Contract Tracking: Mastering Contract Management Series

02/4/19

Improve contract tracking to get the most out of contracts

Contract tracking is a significant challenge for legal, procurement, and contract management professionals. Manual contract management processes may suffice for organizations managing low numbers of contracts, but when contract volume increases to hundreds, thousands, and beyond, contract failure rates increase exponentially.

The reality is that contract management systems including manual paper and file systems, spreadsheets, and email are not enough for organizations to get the most out of their contracts. Apart from making it difficult to reach financial goals, ineffective contract tracking lacks security and puts organizations at operational and regulatory risk.

When Contract Tracking Goes Wrong

Does this scenario sound like your contract tracking story? Your organization stores documents in a shared drive, you track contract metadata in a spreadsheet, and you use email to manage the contract lifecycle from request to renewal. You spend inordinate amounts of time creating calendar reminders and alerts in an attempt to stay on top of critical milestones including tasks, approvals, expirations, and renewals.

The organization’s shared drive has multiple versions of documents with various naming conventions and file structures. To further complicate things, employees have document versions stored in their folders, rendering it near impossible to search and find contracts, let alone determine the correct version.

That contract tracking spreadsheet helped you stay on top of key dates like expirations, but the margin for error was high due to the necessity of constant data entry, regular maintenance, and updating. When it comes to spreadsheets, there’s a lot that they don’t do:

  • Spreadsheets don’t prompt important tasks or send alerts for issues with contract terms or language
  • Spreadsheets don’t support sell-side contracts by revealing cross-sell, up-sell, pricing, or discount opportunities
  • Spreadsheets don’t support fast approvals and routing for signatures

More problems arise when the organization discovers multiple spreadsheets are being used and no one knows which version the correct version is.

Spreadsheets can only support contract management tracking at a base-level because they often prove to be ineffective at accurately tracking contract lifecycle tasks, contract status, contract compliance, contract performance, budgets, purchases, and invoices.

The process mentioned above was certainly an improvement from not having a formal contract tracking process in place, but the positive impact isn’t enough when timelines shift, audit trails are amiss, and schedules need to be coordinated once again. Ultimately, you realize you are still losing contracts and more time is being wasted following up with internal resources and counterparties for approvals, negotiations, and signatures.

Putting an End to the Waste

The principal path to mastering contract tracking is to eliminate the waste in your process. Stop wasting time searching for documents, stop wasting time locating supplier information, and stop wasting time searching through folders and managing long spreadsheets.

The Path to Contract Tracking Mastery

Effective contract tracking is achieved with greater efficiency, more visibility, easy collaboration, secure document storage, flexible and intuitive task management, alerts, and approvals.

The fact is that manual or hybrid contract tracking systems may work up to a point, but they cannot adequately support complex contracts and increased contract volumes.

Organizations require a solution that is secure, cloud-based, smart, searchable, and automated. Organizations need a solution that makes contracts easily accessible, supports contract reporting and analysis, simplifies drafting, negotiations, and approvals, automates tasks, monitors contract status and milestones, and thoroughly oversees that executed contracts meet compliance standards.

That solution is contract management software.

Embracing Technology for the Win

Leading contract management software supports effective contract tracking with a secure repository, increased visibility, templates and clause libraries for rapid contract drafting, improved collaboration, performance insights, full audit trails, and faster contract close rates. CLM technology is user-friendly, facilitating quick adoption by all users and impacted stakeholders.

If you are considering investing in software for contract tracking, look for essential features like:

  1. a secure, centralized repository with unlimited document storage
  2. version tracking
  3. tracking for unlimited attachment types including contracts, POs, invoices, supporting docs, and more
  4. vendor compliance tracking
  5. award management tracking
  6. contract record audit tracking and logging

To better manage the entire contract lifecycle from "cradle-to-grave", look for additional functionality including:

  1. user-defined fields
  2. automated reminders
  3. intelligent workflows
  4. electronic signature

Leading contract management software is flexible and configurable to your organization’s process and standards. Don’t waste another minute, calculate contract management software ROI to see the potential positive impact and embark on the path to contract tracking mastery today.

If you would like to incorporate leading-edge contract management best practices and see how Contract Insight™ can improve contract tracking, helping you get the most out of your contracts, enroll in our free educational seminar, "The Road to Contract Management & Procurement Success."

Download the free guide to learn about contract management's critical stages

Maria Votlucka

Written by Maria Votlucka

Maria Votlucka is a Marketing Coordinator at CobbleStone Software.

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