Contract drafting is a multi-faceted and complex process. Document collaboration, contract authoring, contract negotiation, the establishment of terms and conditions, and other relevant steps can be challenging if organizations are relying on manual tools. Leave emailed collaboration, local file storage, manual tracking of multiple contract document versions, manual clause tracking and clause storage, and other error-prone and tedious contract drafting methods in the past by embracing robust contract management software.
Contract drafting is the process of putting the terms and conditions of a contract into written word. The purpose of contract drafting is to provide an explicit, concise, and legally binding agreement that elucidates contract parties’ intentions and requirements as thoroughly as possible. Contract drafting involves responsible document management, contract collaboration, contract negotiation, contract review, and contract approval.
How to Draft a Contract
Of course, organizations in ranging industries will have slightly different processes for contract drafting. In general, drafting a contract can include the following steps:
- undergo party agreement of business terms.
- gather contract drafting personnel and resources.
- gather clauses and sections.
- undergo contract authoring (including document management and contract collaboration).
- undergo contract negotiations and contract review before contract execution.
Contract Drafting With Contract Management Software
In a new technological landscape that embraces the digital transformation of legal operations, organizations should not continue to leverage manual contract drafting methods. Organizations should abandon antiquated processes that involve a decentralized and disorganized set of stored clauses, a plethora of document versions saved in disparate locations, missed contract drafting key dates, and sporadic email communication. Instead, they should embrace user-friendly contract management software for contract drafting.
Improved Clause Management
Robust contract management software for contract drafting improves organizations’ oversight and management of contract clauses – thanks to a built-in, user-friendly contract clause library.
Organizations can utilize a centralized repository to store virtually unlimited standard clauses, pre-approved clauses, fallback clauses, alternative clauses, and others for enhanced contract drafting. No longer do organizations need to worry about hosting clauses on local file storage when they can leverage a repository that is entirely web-based! This secure contract clause library can be leveraged for various purposes, including seamless, rules-based clause inclusion during the generation of new document templates for contract drafting. The clause library can also be utilized as a repository of contract language for improved contract drafting and contract negotiations. This contract language repository can allow contract approval resources to seamlessly access and insert clause language as redlines during contract drafting and negotiation. Advanced CLM solutions can enable contract managers to either add clauses one-off or bulk import as needed.
Organizations can utilize their secure and user-friendly clause library to merge contract data fields with clauses and document templates. This leading functionality applies to specific document templates such as those leveraged for GSA, FAR, and DFAR contracts. Organizations can also enlist the aid of leading contract management software for CLIN (contract line item number) management and the inclusion of line items within contract templates. Contract documents can easily and quickly be exported to standard file formats such as PDFs and MS Word documents.
CobbleStone® users can also leverage built-in PC Helper Apps for MS Word and MS Outlook to streamline contract collaboration, clause management and clause insertion, contract data management, and more!
Web-Based, Online Document Editing
Organizations can further streamline and improve contract drafting by leveraging contract management software that supports online, web-based, and collaborative document editing.
Advanced CLM software solutions support in-system online document editing for contract drafting. This functionality can afford organizations a low-friction and unified experience to create new documents straight from contract record information pages, import new documents, and edit existing documents.
During document editing in contract drafting, organizations can seamlessly insert clauses from their pre-approved clause library online. Files can then be automatically attached to the relevant contract record information page – while edits made to documents are automatically tracked as new versions. Best of all, all of this can be done online!
Contract Clause Ownership & Content Control
Organizations can leverage trusted contract lifecycle management software to improve content control when a document is being drafted. An organization’s CLM software system can be configured so that if a contract management resource attempts to modify a section or clause in a contract, a clause owner can be alerted.
Clause ownership functionality allows organizations to assign a “clause owner” to a critical contract clause. Suppose a clause owner’s clause or section is drafted into an agreement, and any stakeholder tries to change that clause. In that case, an organization’s contract management system will add the owner of that clause or section to the contract approval process and prompt the clause owner to approve or reject any changes made. This way, people are only added to the negotiation process if needed according to a rules-based clause ownership process.
Contract Workflow for Contract Drafting
Organizations can easily configure a rules-based process for employees, non-users, and external contract parties to fully oversee contract drafting.
Contract stakeholders can receive a notification that takes them to a contract negotiation portal where contract documents can be assessed and modified. Internal organizational users can have access to CLM software features to which they are assigned. In contrast, external stakeholders only have permission to interact with contract documents relevant to their process – affording internal user organizations greater security and efficiency.
Organizations can leverage an intelligent automated workflow process for streamlined contract drafting with workflow task alerts that keep teams on the same page. Advanced contract management solutions offer automated task escalation to a different user if the original user assigned to a task is not hastily completing a task – promoting accountability and timeliness. Key date alerts, milestone notifications, and more can keep organizations on top of the contract drafting process as well as the rest of the contract lifecycle!
After the front end of contract drafting is completed, organizations can undergo a seamless eApproval and electronic signature process within contract management software for a centralized and seamless contract lifecycle!
Improve Contract Drafting & More With Contract Management Software
As you can see, contract drafting is a multi-faceted process that leaves room for a lot of exciting improvement if digital transformation is embraced. To fully experience this improvement, your organizations should invest in a full contract lifecycle management software solution that automates the contract process - including contract drafting. The only solution that offers all of the tools mentioned above for contract drafting and more is CobbleStone Software.
CobbleStone Software’s long-trusted, acclaimed, and seamlessly integrated contract lifecycle management software suite centralizes and expedites contract drafting and every other stage of the contract lifecycle with enhanced governance, virtually no friction, and elevated flexibility. CobbleStone has been a visionary pioneer of contract management software for over 20 years – and continues to constantly innovate legal operations. CobbleStone Software’s highly user-friendly, remarkably robust, and scalable solution integrates with myriad mission-critical applications for centralized and improved contract management. It's no wonder why Forrester names CobbleStone a Leader in CLM Software!
Discover why thousands of contract managers from a variety of industries trust CobbleStone with their contract drafting and contract lifecycle management needs. To learn more about CobbleStone’s unparalleled CLM software, book a free demo with a CobbleStone Contract Insight expert today!