A new school year brings a new wave of contracts, leaving contract administrators and procurement professionals juggling hundreds, or in some cases thousands, of contracts annually. This sheer volume of contracts brings tough challenges for community colleges such as lost contracts, lack of version tracking, and minimal visibility.
Taking the time to determine if your community college contract management process needs improvement will allow your team to recognize wasted time that could be better spent on more pressing priorities.
Common Contract Management Problems Facing the Education Field
No Contract Repository
A common problem we see in the education field is contract managers struggling to easily locate the correct version of their contracts, resulting in lack of visibility around contract obligations and key dates.
Often, minimal visibility makes it difficult to track supplier certifications and diversity goals. Without a contract repository, the process may be disrupted by missing documents or team members’ missed action items. It’s best to have all related documents and tasks/alerts stored in one place so your team stays on the same page.
Lack of Workflow
Contract management requires each team member to complete their assigned tasks in a set order. Having a contract misplaced will slow down this process significantly, making the necessary negotiations difficult to accept if needed. Lack of a proper workflow results in individuals missing the required alerts, reminders, and correct file versions and the process becomes unmanageable.
A contract management solution like CobbleStone’s Contract Insight™ has built-in workflows that alert individuals when they need to take action while providing the right documents and files necessary to do so.
FOIA Open Records Requests
One of the biggest headaches stretching across educational institutions is the overwhelming amount of Freedom of Information (FOIA) Requests.
FOIA is a federal law that is an extension of the freedom of speech, allowing for disclosure of previously unreleased information and content that is controlled by the US Government and state-wide regulations. With leading contract management solutions, fully customizable public-facing portals may be available. These provide the public with access to a selection of contract data and files. With access to this portal, your organization can automate and minimize time spent on Open Records Request processing.
Contract management software was created and tailored to meet FOIA request needs while eliminating headaches, making the contract management lifecycle a smoother process.
How can Technology and CLM Software Help Me Manage My Contracts?
Procurement teams and contract managers are always on the lookout for innovative ways to be more efficient and productive. Depending on your organization, there can be a laundry list of items that you are looking to manage better. Keeping track without a central contract repository, risk control, and file version tracking can be difficult. You must identify key renewal and expiration dates, assign and execute tasks, and the list goes on.
A big issue for community college procurement and contract professionals is identifying where each contract is stored, or scattered, and tracking them by location. If each department keeps their set of contracts separate from the others, you will find yourself unable to obtain what you need at some point, and so will your colleagues.
You may also find yourself challenged by determining the status of vendor tracking and approvals. Improving the overall contract visibility within your organization is crucial to a successful team.
Consider these 9 benefits of contract management software for community colleges:
- Track the data you want, the way you want, so you never miss a contract alert again.
- Create one-click contracts, forms, and letters.
- Organize tasks with a web-based calendar and user-friendly dashboard.
- Reduce “paper chasing" and searching time with email warnings for expiration/key dates.
- Negotiate and sign documents electronically through the system.
- Comply easier by having documents digitally stored and searchable at all times.
- Reduce overall contract costs.
- Set user permissions for access.
- Simplify FOIA and contract open records requests processing.
For community colleges, it’s important to keep processes organized and to secure all documents in one central repository. Students, employees, and other individuals may request documents at any time. Provide your organization with a foolproof system and never miss an alert, task, or update again with a contract management software solution.