The top features you should look for in contract management software
Contracts are an essential part of any business, but managing them can be a challenging task. As contracts become more complex and numerous, contract management software becomes a crucial tool for businesses looking to streamline their processes. With so many options available, it can be challenging to know which features to prioritize. In this article, we'll go over the top features you should look for in contract management software to help you make an informed decision.
Features your contract management software should have:
- Centralized Repository: This feature allows you to store all your contracts in one easily accessible location for efficient document management.
- Automated Contract Creation: With this feature, you can generate contracts quickly by automating the creation process, saving time and minimizing errors.
- Customizable Workflow: A customizable workflow allows you to define and automate the steps involved in the contract lifecycle, ensuring consistency and compliance.
- Collaboration and Sharing: Collaboration features enable you to work with stakeholders in real-time by sharing access to contracts with relevant parties.
- Search and Reporting Capabilities: Efficient search and reporting options ensure that you can quickly find the contract you need and easily gain insights into your contract data.
- Clause Libraries: clause libraries enable you to create clauses that can be quickly accessed and reused, saving time and ensuring consistency.
- Contract Analytics and Metrics: thorough analytics will provide you with a better understanding of your contracts, helping you make better decisions and improving compliance.
- Security and Compliance: A good contract management system includes security and compliance features such as audit trails, role-based access controls, and data encryption.
- Integration with Third-party Systems: Integration with other systems such as CRM, ERP, or accounting software can streamline business workflows and increase efficiency.
- Mobility and Accessibility: The ability to access contracts from anywhere, on any device, is essential in today's remote work environment.
Mobile accessibility ensures that you can work on-the-go and stay connected with your business.
A centralized repository is a feature that allows you to store all of your contracts in one place. Here are some details:
- This repository can be accessed by all authorized users from any location.
- The repository should be organized so that it's easy to search for and find specific contracts.
- It should be able to handle different file formats, such as PDFs, Word documents, or scanned images.
- This feature ensures that your contracts are accurately and securely stored, reducing the risk of lost or misplaced contracts.
- It also helps you to stay organized and up-to-date on contract renewal dates, the status of contract negotiations, and other essential contract management tasks.
Automated Contract Creation
Automated Contract Creation is a feature of contract management software that enables users to create contracts quickly and accurately. This feature eliminates the need for manual document assembly and combing through unstructured data. Instead, the software uses pre-built templates and user-defined rules to generate contracts automatically.
With Automated Contract Creation, users can streamline the contract creation process and reduce errors that often arise from manual processes. It saves managers and their teams time, as tailored templates and pre-built rules minimize reviewing and editing overheads.
This feature reduces exposure to legal risks by utilizing clause libraries, drop-down menus, and work flows to ensure that contracts are drafted in accordance with specific organization policies. Contract administrators can also track compliance by monitoring contract language, and set alerts, triggers, and approvals to make sure that agreements are valid.
Finally, Automated Contract Creation simplifies the process of contract creation by allowing non-legal staff, such as procurement managers and sales teams, to easily generate legally sound contracts without needing legal background or counsel.
Customizable Workflow is a feature that allows users to create and modify their own contract management processes. It provides flexibility to customize workflows to fit specific organizational needs and ensures that all contract-related tasks are completed in an efficient and consistent manner. Here are some key points about Customizable Workflow:
- User-Friendly Interface: The interface allows users to easily create custom workflows through a drag-and-drop functionality.
- Process Automation: Entire contract lifecycle processes, such as contract request, review, approval, execution, and renewal, can be automated.
- Internal Control: Customizable workflow ensures compliance and internal control because it requires simple actions such as setting up automatic alerts when a specific stage is reached.
- Integration: It enables contract management software to fit within existing workflows, software as well as tools used by the organization.
- Increased Productivity: The automated, customizable workflow minimizes the need for manual intervention, therefore increasing the time spent on contract analysis and enhancing productivity.
- Transparency: Each stage of the contract lifecycle is visible for transparency, accountability and effective decision making.
- Scalability and Adaptability: As the organization grows or changes, customizable workflows can be adapted to cater to new requirements.
In summary, the customizable workflow is a critical feature of an effective contract management system that enables the creation of custom processes and automation to improve efficiency and productivity.
Collaboration and Sharing
Collaboration and sharing are crucial features of contract management software that enable teams to work together efficiently and effectively. Here are some essential points to understand this feature.
- Real-time collaboration: Contract management software should allow team members to work on documents in real-time without any lag, regardless of their physical locations. This can be done through cloud technology, which allows members to access the same contract document from anywhere, anytime and make changes in real-time.
- Version control: Collaboration and sharing should be accompanied by automated version control. This ensures that team members are working on the same version of a document and that all changes are recorded. So, team members can keep track of document revisions and restore previous versions if required.
- Reusable clause libraries: Collaboration and sharing also mean having access to a centralized repository of contract clauses. This library improves collaboration by providing commonly used clause templates that can be easily customized for each contract.
- Sharing: Collaboration also includes sharing the contracts with stakeholders outside the team, such as clients, legal, or finance departments. Contract management software must provide an easy and secure way to share the document and give selective permission to specific users.
- Notifications and alerts: In addition to collaboration, notifications and alerts can be useful in ensuring everyone involved in the contract process receives updates. These reminders could be automated to notify team members of upcoming deadlines, notary appointments, or milestone goals.
Overall, collaboration and sharing make it easier for contract teams to work efficiently, reduce the time spent on manual communication and ensure everyone involved in the process is on the same page.
Search and Reporting Capabilities
Search and reporting capabilities in contract management software refer to the ability to quickly search and find specific contracts or clauses within them, as well as being able to generate reports based on the contract data. This is an essential feature for companies that have numerous contracts to manage and need to retrieve and organize information quickly and easily.
With search capabilities, users can search for specific contracts based on various criteria such as contract type, expiration date, or vendor name. This makes it easier to identify outstanding contracts and take the appropriate action to renew or renegotiate them.
Reporting capabilities allow users to generate customized reports based on the contract data. Reports can be sorted by any category, including contract value, type, and vendor name, making it easy to identify trends and patterns. Additionally, the software can automatically generate alerts for approaching deadlines or incomplete contracts, ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks.
Overall, the search and reporting capabilities of a contract management software solution are essential for organizations that need to manage complex contracts efficiently and effectively. With this feature, users can easily retrieve and analyze vital contract data, enabling them to make informed decisions and manage risks proactively.
Clause libraries are a handy feature of contract management software that allows you to save and reuse individual clauses or sections of contracts. Essentially, clause libraries are a repository of pre-approved legal language, making it easy to quickly compose new documents from existing parts. This feature saves time when negotiating and drafting contracts, and reduces the chances of errors.
By centralizing standard clauses in a single location, contracts can be drafted more quickly and consistently, with less room for errors or misunderstandings. Having access to a library of approved and standardized clauses can help you create contracts that comply with relevant laws and regulations.
Clause libraries can also be customized to reflect the specifics of your organization's unique contractual needs. For example, you might have a library of clauses that relate to data privacy or intellectual property agreements.
Overall, clause libraries are an essential part of contract management software, helping to streamline the process of drafting new contracts while also ensuring legal compliance and consistency.
Contract Analytics and Metrics
Contract analytics and metrics are an essential feature of contract management software that provides valuable insights into contract performance. It involves analyzing, tracking, and identifying trends in contract metrics and data.
Here are some key points to help you understand contract analytics and metrics:
- Contract analytics and metrics allow organizations to measure contract compliance, manage risks, and optimize contract performance.
- This feature provides critical information such as expiration dates, contract value, renewal rates, and vendor performance.
- With contract analytics and metrics, you can easily track the status of all contracts, identify bottlenecks, and improve contract processing times.
- It enables data-driven decision making by providing a holistic view of the contract portfolio, identifying areas of improvement, and suggesting solutions to optimize contract performance.
- Contract analytics and metrics empower your organization to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as contract cycle time, cost savings, and renewal rates.
- This feature also helps you identify potential risks and compliance issues, allowing you to take immediate action to mitigate them.
- Contract analytics and metrics provide significant benefits to legal and procurement teams, enabling them to streamline processes, reduce risks, and optimize contract management.
In summary, contract analytics and metrics are critical features that provide valuable insights into contract performance, allowing organizations to reduce risks, optimize contract management, and make data-driven decisions.
Security and Compliance
Security and compliance are crucial features of any contract management software. These features aim to ensure the safety and protection of your organization's confidential information and assets.
Here are some of the aspects you need to look for in security and compliance features:
- Access Management - This feature should authorize users and limit access to authorized personnel only. It can also track who has access to certain documents.
- Data Encryption - A secure contract management software should encrypt data so unauthorized users cannot read or access it without proper access levels.
- Backup and Recovery - A good software backup feature is essential in protecting data. It should offer data recovery should an accidental deletion or data theft occur.
- Audit Trail - This feature tracks all actions done within a contract. It includes the creation of new contracts, modification, or deletion of old contracts.
- User authentication - User authentication is a security feature to protect confidential data from unauthorized access by bad actors. It requires credentials such as a user ID and password.
- Compliance Reporting - The best software will send compliance reports to management highlighting sensitive information that may be at risk.
- 2-factor Authentication - This extra layer of authentication involves an OTP or a code sent to your email or phone just in case someone gets hold of password.
If you need to ensure the confidentiality and security of your contracts, choosing a software program that has these features is vital. When browsing the software market, look out for the providers with an excellent reputation for data security.
Integration with Third-party Systems
Integration with third-party systems refers to the ability of contract management software to connect with other tools and applications that are used in your business. This feature is crucial for organizations that rely on different software systems for different functions.
Here are some details about why integration with third-party systems is important:
- Enables you to create a seamless workflow between various software systems
- Saves time by eliminating the need for manual data entry across different platforms
- Improves efficiency and reduces the risk of errors and inconsistencies
- Allows for real-time synchronization of data between different systems
- Enables you to get a holistic view of your business processes by integrating different systems
- Facilitates seamless communication and collaboration between different teams and departments
- Enables you to leverage the strengths of individual software systems and consolidate data in a single location
- Widens your options for selecting complementary software tools that will improve your business processes
- Ensures that your contract management software is future-proof and can evolve as your business grows and changes.
Mobility and Accessibility
hope that helps!
"Hope that helps!" is a common expression used to indicate helpfulness or sincerity. Below are some details on what this expression means:
- It's a way to convey that the information provided is done so with good intentions and helpfulness in mind.
- The phrase can be used in many different contexts, from giving advice to answering questions.
- It's a polite way to show gratitude towards someone for their effort in helping.
- "Hope that helps!" is commonly used in written communication, such as emails or online forums, where tone can be hard to convey.
- It's a concise way to show that the recipient's question or concern has been heard and addressed.
When looking for contract management software, it is important to prioritize features that can streamline and organize the contract management process. These features include customizable templates, automated workflows, and electronic signatures. The software should also have robust search and reporting capabilities, as well as collaboration and communication tools for teams working on contracts.
Additionally, it is important to consider the software's security and compliance features, as well as its user-friendliness and scalability. By prioritizing these features, organizations can more effectively manage their contracts and avoid potential costly mistakes.