This article is written by Simran Jeet who is pursuing a Diploma in Advanced Contract Drafting, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from LawSikho.
Contract lifecycle management software automates and streamlines contract process through various key stages of the contract. These stages are initiation, authoring, process and workflow, negotiation & approval, contract execution and renewal. A contract has to go through various procedures before the final outcome and then only it can be executed.
There are so many contract management software which is designed in the way to provide a visibility of the contracts to the corporate. This software helps to create a common language, core template, unified terms and repeatable consistent clauses which make the drafting of the contract very easy and also save the time and reduce errors. This software offers other benefits also like increasing the efficiency of the contract and also lowers the Administration cost.
In simple words, Contract management software is known as a simple way of managing the contracts and this has been done from the initiation of the contract to the renewal of the contract. This system is very cost-effective and offers many benefits along with saving the time of an individual. Most of the data can be saved inside these systems and that will further help in getting and drafting contracts more quickly and efficiently. Companies sign the contracts faster and it also gives a very clear view to the companies about the present stage of the contract if it is looking for any renewal or when the contract is going to be expired. It is very modern and integrated form of contract drafting and representation and it eliminates the use of traditional ink and paper.
Contracts and agreements are an important part of company’s operations. Some agreements record the legal aspects of the Company and there are some which talk about the sale and purchase which has been happening in the company. These contracts and agreements are negotiable and only talk about the various terms and conditions which has been agreed between the company with various other counterparts. Since contracts are negotiated and changes are made to them on a case-to-case basis, they require legal reviews and approvals. Once the contract is in place, it needs to be monitored for compliance, renewals and if there any execution which requires to be done as per the terms and conditions of the Agreement.
Despite the growing demand of contract management systems, there are many companies who are still managing their contracts by hand and keeping them in the form of word and PDF. In this kind of forms, it is very difficult to trace the history of the approvals and the requirement of documents which was needed for the drafting and execution of these agreements. Digital signatures and E signatures are not integrated into this system and even the milestone clauses and reminders I would say like renewal clauses can be missed. So, these system proves that it is very important to have a contract management system in place because the various complications of the contracts and agreements cannot be handled in a traditional way.
Various features of contract management system:
- Integrated contract repository
A system to carry all contract and agreements with all the required documents and details, their history and signature and accessible in a very easy manner is a safe repository. The contracts stored in the system should be easily accessible by the name of parties involved, the date when the agreement was signed and other factors.
- Workflow for approvals and notifications
The contract management system needs to provide a flexible workflow to capture and to search all the necessary approvals which might be needed or pending, if any approval is required or if any formality is required and there might be any renewal related to contract which might be coming regarding some contract and agreement. Such workflow system needs to be updated and smart enough to issue reminders to the Company, so that they can complete all the required formalities before the last date and will also be able to find out if any approval is pending or if any renewal is coming.
- Secure Internet/Cloud based
The security aspects of the system are very important and the internet facility and path way which has been accessed needs to be complete safe. All the data of the system can be stored in the cloud based. So, that there are no requirement for any machinery or for any other software.
- Security standards
For the internet based system, it is very important to make sure that all the required security requirements has been complied with. It is very important to have required security standard certificates.
- Powerful Document Management & Authoring
Documents constitute a very integral and important part of any contract. So, the documents can be placed and kept in the following way:
For years of contracts, the system needs an easy process where it imports any contract template and puts it in another contract and brings the final contract.
2. Document information
Users should be able to search the data just by using the drag and drop documents and there has to be some keywords by which you can easily access the data.
3. Document versions
You need to make available as many document versions as you can and the system should make the availability of every version and all the revisions that you have made in those documents.
4. Document sharing
Documents can be easily e-mailed from the system and also can be shared through a common URL.
Electronic signatures are becoming very popular and widely used. It is very important for the software to provide the facility of the electronic signature and should be easily integrated with other popular systems like Adobe acrobat. The E-signature needs to be fully integrated in the present computer software in order to ease up the process.
6. E-mail Integration
The system needs to be integrated with the computer software in order to e-mail the contracts and agreements directly from the software.
7. Integrating with Purchasing & Financials
Contracts and agreements which are for the purchase of goods and services would need to generate invoices and bills and those should be automatically generated in the software or in the financial backend system of the company. The main idea is to ease up the entire system.
8. Customizable/Configurable/Extendable System
There is no system that can 100% match Company’s present and future system because any system can different from one company to another and all the systems evolves over time. Therefore, a contract management system needs to be easily customizable, configurable and extendable.
9. Support Different Devices
The system needs to support various devices like laptop and mobile. Because in any situation when any executive is travelling and wanted to review any agreement. Then, he can easily pull out his device and can review the agreement.
The system needs to provide reminders in case of any documents requires any renewal or may be expiring in the coming days. So, the system needs to provide reminders which can be easily spotted and required action can be taken.
11. Role based, easy to use, easy to implement – It’s a no brainer thing that the system should be easily accessible and easy to use. There has to be a single sign in for all the levels of the company because any different level will login through their id can easily access the system through single login id and can review and download the contracts if it is required.
The most popular online contract execution software is PandaDoc and it is providing variety of features to their clients and making it easy for them draft and review contracts. PandaDoc offers all-in-one solution for all the problems that any client is facing. These solutions are Contract Management, Sales Proposal, Price Quotes and E-signature. This software helps to reduce the errors and users can save their time. It is not very time consuming.
Contract management software is the need of present days and can save the time of their users. This software can get multiple things done in just one software and makes it easy for their users to e-mail the agreement and documents from one system only. There is no need for any manual signatures and all the signatures can be done from the software and they are referred as electronic signature. So, this software has offered variety of features and has reduced the workload of the company.
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