Storing your contract’s key dates in Microsoft Excel, writing them on a sticky note or putting a reminder in a calendar offers quick, accessible options to businesses who want visibility. But each solution fails to make key dates actionable.
Stakeholders still need to spend time checking spreadsheets, assessing calendars and chasing others for more information on what’s been captured and stored. None of these scenarios bode well for businesses who want to be proactive when it comes to contract renewals and expiries.
Missing a key date can cost your business a proportion of its revenue and negatively impact its relationships and reputation. It’s time to take back control."
As teams attempt to multitask between contract management and contract administration, a key date filed away can easily be forgotten about. It can also fall to the wayside as higher value work becomes the focus.
In this article we explore what contract renewal software is, why it’s important and how your business can benefit from implementing such a solution. If your business needs actionable visibility, methods to unlock proactivity and greater levels of control around key dates, keep reading on.
The importance of key contract dates
Dates are more than just numbers to be extracted from your agreements. Recording them, storing them and putting them away for well intended safe-keeping isn’t a means to driving strategic value from your agreements.
Not only should your stakeholders be able to easily access key dates for each agreement, they should know what the key dates signify and the consequences of them passing by. Each agreement should also have a specified owner who has full accountability for what needs to be done by each date.
The importance of key contract dates lies in their strategic value. They help businesses to structure their approach to contract management."
Many businesses will think of contract renewals first. The renewals process offers an opportunity to review if an agreement has achieved its agreed outcomes and delivered value to the business. But far too often, agreements have auto-renewal clauses that can be missed if information hasn’t been extracted properly, the date isn’t visible or the opportunity to review the contract hasn’t been built into internal processes.
This can cause revenue leaks, with your business paying for duplicate services or a service that is no longer competitive with current market rates."
Contract renewals will take the main focus for this article, but there are plenty of other key dates to be aware of. These can include payment dates, termination dates, expiry dates for security certificates and expiry dates for entire agreements.
Each of these dates require an action plan. If your business isn’t thinking strategically then non-compliance, business disruption and tensions with vendors may become the norm for your business.
Who needs contract renewal software?
Contract renewal software can benefit businesses of all sizes and in all sorts of industries. Whether you’re part of a start-up that’s looking to scale quickly or a regulated enterprise that needs to get its contracts in order, using software to do the heavy lifting for you can bring your business into an ideal future state.
This ideal future state is one where key dates are extracted automatically, centralised and used to trigger a timely stream of contract management activity."
It’s time to consider contract renewal software if your business:
- Manually records key contract dates
- Has missed significant renewals
- Lacks visibility of upcoming events
- Doesn’t know which contracts have an auto-renewal clause
- Makes decisions reactively rather than proactively.
Why your business needs contract renewal software
Where manual processes are used to record, store and manage renewal dates, stakeholders often find themselves in the passenger seat - unable to touch the brakes to stop a critical date passing by. Put simply, contract renewal software gives your business more control.
If you’re looking to build a business case for this new solution, the reasons listed below could help support your bid for implementing new technology.
1. Improved data accuracy
Manually inputting data isn’t just time consuming. It also exposes your business to human-made errors. If a date is entered incorrectly, or completely missed out, it could negatively impact expectations and renewal management. A contract could be terminated too early, resulting in penalties. It could auto-renew, leading to revenue leaks.
Contract renewal software reduces the risk and eliminates manual input by extracting metadata from contract documents. With its AI Extract engine, ContractNow allows your business to scan and upload paper contracts and PDFs into the system before automatically extracting and uploading key dates to a central contract repository.
Duplicate data is removed, a full digital record is created and all stakeholders can have confidence in the data they are working with."
When key dates are captured correctly, they’ll know when a renewal is due and how much time before the date they’ll need to complete a review or give notice. Improved accuracy goes beyond the date that’s being stored - it filters through to what decisions are being made and when. When all stakeholders are working with the right dates, internal processes and strategies become frictionless.
2. Restored visibility
Once key dates have been extracted and stored in the repository, all relevant stakeholders can see this critical information at a glance. ContractNow offers detailed, data-driven dashboards that bring upcoming events such as renewals to the forefront. Stakeholders can prioritise their focus effectively and address urgent tasks first.
Contract renewal software provides businesses with complete visibility, so they can take a proactive approach when it comes to the future of their agreements."
Contracts auto-renewing without anyone knowing also becomes a thing of the past. In addition to the dashboard, ContractNow offers powerful OCR technology, allowing stakeholders to search contracts for specific dates and clauses. Auto-renewals no longer remain hidden. Instead, your business knows exactly when to act in accordance with the information contained in each agreement.
3. Prompted and timely action
Being able to see key dates isn’t enough to make a positive impact on your portfolio. You need to be able to act on them. For businesses manually tracking key dates, this means doing a lot of work in hindsight. Spreadsheets need to be checked regularly, colleagues may need to be chased which can cause delays and hours may be spent finding the relevant information.
By the time everything is in order, planned actions may already be too late.
Contract renewal software takes dates and turns them into triggers. When a renewal is coming, the relevant owner and any stakeholders will receive an automated alert that action is required. This alert can be sent straight to their inbox, as well as occur within the software itself.
The reason your business needs contract renewal software isn’t just time savings, revenue protection and proactivity. These benefits add up to a greater whole - one that allows your business to stay in complete control.
Greater control reduces risks, keeps everyone on the same page and allows the business to move forward in a position of strength.
With improved visibility and an understanding of your business’s portfolio, your business never has to be on the back foot when it comes to its renewals again."
The business case for contract renewal software - or CLM software - is an easy one to make, especially if your business is still using manual processes to capture, store and track key dates. By levelling up your approach to renewals management with automation and technology, you give stakeholders the opportunity to always be working on the best terms for your business.
If you want to know more about contract renewal software or you’re now ready to take control of your contracts, contact us today.