General counsel and paralegals continue to encounter growing contract complexity and volume.  An ineffectual legal contract management process makes obstacles for legal departments tough to overcome.  Here’s how you can leverage legal contract management software tools for a streamlined legal contract lifecycle, reduced risk and minimal contract lifecycle bottlenecks and delays.

#1 – Easy contract requests and approvals interface

Leading legal contract management software enables your users to enter legal requests and submit them for request approval easily.  Data entry for request records is significantly simplified.  Communication bottlenecks are reduced with easy-to-use request intake forms that allow you to collect, store, review and approve automated requests.

Additionally, teams can remain in sync with approval routing to legal workflows for the main areas of the software.  Users can attach virtually unlimited files and convert contract requests to contract records without data loss or the need for data re-entry.  This keeps legal teams accountable with integrated document tracking, task assignments and ongoing notifications.

Optimise contract requests with a unified, standardised process that gives vendors, customers, suppliers, providers and employees the ability to request new contracts easily.

#2 – Automated document assembly

Trusted legal document assembly solutions can help organisations to author timely, compliant and accurate contracts.  Using automation to dynamically merge data fields with clauses from a pre-approved clause library, legal teams can manage multiple templates and document versions for rapid contract authoring and exportation into standard file formats.  Document templates can be repeatedly used and easily updated.

#3 – Contract negotiation automation

General counsel, paralegals and other legal contract stakeholders no longer have to rely upon a contract negotiations process that depends on redlining and back-and-forth communication.

With contract negotiation automation proffered by robust legal contract management software solutions, document collaboration and document version control are simplified with numbered version tracking and a detailed log of document iterations.  Collaborative parties can maintain version control with the capability to easily upload and download up-to-date document versions.

Clause ownership functionality enables you to assign clause owners.  If a party attempts to edit a clause, advanced contract management software can add that clause’s owner to the approval process.  Consequently, only necessary parties are added to the negotiation process, as per rules-based clause ownership.

Contract negotiations between internal negotiating parties, external parties and employee non-users of software are more efficient when organisations are equipped to configure a rules-based process.  A pre-configured workflow permits your contract stakeholders to receive a notification that takes them to a contract collaboration portal.  There, relevant documents can be accessed for review.  A benefit of this process is that external parties and employees without contract management software access can view and edit contracts that are assigned to them but can’t access core system features and contracts that are not pertinent to them.  Documents that are needed are isolated so that stakeholders can view or make changes right from the portal.  Furthermore, contract parties can engage in approval collaboration in a centralised location and receive alerts about the approval process – in the interest of reducing delays.

With an advantageous contract negotiation portal, legal contract collaboration is efficient and straightforward.

#4 – Obligations workflow

Diligent observance of contract obligation fulfillment is critical for healthy contract lifecycles.  Contract workflow automation that leverages automated alerts, notifications, task escalation and approval routing helps organisations meet their contractual needs and focus their attention on more strategic aspects of contract management – such as opportunity realisation and data analytics.

Obligations workflow can be configured within legal contract management software to trigger when specific criteria are met, before contract execution, after contract execution, or both.  Flexible obligations management promotes a culture where the proper alerts, notifications and approvals are set in place for contracts at the right time.

#5 – Compliance and auditing tools

Advanced compliance reporting and auditing tools give legal teams visibility into contractual relationships across entities and businesses.  Legal compliance standards can be easily maintained with robust and user-friendly reporting metrics, key dates and renewals.

#6 – Legal contract management reports

Ad-hoc reports equip organisations with reports on upcoming tasks, user-defined status reports, reports on financial commitments and more.  Reports can be emailed on a scheduled basis or swiftly exported to spreadsheets to save locally and distribute.

With an online report designer, general counsel and paralegals can use contract management software to establish easily configured and flexible report layouts to display critical contract information.  These report designers include many file exportation options, such as PDF, MS Word, spreadsheets, various image formats, rich text, CSV etc.

Executive graphical dashboards deliver a comprehensive overview of key dates, activities, and contract performance.

With the help of advanced financials tracking, improved searching, and reporting tools, legal teams can track payments, spending, and contract data changes.

#7 – AI-powered risk management

Fastidious risk management is paramount for successful legal contract management.  AI-based contract management software makes risk assessment, analysis and mitigation more manageable and efficient.

A risk score can keep your legal contract management team accountable by equipping them with an outline of how well (or how poorly) they are leveraging their risk tools.  From there, they can act accordingly to establish the best possible risk management process.

Advanced legal contract management software also provides risk rating and risk mapping features.  Risk profile ratings can help legal teams to visualise risk.  Based on tracked risk, users are provided with a risk assessment matrix.  They can view risk probability patterns for events that may occur within contracts, as well as risk exposure that results from those events.

Awareness of potentially detrimental risk events can help general counsel and paralegals to decide how to move forward with a contract.  Risk visualisation can help teams make risk management decisions more efficiently and more effectually.

Experience next-level legal contract management

So, cutting-edge legal contract management software tools that can help general counsel and paralegals implement a workflow process that mitigates risk, reduces bottlenecks and helps organisations to manage a growing number of increasingly complex contracts for enhanced legal operations.  The legal contract management software solution that best fits your organisation’s needs is Contract Insight®.

Contract Insight from Four

Contract Insight is a cloud-hosted (SaaS) or deployed (on-premise) contract management solution.  The acclaimed platform is trusted by thousands of professionals for their contract management, legal document managementprocurement and sourcing needs.  Contract Insight has the tools to help you manage the entire legal contract lifecycle.  With the help of end-to-end document assembly, legal workflow management, fast implementation, and an easy-to-adopt user interface, it’s the go-to solution for the effective management of contracts and committals.

Used by many Fortune 500 companies, Contract Insight gives you real time visibility into your contracts. It doesn’t just shore up your security; it will help you meet contract compliance regulations, centralise your contract management and improve your overall contract administration process.

For more information, contact John O’Brien, CEO at Four Business Solutions, global business consultants and software integrators providing business processes improvements in FinanceSupply Chain and Operations, across a broad range of industries.