2021 has arrived, and with it comes new innovations to your contract management software processes.  Keeping this in mind, we have outlined six critical contract management tools that your organisation should equip itself with to stay ahead of future-minded contract management best practices in 2021 and beyond.

#1 Complete contract lifecycle management

No organisation should navigate the evolving landscape of contract management with disorganised and un-unified contract lifecycle management.  Your organisation needs to step into 2021 with a game-changing solution that saves time, reduces costs, increases revenue and provides a scalable, low-friction and efficient contract administration process for oversight of the the full contract lifecycle.

Leading contract lifecycle management software solutions support your organisation with a user-friendly interface for the entire contract lifecycle – including:

  • an automated contract request process
  • easy contract writing that features streamlined merging of contracts with templates from your organisation’s pre-approved clause library
  • a centralised process for contract negotiation, contract collaboration, contract review and contract approval routing
  • unified contract analytics and contract data tracking
  • automated key date alerts and notifications
  • comprehensive risk management, risk mitigation and risk analysis
  • straightforward process configuration and tracking for specific contract types for a myriad of industries
  • integrated RFx management (including RFPs)
  • simple searching and reporting – which can include an ad hoc and custom report designer.

Trusted CLM software platforms support automated, intelligent contract workflow to expedite the contract lifecycle from requests to potential renewal opportunities.  Save time, maintain compliance, reduce costs and lower friction with credible contract lifecycle management software.

#2 – A secure contract repository

Successful contract management in 2021 relies heavily on your organisation’s ability to embrace centralised processes across the board.  This is why you must leave manual methods for storing contracts – such as those involving filing cabinets for paper documentation, spreadsheets, emails and disorganised digital storage – behind.  Those procedures make it nearly impossible for your organisation to maintain version control, keep contracts secure, stay on top of key dates and milestones or enforce contract archiving and retention rules. 

You can get ahead in 2021 with a secure contract repository system that helps store contracts while continuing to get the most use out of them.  A web-enabled document repository allows contracts to be safely stored, and your contract management professionals can organise contracts, oversee permissions, enforce document version control, track contract status, search for existing contracts and collaborate.

Throughout the progression of the contract lifecycle, confidential information is stored and tracked within a contract management software platform.  Your organisation must be able to place access restrictions on PII, PCI and other sensitive data.  

For instance, your organisation’s software end-users may not have any need to edit contracts other than those they’ve drafted themselves.  With a permissions-based process, you can easily prevent instances of sensitive data being accessed by unauthorised personnel.

A secure online repository can help your organisation by:

  • safeguarding the organisation, location, protection, sharing and searching of contracts
  • improving accountability
  • centralising control
  • increasing productivity
  • streamlining contract management.

Equip yourself with the centralised repository system that your organisation needs to excel in 2021 with leading-edge contract management software.

#3 – Contract intelligence: risk mitigation and clause recognition

Intelligent contract clause identification and extraction can promote continued machine learning – which allows your organisation to enter 2021 with a process that continuously improves.  AI-powered contract intelligence allows your users to locate standard clauses within a document when it is added to contract management software.  Clause text found can be added to your organisation’s training data for continuous machine learning – endlessly enhancing future clause recognition.

You can leverage contract management AI to pinpoint potential risk.  Leading contract intelligence can analyse text from a newly introduced document and identify “good or bad” contract language – according to a pre-configured, rules-based sentiment.  An integrated artificial intelligence engine for contracts can also detect sensitive data, run statistical data analysis and give helpful risk mitigation recommendations based on real-time data.

#4 – Contract intelligence: data identification and data extraction

With the help of AI-powered contract management software, your organisation’s contract processes are automated and streamlined.  Your organisation can put its trust in a proven system for analysing contracts and transforming static, stagnant documents into dynamic, success-driving building blocks for enhanced contract oversight, proactive opportunity identification and risk mitigation.  Built-in contract AI powered by machine learning can help your organisation to get the most out of its contracts. 

Your organisation can take advantage of automated data entry capabilities that save time and resources when new contracts are added to the system.  Your organisation can identify critical data such as key dates and milestones, clauses, counterparty information, locations, emails, phone numbers and financial information – thus eliminating the need for monotonous, time wasting and error-prone manual data field entry.

#5 – Robust compliance management

Your organisation can use advanced compliance auditing and reporting to gain better visibility into relationships between contracts across business entities.  Legal, regulatory and other compliance standards and important obligations can be adhered to with user-friendly and robust reporting tools, key dates, contract analytics and renewals.  As such, collaboration for expedited compliance and renewals is made easy and fast.

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Use winning compliance tools for better compliance reporting, contract analytics and stakeholder relationships.

#6 – Rapid, integrated electronic signatures

Electronic signatures integrated with contract management software can assist your organisation in transitioning from negotiations to signatures quickly – as you navigate the demands of the evolving landscape of 2021 and beyond.

A rapid signing process for fully electronic signatures and electronic approval collaboration can reduce send-to-sign time by up to twenty percent.  Your organisation can send documents out for signing immediately after contract negotiations are completed.  Reliable contract management software platforms provide a unified online repository within a centralised online portal for the comprehensive management of partially or fully executed electronic signatures.

Manual methods for new agreements, bulk HR documents, amendments, addendums, policy updates and more can be left in the past – thanks to leading functionality that lets you send virtually unlimited documents out for bulk signatures.  Sending documents is easy, and stakeholders have the ability to sign from virtually anywhere at anytime.  Signatories can be provided with emails that bring them to relevant signing portals without the need for downloading a software system. 

When cutting-edge contract management software solutions are integrated with robust eSignatures, signing collaboration and approvals are rapid, efficient and cohesive.

Leap into 2021 with Contract Insight®

The six tools that we have mentioned above can positively revolutionise how your organisation manages contracts.  With full contract lifecycle management, a secure contract repository, industry-defining contract intelligence, ironclad compliance management and quick and easy electronic signatures, Contract Insight’s acclaimed contract management software suite has everything you need to jump into 2021 with confidence. 

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.  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.