As your business grows, so do your responsibilities - especially as they pertain to contracts. Contract volume and contract complexity grow along with your organization. As such, it can be easy to fall into the deleterious pitfalls of contract mismanagement. Your organization will inevitably reach a point at which manual contract management methods - such as those involving disparate emails, spreadsheets, shared drives, and manual wet signatures - no longer cut it. But change is a good thing, and you can get ahead of the damaging consequences of contract mismanagement due to a manual process. How? It's simple: automate contracts with contract management software. Read on to learn how to easily get started with streamlined contract lifecycle management!
Automate Contracts - How Is It Done?
You might be thinking: How do I automate contracts? What does that even mean? How do you digitize contract management?
Well, the first thing you will need to do is select a solution that supports contract automation. This will give you the power to automate the entire contract lifecycle from requests to renewals in an ever-evolving technological landscape. Below are some common questions on how to automate contracts followed by answers regarding comprehensive contract automation tools for CLM success.
What Are Automated Workflows?
Contract management workflow automation can help you reduce contract lifecycle bottlenecks by engaging the right people at the right time with essentially unlimited automated contract workflow alerts, notifications, and helpful task reminders. Your team can configure a contract lifecycle automation process with user-defined fields, system-defined fields, data extraction and data mapping functionality, contract process management, full audit trails, contract reporting and contract analytics, and so much more.
Contract authoring, collaboration, contract negotiation, and contract approvals can be easily managed with a contract automation software process that helps your business track every stage in the life of a contract. Your team and stakeholders can leverage automated alerts to meet key dates and milestones, up to and including contract renewal opportunities. Full audit trail history supports an up-to-date and easy-to-access record of contract changes made. Contract management reports can provide valuable contract process data at a glance - on a scheduled basis if configured.
What Is Enhanced Contract Authoring?
You can use an automated contract management system to automate contracts through streamlined contract authoring.
An organized and centralized process for automated contract drafting involves the dynamic merging of contract data fields with clauses from your organization's pre-approved clause language and template library. Your clause library can include specific document templates - including those needed for FAR, DFAR, and GSA contracts. Leading contract management software also supports CLIN (contract line item number) management for the simplified addition of line items onto contract document templates. Your organization can streamline the input of new contract, request, vendor, solicitation, purchase order, and employee records by configuring said inputs to trigger a merge of that data with a pre-approved document template. Contract documents can virtually effortlessly be authored and then seamlessly exported as standard file formats such as PDFs and MS Word documents.
How Can I Streamline Contract Negotiations?
You can embrace a more effective procedure for collaborating with internal users and external stakeholders and vendors with contract negotiation automation.
With numbered version tracking and a comprehensive log of document changes, your team can simplify and organize document collaboration and control. Automate contracts by allowing collaborating parties to virtually effortlessly access up-to-date document versions.
You can promote content control with clause ownership offered by leading-edge contract management software. Your team can configure contract automation software so that changes made to a section or clause can trigger a notification to the "clause owner" or subject matter expert. The clause owner can be added to a contract or agreement's approval process and receive prompts to approve or reject those changes if anybody tries to edit a section the clause owner owns. As such, only relevant parties you need are added to the contract negotiation process.
You can also set up a rules-based process for relevant stakeholders that need to engage with a contract.
Necessary stakeholders can be configured to receive a notification that takes them to a user-friendly contract negotiation portal – a location where relevant documents can be accessed for automated contract review. The portal permits necessary parties to be involved in a negotiation without needing to be granted access to other, irrelevant software features. Necessary documents can be isolated for pertinent parties to access and make changes to if necessary, straight from this negotiation portal.
How Do You Create an Electronic Signature?
You must leverage electronic signatures to automate contracts in an evolving digital landscape. An e-signature is an electronic version of a written wet signature that supports relevant stakeholders in signing documents online without the necessity for a wet copy of a document. Signing delays can trigger bottlenecks in the meeting of obligations, observance of compliance standards, and overall contract execution. Your team can transform the signing process with electronic signature software to significantly decrease such issues and cut send-to-sign time by as much as twenty percent.
If you are wasting time managing signatures manually and relying on email communication to do so, you should instead implement a streamlined signing process with electronic signature software that allows you to:
- Save time: Rules-based contract management workflow automation speeds up the process and can keep stakeholders connected and on task so that less time will be wasted focusing on administrative expenses involved with sending, storing, tracking, and following up on documents that have been sent out for signatures.
- Experience greater security: Processing errors and confidentiality breaches can be reduced with legally binding signatures that include audit trails.
- Improve visibility and business relationships: The signing process is faster and made more easily accessible both in and out of the office.
Take control of signature processes by leveraging contract automation for signing to shift from an obsolete, inefficient process to a swift, efficient, and compliant process that leaves wasted time, breached compliance, lost money, and tedium in the past.
Automate Contracts with CobbleStone Software
The contract management software digital landscape is changing in favor of a need to automate contracts. Don't fall behind the rest with an obsolete contract lifecycle management process that requires your organization to sacrifice hours of tedious work that risks errors, oversights, wasted time, and lost revenue. Opt, instead, for contract automation with CobbleStone Software.
CobbleStone Contract Insight® offers user-friendly features that equip your business with tools to efficiently unite and secure contracts, collaborate, oversee compliance, track costs, receive alerts and notifications, efficiently sign with electronic signature software, increase productivity, and reduce expenses. Forrester names CobbleStone a Leader in CLM software - and it's easy to see why!
CobbleStone's long-acclaimed contract management software has been trusted for over 20 years by organizations from around the world looking to automate contracts. Get started today by booking your free demo.