October is a perfect time to reflect on 2019 so that we are positioned to strategically plan and align our goals for 2020. This year has been very exciting for contract management, with digital transformation shifting from a concept to a well-thought-out strategy that is being leveraged to increase the value and positive organizational impact that contracts can bring.
At CobbleStone Software, in addition to providing leading contract management software, another one of our goals is to provide content that helps educate our readers with best practices and the latest news around contract management and procurement. I’ve looked back at some of our most popular articles of 2019 and in this article, reveal 2019’s 5 hottest contract management topics.
Hot Topic #1: Contract Lifecycle Management
In 2019, as contract volume and complexity continued to rise, organizations saw the pitfalls of manual contract management (email, spreadsheets, shared drives) have negative impacts across the entire organization. These contract management challenges formulated into increased error and risk, decreased productivity, lack of transparency, difficulty collaborating and communicating, contract approval bottlenecks, and lost opportunities.
For organizations that were ready to improve their processes, contract lifecycle management supported by contract management software backed by artificial intelligence was the answer. Advanced software helped with automated workflows, contract reporting and analytics, increased contract to closeout rates, and streamlined post-award contract management. Organizations that implemented leading contract management technology were able to take control of their contracts and leverage contracts as a value center for the entire organization.
Hot Topic #2: Contract Management Skills Development
In 2019, contract management professionals and in-house legal teams felt heightened pressure to get more value out of contracts. Stakeholders demanded to see measurable results from contract management, legal, and procurement departments that contributed to organizational goal attainment.
Contract managers were ardent to master contract management wholly. Most of them were looking for ways to quickly build their skills and incorporate the necessary systems. Their goal for 2019 was to improve the contract approval process and to use a contract clause library for faster document generation, increased compliance, decreased risk, and reduced contract approval bottlenecks.
To exceed expectations, contract management professionals invested in themselves through contract management skills development. Typical paths to contract management excellence included:
- pursuing continuing education credits and certifications.
- expanding industry knowledge and application of best practices.
- immersing themselves in contract management technology and document automation trends.
- networking with peers at contract management conferences.
If you’re looking for an edge in managing contracts, don’t miss CobbleStone’s free educational seminar in Chicago on October 25th.
Hot Topic #3: Contracting Performance
This year contracts were no longer part of an administrative task that ended with executing, filing, and forgetting. Contracts were cited to be a key driver of tangible value recognized by stakeholders. Increased contract performance was expected. The strategy to achieve better results was to identify important contract metrics, develop contract management KPIs, and measure results with contract reporting and analytics.
The first step to ensure success is to focus on the contract metrics that matter. If you are committed to improving contracting performance, measure contract cost, punctuality, reliability, quality, and consistency.
The second step is to compare metrics to contract management KPIs. Analyze contract efficiency, efficacy, and risk to reduce contract failure rates, decrease revenue leakage, and increase contract management ROI.
The third step is to go beyond analyzing the new contracts entered into your contract management system by gathering the data from legacy contracts with text extraction and data mining contract analysis.
The fourth step is to evolve how contracts are managed by increasing visibility, creating a culture of accountability, and leveraging contract automation. Progress looks like improved contract renewal management, reduced contract pricing variables, increased productivity, reduced inefficiency, and revenue leakage elimination.
The fifth step is taking a data-driven approach to contract management that allows organizations to be proactive rather than reactive. Leading contract management software provides transparency with contract analytics and reporting that helps organizations improve contract performance with:
- decreased costs.
- increased savings.
- reduced risk and loss.
Level up - read our article on contract reporting and analytics.
Hot Topic #4: Increasing Trust & Compliance
Contract management professionals were searching for strategies to increase trust and compliance. Regulations and auditing procedures like Sarbanes Oxley and SOC 2 compliance can have a direct impact on contract management, so it’s no surprise that both were hot topics for 2019.
To comply with Sarbanes Oxley, organizations must keep all files and documents in a secure, easily searchable, and accessible contract repository. CobbleStone’s contract management software provides flexible reporting and unlimited document storage, making compliance easy.
In 2019, organizations using contract management software found that SOC 1 compliance wasn’t enough. SOC 2 compliance requires a long-term commitment to internal practices that ensure the security of customer information. Contracts contain sensitive information, so your contract management software provider must be SOC 2 compliant to prove that they are securely managing data and protecting your organization’s interests.
CobbleStone Software understands the importance of having policies and procedures to protect sensitive information and has achieved SOC 2 Type 1 Attestation.
Hot Topic #5: Contract Management Software
With more value being demanded from contracts, contract management duties became more complex. Contract managers and legal teams realized that they would need the right tools to succeed with document automation and contract lifecycle management.
Contract administrators needed contract management software that was user-friendly, easy to set up, provided a fast ROI, and was able to grow with the organization. Being a leading provider in the field, CobbleStone’s trusted contract management software stepped up to the plate with Contract Insight’s® new features to further enhance and improve contract management and procurement processes.
CobbleStone listens to client feedback and is committed to providing the right tools to succeed. From UI enhancements to integrated vendor intelligence, discover what’s new with Contract Insight® version 17.3.1.
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