Awarding a contract is a complex, multi-faceted process. There is room for error and missed opportunities without the right strategy. This blog will delve into the five critical stages in awarding a contract and how to seamlessly navigate these stages with leading contract management software tools.
5 Key Stages in Awarding a Contract
The five critical stages in awarding a contract that we will be exploring in this blog include:
- fulfilling a contract request.
- engaging in contract authoring.
- taking part in contract negotiations.
- contract approval routing.
- and contract signature processes.
Let's outline these stages in awarding a contract and explore how they can be managed with contract lifecycle management software.
#1 - Contract Requests
This initial stage in awarding a contract commences the contract lifecycle. Contract stakeholders gather important details associated with a new contract. One could argue that the contract request stage sets the tone for whether or not a contract undergoes effective processing.
To automate the contract request stage in awarding a contract, organizations can leverage contract lifecycle management software for user-friendly, accurate, and timely contract requests.
Organizations can easily configure a request intake form to essentially ensure that relevant information is gathered in a centralized manner. An easily-navigable contract management software interface can allow requesting parties to efficiently and centrally provide the required information. Those reviewing and approving contract requests can conveniently view relevant data.
Organizations leveraging CLM software for the requests stage in awarding a contract can configure a request wizard. A dynamic questionnaire can help requesting parties determine the type of request needed - per a preconfigured set of dynamic questions. Once this questionnaire is submitted, an intelligent contract lifecycle management software system can assign users to a particular request page depending on their answers.
Contract request tasks can be tracked easily with contract analytics tools such as automated request alerts, a report designer for custom and ad hoc reports, and CLM system dashboards.
From there, organizations can seamlessly move into the next phase in awarding a contract...
#2 - Contract Authoring
Sometimes referred to as "contract writing," the contract authoring phase in awarding a contract allows contract parties to put the terms of an agreement into written copy by consolidating standard contract clauses, contract key data, counterparty information, and other data into a document.
CLM software empowers organizations with standardized version tracking to maintain contract consistency no matter how often a contract circulates. Contract artificial intelligence allows for intelligent data mapping, data extraction, clause recognition, and language suggestions while feeding machine learning for continuous CLM optimization. Organizations can proactively track document versions, merge contract data with pre-approve language templates, simplify item management and line-item management (including CLIN), include flow down clauses and notifications, and more!
For enhanced document collaboration, leading CLM software supports state-of-the-art online document connectors. For instance, CobbleStone Contract Insight® offers MS Outlook, MS Word, MS Office 365, and Google Workspace connectors - along with their CobbleStone® online document editing interface. Such tools can centralize, simplify, and expedite contract document editing. Additionally, organizations can keep stakeholders in the loop with automated version tracking.
#3 - Contract Negotiations
During the contract negotiations stage in awarding a contract, contract parties can negotiate the terms and parameters drafted during contract authoring. Back-and-forth communication and redlining allow conditions agreed upon to be further elucidated so that the expectations of all parties can be accounted for,
Organizations can leverage user-friendly contract lifecycle management software to improve contract negotiations with:
- the abovementioned online document editing tools.
- document collaboration and document version control with collaborating with counterparties.
- intelligent workflow automation for task management, essential date awareness, and milestones.
- a familiar interface for contract redlining and edits.
- integrated contract approvals and signatures.
Clause ownership allows contract administrators to set an owner to a particular contract clause.
If an assigned clause is included - and a contract stakeholder attempts to edit that clause - CLM software can promptly add that clause or section owner into the contract negotiations process - according to a rules-based sentiment.
Speaking of contract approvals...
#4 - Contract Approvals
During the contract approvals stage in awarding a contract, a review on the part of contract parties occurs. Parameters are agreed upon to meet compliance standards, contract obligations, milestones, and special terms. An easily accessible and up-to-date audit trail of changes made to a contract is a must-have for an efficacious contract approval process.
Contract lifecycle management software can offer approval authority clarity. A standardized format for contract approvals can streamline contract approvals. Automated alerts and notifications regarding when a document needs approvals can promote accountability and expedience. Awareness of chain-of-approval changes can make it, so contract stakeholders quickly obtain updates regarding who needs to take action.
Intelligent workflow automation can alert the right people at the right time. Managing approvals can be simplified with the proper tools to track processes. Workflow automation can cut contract approval time by eradicating potential bottlenecks and virtually guaranteeing that everyone involved in approvals performs the appropriate steps on time.
#5 - Contract Signing
During the contract signatures stage in awarding a contract, a chief employee or an authority with appropriate clearance adds a signature to an agreement - thus ratifying it. The contract signing phase executes a contract and makes it active.
User-friendly electronic signature software helps organizations keep the signing process moving - whether key signatories are in the office or on the go. Organizations can use leading electronic signature software within a CLM platform for smooth signing operations with
- up to twenty percent faster send-to-sign times.
- simple one-off contract signatures.
- a rules-based electronic signing process.
- signing on computer devices, mobile devices, and more.
- cutting-edge eSign connectors and integrations.
- simplified mass signatures for new agreements, bulk addendums, human resources documents, policy updates, and more.
- a secure online portal for signing.
Supercharge Stages In Awarding a Contract & More!
These features are just a scratch at the surface of what leading contract management software can do for your pre-award and contract award operations. Additionally, comprehensive contract lifecycle management software features can also help you master post-award contract management. Only one CLM software solution offers all of the features listed above and more. That contract lifecycle management suite is CobbleStone Contract Insight.
CobbleStone Contract Insight is highly configurable and easy-to-navigate contract lifecycle management software that scales with your needs for future-minded pre-award contract management, post-award contract management, and much more. CobbleStone® has been an innovative pioneer in CLM since its start in the mid-1990s. The features obtainable with CobbleStone Contract Insight can vigorously equip organizations to handle contract management, vendor management, eProcurement, and eSourcing on one centralized platform.