Contract management software: a buyer’s guide
When it comes to contract management, your business likely is in one of two buckets. In the first, ‘contract management’ means piling up executed contracts in one place, searching for the document you need for hours, missing milestone dates and relying heavily on emails.
This antiquated way of managing contracts tries to keep up with contract management software, but often can’t. In today’s world, when you use a contract management platform, your document process is faster and smarter. Automated process also saves the trouble of handling documents manually and minimize errors.
What is contract management software?
Simply put, it’s a technology-based way to build, manage, sign and store contracts. If you have a business, you know how time-consuming and risky manual processing of documents can be. Contract management platforms decrease your costs, enable centralized control and shared access, increase profitability, and improve accountability.
Overall, these systems transform the way your business contracts are handled throughout the entire lifecycle.
Contract life cycle stages
Each stage in the contract lifecycle is essential.
The process starts with a request from one party to initiate a contract, which is followed by drafting when the document is created and negotiating when parties reach an agreement. After a contract is legally reviewed and approved, it is directed to respective parties for signing.
Here, the lifecycle of a contractual document is not terminated. It is sent to a repository for future reference and retrieval. The amendments phase implies changes that can only be introduced if both parties agree. After the current contract expires, it can be renewed, if the parties want to carry on with the original agreement.
The stages may come into effect at different times, but all of them can be handled using contract lifecycle management software.
What makes contract management software a game changer for businesses?
Let’s explore the essentials of these systems and how they can streamline the entire lifecycle.
Drafting, or authoring, is the most vital stage. This is where the foundation of a contract is established. All the terms and conditions should be outlined as precisely as possible, with no hints of ambiguity. Double meaning and mistakes can cost you a lot.
Contract management software helps overcome the challenges at this stage. Drafting can be completed with one tool, with no need to send numerous drafts back and forth, which is traditionally done via emails.
Also, the software is equipped with legally pre-approved templates, which saves time in drafting and significantly reduces errors.
It is always handy to have a single place to ‘meet’ and talk terms. A contract can go through several iterations before it satisfies both parties. Contract management software brings together all stakeholders – managers, legal counsels, and clients – and eliminates communication by email as a complicated medium of negotiations and judicial review.
Contract management software enhances this lifecycle stage too. It is a huge time-saver, enabling to eSign at any time and from virtually any location.
eSignatures are used as a reliable tool and are treated with the same legal weight as physical paper signatures. Feature-rich management systems have an e-Signature tool built into their platform. Thus, there’s no need to upload the document into specialized digital signature tools.
Tools for managing contracts provide advanced management of the workflow, monitoring, reporting, and fulfillment of obligations of the agreements.
Contract management platforms can send auto-reminders to aid in managing contracts. The best systems have built-in calendars with deadlines that the vendor should meet, as well as trackers of agreed delivery schedules, and contract financial condition. Some platforms are powered with pricing and budgeting, and checklists to manage activities and information.
Naturally, contract management software should have storage functionality. The platform is useful if it keeps the company’s standardized contracts in one place. Moreover, keeping all the contracts in a centralized repository allows for quick access and retrieval. It also allows you to make copies of the contractual documents, modify, and amend them.
Who uses the software?
In many cases, people want to streamline their business processes. Contract management platforms are seen as an efficiency booster and here are some industries that can use them to their advantage.
State and local government institutions establish contract-based relationships with private vendors and contractors. Public agencies have to comply with strict rules that define spending, contract evaluation, and all the contract management life cycle stages. The agreements are time-sensitive too, so no wonder government contract management software is in big demand.
- Real Estate
No office building or apartment complex can be erected without a contract, not to mention can it be bought or sold. Real estate contract management software helps oversee construction projects in a paperless fashion. Such platforms bring together construction companies, its clients, subcontractors, and suppliers, and allow access to all project contracts, documents, schedules, RFIs and more.
Medical contract management software caters to hospitals, medical clinics, care facilities and other healthcare providers. With such solutions, they can efficiently manage any type of medical contracts, including physician and employee agreements, affiliation contracts, vendor agreements, as well as equipment, property, and IT agreements.
Legal contract management software helps create standard legal documents using templates. It also reduces costs, minimizes delays and any other risks inherent with manual drafting. With automated authoring, law firms and lawyers can provide quicker, more consistent and compliant services.
A maintenance contract provides that one party will maintain an asset owned by the other. It can be a building, landscape, equipment, computers, software, among other things. Maintenance contract management software simplifies contractual relationships between the parties with all the benefits.
PandaDoc for contracts
PandaDoc provides an easy-to-use and handy solution to manage your contracts in the smartest and fastest way.
The platform includes:
- Document creator, editor and in-built templates to streamline drafting
- Secure and legally binding e-signature to shorten your sales cycle
- Detailed document analytics to track the status of your contracts
- Contract expiration settings to manage important lifecycle stages
- Content locking, which makes legal clauses or pricing options uneditable
- Auto reminders, so you never to miss a contract event
- Integrations with CRMs and other tools