Many legal professionals face the daunting task of managing a growing volume of contracts efficiently and securely. The manual handling of such important documents is not only time-consuming but also prone to errors - leading to potential compliance issues and operational inefficiencies. Enter contract management software; among many other things, it is a document management solution designed to streamline the organization, access, and management of various types of documents.
Creating a Document Management System
This blog explores seven key ways in which contract management software can serve as a top-performing electronic document management system (DMS). The blog will offer insights into a document management plan that enhances security, compliance, efficiency, and decision-making. Whether you're looking to overhaul your current document management system or fine-tune existing document management process steps and procedures, understanding the capabilities of your contract management software can yield more productive business processes.
#1: Centralize Document Storage
The backbone of any efficient document management system is its ability to centralize data. Contract management software excels in this regard - providing legal professionals with a unified repository for all contract-related digital documents. This centralization eliminates the need for physical storage and disparate digital files, making managing and accessing documents easy and secure. All documents and associated files are in one place - effectively saving time and resources.
#2: Use Advanced Search Capabilities
One of the most powerful features of contract management software is its advanced search functionality. Legal professionals can effortlessly find contracts and related documents by searching for keywords, phrases, or specific clauses within a vast database. This capability is invaluable for conducting thorough reviews, compliance checks, and risk assessments. It also simplifies the task of referencing past contracts for precedent or drafting new ones during document creation.
By leveraging these sophisticated search tools, legal teams can ensure that no detail is overlooked, improving both the accuracy and efficiency of their work. Users can quickly locate specific documents by searching text, metadata, clauses, and more with easily accessible insights into team members assigned to documents, version control, etc. Advanced searching also offers assistive "Did you mean...?" functionality, saved searches, and search history.
#3: Maximize Robust Security Features
Security is paramount in the legal profession, where sensitive documents must be safeguarded against unauthorized access and breaches. Contract management software addresses this concern head-on with advanced security protocols - with advanced solutions boasting SOC 1, SOC 2, and Privacy Shield compliance.
Additionally, implementing document management through contract management software can allow you to maximize multi-factor authentication and permissions-based access controls to sensitive data. These features virtually ensure that contracts and other legal documents are accessible only to authorized personnel, providing peace of mind that confidentiality is maintained. Contract management software's ability to keep track of user activity logs aids in monitoring and auditing document access, further bolstering document security measures with the added bonus of making any compliance audits more painless.
#4: Boost Compliance Tracking
Staying abreast of compliance requirements in a constantly evolving legal landscape can be challenging. Contract management software simplifies this process by offering automated tools for tracking and managing compliance requirements across contracts and vendors.
Contract templates with the correct language around compliance can always be handy in contract management software for optimal use. What's more, sections and clauses of newly introduced documents that contain deviations from optimal compliance language can be auto-redlined in contract software.
In addition to standard document workflows, contract lifecycle software users can create any number of highly configurable workflows for oversight over compliance-related tasks. Since these tasks are time-sensitive and critical, workflow escalation makes it so any overlooked tasks can be escalated to another resource in a timely manner.
#5 - Automate Routine Tasks
One of the most immediately sought-after benefits of contract management software is the ability to automate and manage an ever-growing number of tasks related to contract documents. To that end, document management implementation with CLM software affords many helpful tools, including:
- automated document drafting and negotiation with templates.
- routing documents for automated approval.
- setting key date reminders and task escalations.
- centralizing eSignatures for approval from various stakeholders
By automating these processes, legal professionals can significantly reduce the time and effort spent on manual tasks, minimizing the risk of errors and delays. This shift not only streamlines workflow but also allows legal teams to allocate more time to high-value activities, such as strategy and negotiation.
#6: Integrate Document Management & CLM With Other Processes
No document management solution worth its salt fails to integrate with other mission-critical and convenient platforms. Advanced solutions integrate with and connect to many solutions, including:
- CRM systems (such as Salesforce).
- other document management systems.
- ERP systems (such as NetSuite and Dynamics 365).
- Financial systems.
- HRIS systems.
- procurement systems.
#7: Spot Trends & Truths With Advanced Analytics
The ability to analyze and interpret contract document data is invaluable for legal departments and contract managers. Leading contract management software comes equipped with analytics and reporting tools that offer deep insights into contract performance, risk areas, and counterparty trends. Executive graphical dashboards can provide visually engaging contract analytics at a glance.
These tools can track and report on various metrics, such as contract lifecycle times, contract amounts, expirations, and budget trends. By leveraging this data, legal teams can make informed decisions on contract strategy, optimize negotiation outcomes, and enhance risk management practices. Additionally, custom reports can be generated to support internal reviews, compliance audits, and strategic planning efforts.
How To Build A Document Management System for the Future
In order to build a document management system that can handle contracts of increasing complexity and volume, organizations should invest in a contract management software platform with the features above and almost countless others for better contract lifecycle management from drafting to renewal.
To see one such solution in action, book a free demo today!
*Legal Disclaimer: This article is not legal advice. The content of this article is for general informational and educational purposes only. The information on this website may not present the most up-to-date legal information. Specific guidelines on unilateral contracts are governed by state law. Readers should contact their attorneys for legal advice regarding any particular legal matter.