When purchasing and implementing a new product or service, you want to be sure that you’ve chosen an option that will maximise benefits for your organisation.  In the case of contract management software, the decision to make a change often stems from inefficiencies with an organisation’s contract process.  So it’s important to make sure that your business gets the highest possible ROI from all your procurement activities.

The key to contract management success is leveraging all the tools your chosen contract management software makes available to your organisation for increased efficiency, reduced contract lifecycle bottlenecks and mitigated risk.  Here are four ways to get the most out of your contract management software:

1. Optimise contract workflow

Your previous workflow process may have involved spreadsheets – an out-dated system requiring contract managers to supervise every stage of your procurement cycle to make sure all involved parties are on top of their assigned tasks.  Delayed completion of tasks on the part of any stakeholder brings contract workflows to a halt, forcing teams to waste time waiting for the fulfilment of tasks.

Leading contract management software that offers intelligent contract workflow reduces contract lifecycle bottlenecks because it keeps the right people engaged at the right time, with helpful features such as automated alerts, contract notifications and task reminders. Your organisation can leverage contract process management, user-defined and dynamic fields, audit trails, reporting and analytics tools and much more.

Your contract management team can easily track the entire contract lifecycle with contract collaboration, negotiation and reporting tools.  Automated alerts can help you meet key dates and milestones.  And audit trail history delivers an up-to-date record of changes made to a contract, so that you can get the most out of your contract management software, including centralised contract lifecycle management and increased accountability with intelligent contract workflows.

2. Unify your contract repository

Your organisation’s previous document management and storage system may have relied upon insufficient manual approaches involving filing cabinets for paper documentation, disorganised digital storage and emails.  Such methods make it nearly impossible to keep contracts safe and secure, maintain version control and meet key dates and milestones.

Stop missing out on risk mitigation, greater control of contracts and improved contract performance.  Embrace your newly acquired contract repository system.  

Software that offers a secure contract repository enable your contract management team to organise contract documents, oversee permissions, implement document version control, easily search for existing contracts, keep track of contract status, collaborate and much more.

Optimised contract storage gives you the opportunity to make your contracts work harder for you.  Higher productivity, reduced risk, increased revenue and savings and success in meeting contract management KPIs naturally follow. Throughout the contract lifecycle, sensitive information is tracked and stored within a system. To keep sensitive data out of harm’s way, your team must have the ability to place data access restrictions.  With a user permissions system in place, your organisation has the means to prevent security issues and data breaches.

Get the most out of your new contract management software platform with centralised control, increased accountability, the safeguarding of data and simplified document management with a secure contract repository.

3. Enhance contract tracking

Your organisation may have previously leveraged a manual filing system, emails and spreadsheets for contract tracking.  These are not optimal tools for organisations to track contracts because:

  • email-led tracking leads to bottlenecks
  • manual filing systems leave versions of contracts disconnected and disorganised, increasing the risk for lost contracts and out-dated versions
  • spreadsheets don’t offer task alerts and notifications.

With a manual contract tracking system, audit trails are unreliable – all leading to the waste of precious time and contract lifecycle bottlenecks. Stop relying on inefficient tracking tools – take advantage of intelligent contract tracking offered by a trusted contract management software platform. 

Leading contract management software can equip your team with enhanced contract management thanks to advanced contract tracking complete with better visibility, a centralised contract repository, approved templates and clauses for streamlined contract drafting, insights regarding performance, enriched collaboration and comprehensive audit trails.

With intelligent contract tracking, your organisation can expect to see faster contract-to-close rates.  Reputable contract lifecycle management tools, which assist with end-to-end contract lifecycle management, are user-friendly and can be adopted by all users and impacted stakeholders.

If you’re considering an investment in contract tracking software, be on the lookout for the following features:

  • a secure document repository with unlimited storage
  • version tracking
  • pre and post-award tracking
  • audit tracking and logging
  • vendor compliance tracking
  • intelligent contract workflow
  • key date and task reminders
  • user-defined fields
  • electronic signatures.

4. Streamline signatures

Your organisation may have previously employed a manual signing process.  It could be argued that signing is the most critical facet of the contract lifecycle, but manual signing processes are out-dated and slow.  They stand in the way of a streamlined signing experience for all parties.  The direct and indirect costs of paper-based processes, wasted time and postage fees can become exorbitant. Ultimately, manual signing processes can put your organisation at risk, and the lack of an efficient signing process can compromise your reputation.  Antiquated practices requiring paper, printing, postage, wet signatures and repetitive follow-up can delay a contract’s execution.

Take advantage of your contract management platform’s e-signing tools. E-signatures enable your stakeholders to sign documents online without the need for a physical copy of a document in hand. Signature bottlenecks can cause delays with contract obligations, compliance and execution.  However, electronic signatures can reduce send-to-sign time by up to 20%. E-signatures provided by electronic signature software can help your organisation:

  • save money: reduce printer, paper, ink, travel and postage costs
  • save time: spend less time focused on administrative costs pertaining to sending, storing and tracking
  • enhance security: reduce processing errors and confidentiality breaches with electronic signatures that provide audit trails
  • improve visibility and business relationships: streamline the signing process and sign in the office or on the go. Meet crucial deadlines. Transform your signing process with your source-to-contract platform.

A bonus tip – contract management software training

Organisations using leading contract management software should utilise the variety of training resources available to them – such as in-person group training, online group training and user conferences. With online group training, your organisation can get the most out of your software investment.  Four provides courses on an assortment of topics for beginners, advanced users and anyone in between using Contract Insight.

Contract Insight: contract management software from Four

Contract Insight is an advanced contract lifecycle management software backed by AI that allows you to manage, track and draft contracts faster, and automate and streamline the entire contract lifecycle with flexible features such as contract authoring, workflow and version tracking.  Supercharge your contract lifecycle management methods now with a free demo of leading, AI powered cloud-based software from Four Business Solutions.

About Four 

Four 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. 

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.