Managing a busy contract portfolio requires a good amount of daily oversight, especially if the contract management group has a small team or limited resources. Implementing a practical contract management system is a crucial investment for any company with an active portfolio, and contrary to popular belief, not all solutions will break the bank. In addition to concrete financial savings, there are some intangible benefits to automating the contract management process. One of the biggest advantages will be the time that it saves, allowing team members to exert their efforts on more pressing matters, which of course ends up helping the bottom line.
Based on a conservative estimate, automated contracts can save a company at least 260 hours per year, and perhaps even more. This is based on the assumption that a member of the contract management team spends at least one hour each day on trivial matters. One hour each day for each of the five days of the work week over the 52 weeks in a year adds up to 260 hours, and that is just to see where a contract stands. Here is how an automated contract management process will prevent those hours from being wasted:
No Daily Calendar Checks
Contracts inevitably contain various important dates and deadlines. There are delivery and payment schedules to remember, as well as renewal deadlines and termination dates. Even if every contract only has two key dates, when there are hundreds of contracts to contend with it becomes virtually impossible to manage that kind of volume manually. With a contract management solution, dates can be flagged and alerts created to ensure that email reminders are sent when an important deadline is approaching. This eliminates the tedious daily chore of checking the calendar to determine what's on tap.
No Daily Spreadsheet Updates
In addition to spending time each day reviewing the calendar, there are likely a handful of spreadsheets that must also be referenced, whether to check on a specific item, input an update, or make certain changes. Spreadsheets are useful tools for many business operations, but their utility really starts to diminish as a contract portfolio grows exponentially. Spreadsheets will become increasingly detailed and complex, requiring the devotion of more and more time to maintain them. Whether these updates occur daily, weekly, or monthly, there is no doubt that they are a tremendous, not to mention unnecessary, time drain. By relying on purpose-built contract management software, the need for these spreadsheets will not only diminish but likely dissipate altogether.
No Document Pursuits
Document retention and management strategies are ugly albeit critical components of contract administration. Although most companies have likely transitioned to a paperless system, there are times when hard copies are needed and paper filing systems haven't been phased out completely. But, even with hard copies that perhaps have original, ink signatures, something that is also gradually losing favor, it still makes sense to establish an online repository for electronic versions of these documents. This ensures that contracts are saved in one secure location, and it makes it a whole lot easier to find an item in a hurry, as there will be no need to spend time rifling through papers and files.
No Clause Searches
In addition to quickly locating an actual contract or related document within an online system, using an electronic database also allows for discrete searches. Sometimes it may be necessary to find a specific clause, but it may not be clear which agreement contains the precise clause because a company may have multiple contracts with the same client or vendor. Instead of wasting time trying to figure out where that information is, a quick, Google-style search for the pertinent terms can be conducted within an online contract management system, once again saving countless precious hours.