When starting the process of purchasing contract management software, the most important thing to consider is what you and your team are looking to solve. There are hundreds of solutions on the market, but if you can identify and focus only on the handful that address your unique challenges and requirements, you can make the process much more simple and straightforward.
Start by understanding exactly what you’re looking for, reviewing the available options, and doing research to see what customers are saying about each solution. Once you have settled on a list of viable candidates, get in touch with vendors so you can discuss your needs and get a better idea of how each system would improve your contract management process, keeping in mind the time and money required to successfully adopt each system.
Navigating the contract management software landscape can be overwhelming, but if you know what you need the software to help with, you can quickly narrow down the choices and select the solution that best aligns with your unique needs.
Here is a step-by-step checklist to help guide you through the contract management software selection process.
The Contract Management Software Selection Checklist
Identify your current contract management process: What is working and where do inefficiencies exist?
This will help you focus and expedite your software search. By focusing only on the problem areas of your contract management process, you can implement a solution more quickly without disturbing the parts of the process that already work well.
Consult with the contract management team to get their input and identify areas in need of improvement in one’s day-to-day tasks in the contract lifecycle.
It’s important that all key players in your contract management process buy into the project and priorities to avoid wasting time and money purchasing a solution that doesn’t get fully implemented or improve your operations.
Determine how much you’re looking to spend on a contract management solution.
Contract management software solutions run the gamut as far as pricing. Going into the buying process with a clear budget in mind will help you eliminate options that aren’t realistically within your price range.
Establish contracting end-goals.
Before you compare vendors and functionality, you should fully understand what you’re looking to accomplish with help from software.
Identify your “must-have” and your “nice-to-have” features based on your specific needs and goals.
One common line of thinking is that more features always leads to a better experience, but that isn’t always the case. Extra features that don’t align with your needs will likely go unused, drive up the price, and make it more difficult to quickly navigate through the system.
If you have a high volume of agreements, determine where artificial intelligence features fall on your list of priorities.
Artificial intelligence features can vary greatly from one solution to the next, so talk to each provider about how they use AI to improve the user experience.
Determine the number of users that will need access and how many documents you expect to store in the system.
Pricing packages for most solutions are driven by the number of users and documents, so determining this information before meeting with software providers will expedite the process.
Review the specific features and capabilities of the solutions your company can afford, paying attention to the scope or potential limitations of the software.
Various solutions specialize in solving different parts of the contracting process, so finding the solution that best matches your specific needs and budget is key.
Schedule product demonstrations with the software providers you’re considering.
Product demonstrations are your chance to ask questions and develop an understanding of why you should consider one solution over another.
Have your IT team review the security features of the solutions being vetted.
The software you choose will be used to store some of your most important documents, so make sure you’re comfortable with the security measures each platform offers before making a decision.
Request a free trial of your top 2-3 choices.
Product demonstrations are helpful to give you an idea of what each solution is capable of, but spending time using the software should quickly help you decide whether or not you’re comfortable with the layout, functionality, and user experience.
Select the appropriate software.
The software you choose will likely be in place at your organization for years to come, so it’s a good idea to select a system based on how comfortable you are with the company and the team in addition to the functionality of the software.
Learn how to use the product in its entirety, taking advantage of all available training resources.
Be sure to spend the time needed to become completely comfortable using the software, especially during the initial implementation and onboarding process. After putting in the time and money to find the right solution, you’ll want to ensure that you and your team actually use the system the way you intended.
Measure your contract performance and progress using custom reports.
Scheduling reports and establishing contract management KPIs will provide important insight into your process and allow you to make improvements where necessary.
Keep up with any changes to the software platform and new features.
As new features are released, work with your account manager and support team to determine if they are relevant to the way you use the system and are worth incorporating into your routine.
The more planning you put into your contract management software selection process, the better the chances are that it will go smoothly and result in your team adopting a solution that aligns with your specific needs and requirements.