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Evolving Beyond Spreadsheets: A Guide to Modern Contract Management

    
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For many companies, contract management has traditionally consisted of manually updating spreadsheets to help document and track the endless deadlines and complicated terms found within their corporate agreements. However, as technology has evolved, more effective and efficient ways to manage large volumes of contracts have emerged. 

Although spreadsheets might seem sufficient for some contract management needs, it is not a sustainable solution as your company grows. Below are some of the reasons legal teams have often turned to spreadsheets for their contract management needs, as well as the benefits of making the switch to dedicated contract management software.

Why spreadsheets have been a popular solution

Spreadsheets have often been the go-to solution for keeping track of a company’s contractual agreements, and for good reason. Spreadsheets are an easy way to keep information organized, and with modern systems like SharePoint and Google Sheets, information can be easily be shared and accessed by multiple members of your team. Spreadsheets allow for fairly straightforward information input and users don’t need much training to get up to speed. Spreadsheets allow users to see a snapshot of information quickly and can serve as a reference document listing out various data points within your contracts.

Where spreadsheets fall short

There are certainly benefits of using spreadsheets to manage contracts, but there are also some serious drawbacks. One of the biggest risks that comes with managing contracts in this manual fashion is the risk of missing deadlines. Losing track of deadlines can mean missed contract renegotiation windows, missed renewals, and ultimately losses in revenue. A spreadsheet won’t send you notifications for these critical dates, so it’s important to consider a solution that does.

Contract management software is built with contract deadlines and details in mind, and offers customizable reminders and notifications for the dates that matter most to you and your business. Rather than having to rely on memory, sort through a web of sticky notes, or constantly check spreadsheets, contract management software sends you alerts about upcoming deadlines and ensures you never miss an opportunity to renew, renegotiate, or cancel an agreement.

Although spreadsheets are effective for storing information about your contracts, they are not always as reliable when it comes time to actually locate a given contract. To track down your contracts faster, you’ll need a system that houses your documents in a central location (vs. a spreadsheet that simply provides notes about where it should be). Contract management software stores all of your contracts in one secure, searchable repository, so you always know your contracts are protected and can be found within seconds. This can save contract managers valuable time and allow business operations to run more smoothly.

Spreadsheets are great for showcasing information, but aren’t so great at hiding it when necessary. Sometimes legal teams only want to share certain information with a specific individual or group of people (whether internal or external). Assigning access by user creates a challenge when using spreadsheets, and would require managing various spreadsheets, creating more opportunities for human error and wasted time and effort.

Contract management software solves this problem with the ability to create permission-based user roles. Account administrators have the ability to define specific permission settings for each user in the system, allowing for granular control over which folders and documents a user can access.

Security is another area where spreadsheets fall short. Depending on where they are housed, the information contained can easily fall into the wrong hands. The best way to prevent this is to instead utilize the security features of a contract management software. These systems are protected by various security features that work together to create a platform that will keep your documents safe and give you added peace of mind knowing your important agreements are protected.

Contract management software offers many features that will elevate your contract management process beyond what spreadsheets can offer. Spreadsheets can only do so much, and as your organization grows and you begin managing a larger volume of contracts, turning to dedicated contract management software often makes the most business sense.

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