In contract lifecycle management, efficient collaboration between stakeholders is a must.  Contract requests, renewals and almost everything in between can involve many moving parts – with a high potential for inefficiency if adequate measures are not introduced.  In the interest of avoiding communication delays and contract lifecycle bottlenecks, you can leverage robust contract collaboration tools offered by leading contract management software.  Here are four steps to foster healthy and productive collaboration and expedite the contract lifecycle.

Step 1 – automate contract requests

Insufficient contract request processes can leave you facing a higher risk for data loss, a confusing request intake process, and delayed cycle times.  Automated contract requests allows your business to cooperate in a user-friendly and straightforward yet comprehensive manner.  Contract collaboration software streamlines the entire request process, decreases complexity and makes the process more intuitive, efficient and accurate.

Enterprise contract management software helps you establish a digitised, user-friendly request intake form.  You can add, edit or delete fields on this request form as your needs and necessary request details evolve.  The desired data is obtained in one place at one time.  That way, the likelihood that organisations will need to circle back to requestors for missing or incomplete information is significantly reduced.

Based on the request process they create, your contract management software users can further optimise request processes by using a request wizard.  This feature helps you construct a dynamic questionnaire that helps requestors determine the type of request they need to submit.  Based on answers to pre-configured questions, they’re taken to the relevant request intake page.

Tools that promote simple, seamless and direct contract collaboration between stakeholders during the request phase set the stage for an efficient and more accurate contract lifecycle with fewer bottlenecks and data entry errors.

Step 2 – simplify contract writing and contract negotiations

Contract writing and negotiations involving document collaboration and version tracking are simplified with top contract management software solutions.

Once a document is constructed using templates and clauses from a dynamic clause library, accurate, timely and compliant documents are created and made ready for collaboration with key stakeholders.  Tools such as MS Word and a document management and version tracking file utility make contract writing more efficient, giving collaborators the chance to track changes, swap clauses from a pre-approved clause library and track document version history.  Expedited contract generation, editing and tracking make for a smoother contract lifecycle in general.

Content control for documents being written means that if someone changes a clause or section within a contract, the clause owner will be notified within the contract management software’s document collaboration portal.  Clause ownership functionality is what allows organisations to assign an owner to a clause.  If a negotiation participant tries to edit an assigned clause, the system will add the owner of that clause to the approval workflow, ensuring that only the necessary parties are included in the contract negotiation process, according to rules-based clause ownership.

Contract collaboration between internal parties, employee non-users of contract management software, and external parties is also optimised when you can configure a rules-based process for stakeholders.  With this pre-configured workflow, stakeholders receive a notification that will take them to a negotiation portal.  There, they can access relevant contract documents for review.  That way, external parties and employees without access to the software can view documents related to contracts they’re involved with, but not core system features or other, unrelated contracts.  The documents they need to work with are isolated so that they can make and approve changes straight from the portal.  Additionally, parties can handle the approval process in this one central location and receive automated alerts regarding who needs to approve, in the interest of avoiding delays.

With a contract negotiation portal, contract collaboration between parties is easy and efficient.

Step 3 – expedite eSignature collaboration

An electronic signature tool can help you move quickly from negotiations to signing. A rapid signing process for entirely digitised signature collaboration and electronic approvals reduce send-to-sign time by up to twenty percent.  You can send documents out for signatures after the contract negotiation process detailed above is complete.  Reputable contract management software provides a unified contract repository within a centralised online portal for end-to-end management of partly or wholly executed signatures.

Manual processes for new agreements, policy updates, bulk HR documents and addendums etc can be a thing of the past thanks to contract management software that gives you the ability to send thousands of documents out for signature collaboration in bulk.  Documents and contracts are easy to send, and stakeholders can sign from virtually anywhere at any time.  Signatories can receive an email that effortlessly takes them to the necessary signing portal without the need for them to download software.

With the right source-to-contract management software solution, signature and approval collaboration is quick, centralised and efficient.

Step 4 – improve compliance management

Advanced compliance reporting and auditing tools give you visibility into contractual relationships across business entities.  Legal, regulatory and other compliance standards – as well as obligations agreed upon by contract parties – can be adhered to and maintained with the help of user-friendly and robust reporting tools, key dates, contract analytics and renewal requirements.  All of which expedites collaboration efforts for streamlined compliance and renewals with established stakeholders.

You can leverage these advanced compliance tools to improve compliance reporting, easily send reports, share contract analytics and increase compliance with collaborating stakeholders.

Achieve better contract collaboration with Contract Insight®

Now that you are aware of how you can manage the contract lifecycle more effectively with the help of contract collaboration software, it’s time to choose a solution that will strengthen your contract collaboration process from requests to renewal.  That solution is our contract management software – 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 management, procurement and sourcing needs.  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.