10 Contract Management System Requirements Your Solution Needs & Why

    reading-minutes-icon-one-color 5 min read
    or  Listen to It Listen to it    

    CobbleStone Software explains the 10 contract management system requirements your solution needs and why.

    There are many efficient contract management platforms on the market for small businesses, expansive enterprises, and those in between. As such – searching for the best contract management software with which to manage contracts can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be; you just need to know which contract lifecycle management requirements to look for when implementing a contract management system.

    As such, let’s discuss ten items on a contract management system requirements checklist to look for when deciding on a CLM software solution that saves time and money for your organization.

    Discover leading contract management best practices with CobbleStone Software's free whitepaper.


    #1 - Automated Contract Data Extraction With AI

    When implementing a contract management system, the cloud-based software you choose should definitely provide contract data extraction as a starting off point for contract data oversight. With contract AI, you can extract legal text and clauses using natural language processing (NLP), fuzzy logic matching, and structured data recognition to make the most of legal clauses and terms. You can also identify sensitive data and establish rules for access and storage of:

    • counterparties.
    • dates.
    • locations.
    • emails.
    • phone numbers.
    • monetary values.

    Download CobbleStone's AI-101 Whitepaper Now!


    #2 - A Secure & Searchable Contract Repository

    A secure and searchable contract database allows your team to locate documents, data, files, attachments, and more - eliminating time-consuming, manual search processes - and thus should be among your contract lifecycle management requirements. Some meat and potatoes features of a contract repository should include familiar "Did you mean...?" search functionality, search filtering options, search content and file previewing, drill-down searching, the ability to export search content into familiar file formats, and user permissions/rules around who can access contracts and other data.

    A huge step beyond filing cabinets and sporadic shared drives for searching for various complex contracts, contract lifecycle software can support your team with a long-term solution for finding contracts (virtually) anywhere at any time.


    #3 - Support of Ranging Contract Types

    Organizations manage almost endless different types of business contracts for both public and private sector business relationships. The business contract management software solution you choose should support all of these business agreements.

    Your team should be supported for virtually all of the different types of contracts you manage. Your system should provide a list of out-of-the-box contract types so you can quickly begin keying in new contracts. Furthermore, you should be able to add a virtually unlimited number of user-defined contract types. Additionally, authorized users should have the ability to manage the list of contract types as contract management requirements evolve.


    Download Mastering Contract Management Whitepaper by CobbleStone


    #4 - Common & Configured Contract Metadata Fields

    In addition to out-of-the-box fields for common contracts, your contract management system requirements checklist should include functionality that simplifies creating contracts and tracking metadata for specific types and processes. Management of these fields should be flexible - allowing you to assign fields to one or more contracts, grant permissions regarding fields for one or more employees, oversee what types of metadata fields you manage (such as dropdown, free form, numeric, etc.), and more. Advanced solutions also offer intelligent recommendations for fields for clauses and legal terms.


    #5 - Contract Templates & Version Tracking

    To make it easier to draft contracts during contract creation, you should trust a solution that allows you to merge contract metadata fields and clauses with contract templates from your pre-approved template and clause library. Additionally, you can leverage numbered version control and audit trails to track the most up-to-date contracts. These processes help your team members build compliant and accurate contracts with ease to bring them to the proverbial negotiation "table." As your contract management software requirements change, you can start leveraging advanced clause recognition based on significant amounts of training data.


    #6 - Online Negotiations With Auto-Redline & More

    Your team should have the capacity to engage in contract negotiations with ease. Make sure clauses and sections can be locked so that - with clause ownership - those assigned to clauses and sections are notified when someone tries to edit them. Be on the lookout for contract auto-redline. This feature can automate the inclusion of clauses from your pre-approved library while redlining originally introduced clauses and swapping them with established and accurate preferred clauses - virtually ensuring that favorable clause language is included. Comprehensive audit trails make it so that you and the parties involved are on the same page - and no unpreferred contract version slips past your team.


    #7 - Electronic Signatures

    You would be remiss not to leverage a cloud-based contract solution that supports a fast and easy way to execute and sign contracts after the approval process as one of your contract lifecycle management requirements. You can automate document management, electronic signatures, and digital signatures with security and compliance via a legally binding process. Convenient placeholder options can quicken the process on your terms - and custom colors, fonts, sizing, and formats can provide a professional and branded experience.


    Struggling To Understand CLM Jargon? Download Free Glossary.


    #8 - Contract Document & Data Archival & Retention

    Your CLM solution needs to allow you to easily manage contract archival, retention, and destruction. You can configure notifications to alert assigned users of data ready for archiving or purging based on key dates, compliance standards, and other variables. Rather than automate contract purging (which we do not encourage) you can automate workflows for your team to review closed contracts ready for purging within a manageable timeframe, helping with mitigating risk and reducing accidental data deletion. Moreover, audit trail history with trackable status changes can enhance contract data task management oversight and data policy accountability.


    #9 - Contract Analytics

    You need to be able to take a proactive approach to contract analytics beyond the standard, out-of-the-box reports. On the contrary, the optimal CLM solution should also serve as a contract tracking software system in and of itself.

    You need real-time, data-driven visibility into contractual relationships across entities or business units during the various stages of the contract lifecycle. You should be able to prevent unexpected costs and breaches of contract, maintain compliance, prepare for contract renewal dates, reduce inefficiencies, and address payment and negotiation timelines. Dashboard contract management can provide analytics at a glance, such as:

    • Contract KPIs
    • Contract Overviews
    • Contracts by Department
    • Vendor Management Summaries
    • Year Analysis

    Contract KPIs dashboard

    #10 - User-Friendly CLM Integrations & Connectors

    Better contract analytics should also be considered among contract management system requirements. This can be achieved with a system that offers user-friendly integrations and connectors to:

    • word processing tools.
    • spreadsheets.
    • external eSign platforms.
    • CRM systems to keep contract management and sales teams on the same page.
    • accounting systems.
    • solutions for change management optimization.
    • these tools and many more!

    Feel free to ask a solutions provider if they support integrations with other systems you may want to centralize contract management processes with others.


    Make Your Case for Contract Lifecycle Management Software


    Closing Takeaway

    In the end, the key takeaway is that there are various contract management system features out there - and you should make sure the contract management software requirements above are available as a boilerplate start. The data shows that the vast majority of legal teams (74% according to CLOC) are embracing solutions for stronger business processes with award-winning features.

    During your search, consider CobbleStone Software - a proven leader in CLM solutions.

    CobbleStone Contract Insight is highly configurable, and flexible, and can easily scale with your evolving needs. It has been widely acclaimed by customers and third-party analysts alike for its user-friendliness, customer support and education options, seamless integration capabilities, and versatility.

    To get started with these tools to serve your contract management requirements and more, book a free demo of CobbleStone® today.

    CobbleStone Software has been named a Leader in the SPARK Matrix for Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) 2023, per Quadrant Knowledge Solutions.

    *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.  Readers should contact their attorneys for legal advice regarding any particular legal matter.


    This article was originally published on April 6, 2023 and updated on March 13, 2024.

    Published: 03/13/24
    Sean Heck

    Written by Sean Heck

    Sean Heck is Content Marketing Manager at CobbleStone Software

    Website Graphics_Collage for Website Module copy

    Lists by Topic

    see all

    Tag Cloud

    Posts by Topic

    see all