Deciding to transition to a paperless office and implementing cloud-based solutions to facilitate that may seem like an intimidating feat. However, regardless of where your business currently stands, there is no denying that cloud-based applications help to simplify countless business operations, and contract management is no exception.
Here is the why, what, when, and how of making the transition to the contract management cloud:
The real question isn’t actually why you should make the transition, but rather, why not make the leap to streamline your contract management system? The bottom line is that there is far more to gain than to lose by shifting your contract management operation to the cloud, especially if your current system involves hunting through file cabinets and spreadsheets. Depending on the solution you choose, you will have a range of practical features to utilize, such as milestone tracking, report generation, and activity alerts. A good contract management solution will provide various tools that simplify the contract management process, freeing up the team’s time for more important contracting matters.
This can be tricky depending on the number and scope of contracts your company has in its portfolio. Obviously, as soon as you begin to use a cloud-based contract management service, all newly executed contracts should be uploaded and organized as soon as all pertinent documentation is finalized.
With respect to existing contracts, the process may be a bit more complicated and time-consuming. It will likely be necessary to review the entire contract portfolio to determine which contracts are most pressing or impose the most onerous obligations. This information can help the contract management team develop a strategic plan for gradually incorporating the company’s legacy contracts into the cloud database.
For companies engaged in high volume contracting, the transition to the cloud should be completed as soon as practicable, with the entire portfolio moved over as quickly and efficiently as possible. This may sound overwhelming, but once the initial setup is finished, it will streamline the entire contract management process, thereby saving loads of time and money in the long run.
Of course, for companies with a smaller portfolio, or perhaps those that have many of the same short contracts with multiple parties (e.g., licensing agreements), it may not be necessary to make the transition quite so quickly and fully. But, a cloud-based system has heaps of benefits compared to old-school methods, so the sooner an online system is employed, the sooner a company can spend less time worrying about monitoring paperwork and more time ensuring that the company is getting the best value out of its contract portfolio.
This is the part that companies find the hardest.
How you get your contracts to the cloud really depends on how your currently have your contracts organized. Some cloud-based solutions may have support for this. Here at ContractWorks, as an example, we can upload spreadsheets of our customers contract data- value, expiration date, vendor, basically any information they deem important. This way, they can find information about their contracts before the contract itself is actually in the cloud.
When it comes time to upload the contracts, If your company mainly has hard copies of contracts in a file cabinet, the transition will obviously require scanning and uploading. If the executed contracts are saved electronically, they will need to be shifted into the online contract database and organized appropriately. More than likely, this will require several people, a specific plan, and a bit of patience, but the time and money saved in the long run will be well worth it. Companies may want to tackle the contracts based on date, type, client, or subject matter.
In general, it probably makes the most sense to go in a reverse chronological order, beginning with contracts that involve significant obligations or sums of money. Each contract should be saved using a clearly delineated naming system that makes them easy to identify. Then, once all of the contracts are in the database, a comprehensive search tool and drag and drop feature can help with quickly organizing contracts into folders and subfolders.
Regardless of the size of your company and its contract portfolio, cloud contract management software will have a transformative impact on your management approach and processes, so it is advisable to find the right solution at the right price and to do so right away.