If your contract management is characterised by siloed teams, disparate data and repetitive manual tasks and an inability to track your contracts, it’s time to reconsider your strategy. Using Excel spreadsheets, assuming levels of ownership and dedicating too much time to repetitive low-value tasks can cause internal frustration and result in poor contract performance.
In this article, we take a look at three key ways that you can achieve a more strategic approach to contract management. These strategies are applicable for all types of businesses - whether you’re just starting to formalise ways of working or whether you’re looking to improve your already existing contract management processes.
Why you should focus on strategic contract management
It’s easy to focus on the day-to-day handling of agreements such as chasing information, storing agreements away, extracting key information. But it’s not always easy to see how these activities are contributing to or improving overall business performance.Strategic contract management reframes the overall process, with better contract outcomes in mind.
If teams are firefighting workloads that relate more to contract administration than they do to contract management, the business will find it difficult to achieve its goals. Strategic contract management means teams don’t need to firefight at all."
Strategic contract management ensures that the portfolio is delivering its full value, teams are operationally effective and organisations are protected from various potential contracting risks. It requires stakeholders to prioritise high-value tasks, consider the role of technology and prioritise cross-functional collaboration.
Let’s take a look at the steps you can take towards strategic contract management.
Put centralisation at the centre of your strategy
Do you know how many contracts are within your portfolio? Are relevant teams aware of the events coming up in the next six months / three months / 30 days, from renewals to document expiry? Can legal stakeholders find specific clauses efficiently? If the answer to any of these is no, it’s likely that your business’s contracts are stored all over the place and it’s hampering your visibility.
You don’t know what you don’t know when you have poor visibility. Centralisation is the first step towards strategic contract management and protecting your business."
By knowing where all of your business’s contracts - and their related documents - are, teams will be able to manage the portfolio proactively. They can minimise risks such as non-compliance and auto-renewals of unnecessary agreements. Centralisation boosts visibility, allows accurate decision-making and ensures all teams have up-to-date, shared knowledge.
ContractNow supports this strategic improvement by providing a secure, centralised repository. You can store unlimited documents and unlimited contracts, as well as easily search them all for the data points you need. This centralisation creates a single source of truth, saves teams hours of searching for contracts and puts the business in a stronger position to realise value from its entire portfolio.
See everything in one place with ContractNow
Prioritise operational efficiency through automation
Internal bottlenecks, slow time-to-contract and frustrated teams are all clear signs that your business’s operational efficiency needs some work. Contract management is an ongoing task, but it shouldn’t be an all consuming one that prevents key stakeholders from working on their specialist areas.
Strategic contract management is achieved when businesses are able to identify ways to work more efficiently, give teams back valuable time and keep contracts progressing."
If you’re currently using manual methods to send for and collect signatures, for example, you could be causing unnecessary delays and extra workload for those involved. Automating this area through the use of electronic signatures improves operational efficiency as well as time-to-contract.
Stakeholders can send contracts for signature from wherever they are, with automated and periodic reminders sent via email to the signatory if there is a delay. Teams no longer have to chase individuals via email and progress doesn’t rely on wet signatures coming through the post. ContractNow supports this strategic automation with an integrated eSign solution with unlimited licenses.
Sign contracts electronically and store it against the master record
Encourage cross-team collaboration
Contract management doesn’t just sit within one department. Many businesses are known to over-rely on the Legal team, but better results are achieved when teams across the entire organisation work together. From shared visibility, access to required information and seamless ways to communicate, strategic contract management brings teams together.
The responsibility of strategic contract management belongs to the entire organisation, rather than a specific team. Without cross-team collaboration, better outcomes can’t be achieved."
Assigning ownership, defining processes and supporting aligned teams with the right technology will help your organisation to improve its approach. The contract management software you choose should benefit each team via centralisation and automation. It should also help each team to improve its collaboration with the rest of the organisation.
Teams should be able to:
- Collaborate and communicate easily
- Prioritise key contracts
- Make informed decision ahead of key dates
- Know what’s required to progress a contract
- Connect with relevant internal and external stakeholders when required
ContractNow comes with unlimited users so all relevant users can contribute to the contract management process. This feature allows the technology to scale alongside your business - allowing your business continued growth without growing costs.
It’s also easy to track user actions. Any changes made to contracts, files or metadata are tied to specific individuals and time stamped. These create complete audit trails, giving everyone visibility into actions completed as well as providing security and peace of mind.
ContractNow's messaging centre
Contract management should be thought of at a strategic level, rather than a task on a to-do list. By reframing your business’s approach you can overcome common contracting challenges caused by poor visibility and manual processes. Strategic contract management enables increased collaboration, accurate decision making and improved outcomes.
Any good strategy relies on solid people, processes and the support of technology. If you’re ready to see how ContractNow can help you to move away from fragmented and manual methods and towards strategic contract management, get in touch today.