing a breach of contract. Contract management software can help you remain in control of your corporate agreements no matter what unplanned events interrupt your organization’s standard operations.