Contract management is a time-consuming albeit necessary facet of running a business. Most companies likely have dozens, if not hundreds of contracts with professional services companies, vendors, and/or clients. Trying to keep a handle on so many contracts, and especially so many different types of contracts, can be quite a headache if there is not a proper contract management system in place. Unfortunately, a lot of companies likely continue to rely on cumbersome spreadsheets to manage their contracting affairs. This may work for a small portfolio or for a brief period of time, but this can be overwhelming to handle as a company grows. And, ineffective management often leads to slower contract cycles, as time is usually wasted on trivial details instead of high level matters. Here is how the right contract management can help reduce contract cycle time:
Decrease Manual Entry
Utilizing purpose-built contract management technology can save companies countless wasted hours. Perhaps the most significant time-saving aspect is the decrease in, or perhaps even a complete elimination of, manually entering contract data into a spreadsheet or other un-automated system. By uploading contracts into an online repository, contract documents and specific terms will be wholly searchable. In addition, contract management software should allow for the use of templates that can be auto-populated with key terms and conditions. There will no longer be time spent on rifling through papers to find a particular clause or finding and filling in the blanks on a standard contract, which will inevitably speed up the entire contracting cycle.
Facilitate Information Exchange
One of the reasons that negotiating and drafting a contract can take so long is that documents are often sent back and forth between the parties and their representatives. By using a centralized contract database, there will be no need to email attachments around, which not only wastes time but could potentially lead to compromised confidential information. In addition to knowing that a document will not sit in someone’s inbox unread for days, the contract site administrator will actually be able to check on the progress of the document via an audit trail. There will be constant oversight as to who has accessed a contract and what actions have been taken with respect to a particular agreement. Thus, it will be clear if someone is not acting on a matter in a timely fashion and can be addressed much faster.
A common issue among contract management teams is the lack of visibility of their contract data. A haphazard approach to saving and organizing contracts and related documents will make it difficult to know where things stand at any given moment. However, with an online management solution, everyone on the team can have access to all relevant data in real time. This kind of access improves visibility, making it faster and easier to maintain adequate oversight of the portfolio as a whole.