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Contract Management Year-End Highlights and 2019 Trends

Risk & Compliance

As 2018 draws to a close and we look to the future of contract management, it's important to review some of the significant changes and innovations we've seen over the last year. We expect many of these trends to continue and grow into 2019, with contract management becoming more automated and convenient for all different types of businesses.

Machine Learning

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are certainly the buzzwords of the year. While often used interchangeably, machine learning is actually an element of artificial intelligence and describes the creation of algorithms and "neural networks" designed to teach computers how to process data sets. With machine learning, computers are given parameters to apply to a data set, like a contract. The computer then runs the algorithm against the data set and learns how to interpret that information and act predictively when presented with similar content. Many organizations are already using machine learning to select job candidates, determine credit scores, and alleviate the tedium associated with mundane, time-consuming tasks.

When it comes to contract management, machine learning helps automate tasks and ease the pain implementation. For example, an AI-enhanced contract lifecycle management software with machine learning could allow you to upload a set of contracts and have those documents automatically tagged for specific information including parties, start and end dates, terms, values, and even type of contract.

While the easy automation enabled by machine learning can ease workloads and help legal departments process contracts more quickly and efficiently, it does not eliminate the need for human oversight. In the future, we anticipate machine learning and AI-enhanced contract management software will continue to advance and evolve to meet the changing needs of the industries it serves.

Top Notch Security

Digital security is extremely important in our modern age. There have been several high profile breaches that have exposed the personal information of private citizens. Last year it was revealed Equifax breach exposed the personal information - including some social security numbers - of 143 million people. Just a few weeks ago, Starwood Resorts disclosed a years-long breach that exposed sensitive information belonging to 500 million people.

These experiences are the most notable example of the thousands of similar breaches regularly occurring on a smaller scale. The sheer number and scale of these breaches prove having the best security possible for contract management is crucial to any organization. That's why many contract management software providers include data encryption, customized permissions, and multifactor authentication.

Digital Collaboration

Sending a document back and forth via e-mail and waiting for edits can be time-consuming. Digital collaboration makes the contract process seamless and swift. For example, with collaborative contract management, you can suggest edits and the other party can see them in real time. Some applications allow you to chat in the document window as well. Even something as simple as Google Drive can offer powerful collaboration tools to make the contract creation process quicker, but using a professional contract management application will provide tools specifically designed to meet to your needs.

Ratings & Awards

You might think there wouldn't be ratings or awards out there for something as specific as contract management, but there is! When choosing the right program for your organization, look at the success others have had with that app. That's where something like G2 Crowd comes in. This platform gives users the opportunity to review enterprise software solutions.

All of these recent contract trends are, in many ways, a variation on the themes we've been tracking over the last few years,  and we expect this growth and innovation to continue in 2019 and beyond.

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