Contract management software is a must have for companies with a busy contract portfolio. These days, there are practical and affordable solutions that likely meet the needs of virtually any type of company that is actively engaged in contracting. Depending on your company’s size or sector, there are probably going to be certain features that are more important to have than others. However, there are some specific features that will be useful for just about everyone. Here are the most important features that your company’s contract management software simply must provide:
Data security has been and will continue to be an incredibly hot topic, and it is an especially concerning issue in light of the kinds of accounts and systems that hackers have been able to infiltrate lately. Given the sensitivity and value of some of the data that is contained within contracts, it is very important for companies to ensure that they utilize contract management software that prioritizes data security. Some examples of security-oriented features include advanced encryption for data that is in transit and at rest, certified data centers, and two-factor authentication procedures for entry into the database. Hopefully, the selected software provider will offer one or more of these features, and possibly other security measures, to ensure that contract data is adequately protected.
An additional layer of protection that cloud-based contract management software should also provide is access restrictions, or the ability to assign permissions-based roles. With this feature, the contract database administrator will grant, restrict, and revoke each individual user’s access to the database and/or specific documents that are stored within the system. By controlling access in this way, the contract management team will limit the inappropriate review or dissemination of contracts and other related documents. Individual users will not be able to simply download, print, or share a document, unless the administrator has granted them the ability to do so. Unnecessary document sharing and allowing unfettered access to sensitive data are often the reasons that data is compromised, so this feature curtails the possibility of that happening.
Of course, another facet of preserving contract security and maintaining control relates to monitoring all of the activity that occurs within an online contract database. This is only possible if the contract management software offers an activity tracking feature, sometimes known as an audit log, which captures and records any and all activity that occurs within the data room. This means that every login that occurs, document that is downloaded, text that is changed, or any other click that occurs within the system will be recorded, time stamped, and captured in an easy to view report. As a result, the database administrator will always be able to see what happened in the system, when it occurred, and who it was that performed each specific action.
Security is clearly a big priority when it comes to selecting contract management software, but practical features that facilitate contract oversight are also important. One of the tricky aspects of keeping track of a bunch of different contracts is that they all contain one or more important dates. For companies with a portfolio that contains thousands of contracts, that is a lot of dates to try to remember. Rather than having to check the calendar on a daily basis, contract management software should be set up in a way that automatically generated email reminders will be sent to notify the team of an upcoming deadline or milestone. With the right solution, these customizable alerts will be quick and easy to create as the contracts are uploaded into the system.
This isn’t necessarily a feature that is built into a contract management solution, but it should definitely be a part of the monthly or annual service package. Even the most sophisticated technological systems encounter issues from time to time, and as long as there is a knowledgeable team available round-the-clock to troubleshoot the issue, there is no reason that such minor inconveniences should ever derail contract performance.