Contracts form the basis of most of our business agreements. They ensure that there are no nasty surprises, protect us when things go wrong and keep our relationships with a variety of vendors, suppliers and customers ticking along without friction. At least that’s the theory.

In practice, it can be a very different story, thanks to operator – or human – error. This is where contract management software comes into its own. Business practice automation – using this type of software – can ensure that the theory becomes the practice. And unsurprisingly enterprises across the globe are signing up to contract management theory. Is this you?

If you’re considering contract management software, then the truth is you’ll see the benefits right from the beginning. We know contract management and we know the key benefits that contract authoring software gives every business. In order to avoid risks and slowdowns further along the contract process, you’ll benefit hugely from a tool that guides you through the process.

Key benefits

  • Negotiation from the outset
  • Collaborative authoring
  • Accommodation of specific stakeholder requirements
  • Collaborative editing
  • Centralised clause libraries
  • Template libraries

Negotiation from the outset

Contract authoring software enables you to get every stakeholder involved from the beginning – all the interested parties/departments in your own enterprise, your suppliers, vendors, customers and any other external stakeholders. Together you can negotiate a contract that ensures there no surprises for any party, so you don’t waste valuable time having to completely re-negotiate the contract at a later stage.

Collaborative authoring

All stakeholders can contribute to the authoring of the contract. While some stakeholders will have a greater vested interest, a more significant chunk of the budget and a correspondingly greater influence on the outcome, contract authoring software facilitates compromise between the parties along the way, and ultimately speeds up the entire contract authoring and approval process.

Accommodation of specific stakeholder requirements

The contract approval process is simplified by the fact that all the key stakeholders can circulate their specific requirements from the beginning, making it clear which elements they can compromise on and which elements are non-negotiable. This kind of transparency opens up candid discussions and may lead to new compromises or agreements, which you hadn’t previously considered. 

Collaborative editing

Contract authoring software offers transparent editing during the entire contract authoring phase, which streamlines negotiation. All parties can review all the edits made by every stakeholder, and everything, including all the different versions, is recorded for a full audit trail.

Centralised clause libraries

Centralised clause libraries help ensure both compliance and consistency, save time and reduce errors. Common language is captured in a shared library of terms, which is used during contract negotiation between all parties to ensure no confusion when it comes to agreeing the contract details. You and your users can select pre-approved clauses and related terms from the library, which can be added to a template, reducing reliance on your legal department.

Template libraries

Contract authoring software gives you the ability to generate your contract documents with template-based interviews, which use standard questionnaires. You can configure and evolve custom templates for your most common types of contracts, including NDAs, MSAs and SOWs, giving you complete control over your document generation activity. And if they don’t rule errors out completely, they’ll help you keep them to a minimum. They will also help you minimise the contract risks associated with outdated language. Legal and contract teams who administer contract templates can easily apply rules to the contract process to enforce the best contractual terms for your organisation.

Four Business Solutions

Four Business Solutions helps small and multi-national organisations enrich the way they work. From supply chain to procurement and contract management, we have decades of experience helping companies forge ahead in the global market. If you’d like to find out more please call John O’Brien at Four Business Solutions on 0800 6250 025.

John O’Brien is the CEO at Four Business Solutions, global business consultants and software integrators providing business processes improvements in Finance, Supply Chain and Operations, across a broad range of industries.