Managing contracts can be challenging - especially when primarily relying on outdated tools such as spreadsheets, emails, and shared drives. Without accountability, visibility, and actionable insights, you can find yourself confronting contracting workflow bottlenecks. Enterprise contract lifecycle management (CLM) requires careful planning, the right technology, and a well-planned contract strategy.
To gain the most out of enterprise contract management, take advantage of seven best practices. Enterprise contract management best practices involve contract lifecycle management software. CLM software digitally unifies processes from contract requests through renewals. It provides a centralized, web-enabled, single source of truth for contracts.
Read on to learn more.
Enterprise Contract Management
Enterprise contract management is the process of coordinating and organizing contracts from requests through renewals. It helps maximize contract value. Enterprise contract management involves managing agreements stemming from various departments and processes. These processes include various legal agreements and vendor contracts from procurement.
Enterprise Contract Management Best Practices
- Automate Contract Lifecycle Management With Efficient Workflows
- Streamline Contract Assembly & Approvals
- Master Negotiations With Contract Redlining Software
- Speed Up Contract Signing with Digital Signatures & eSignatures
- Manage Contract Risk With AI & Machine Learning
- Track Contracts from Requests Through Renewals With Clear Audit Trails
- Leverage a CLM Mobile App for Remote Enterprise Contracting
#1 - Automate Contract Lifecycle Management With Efficient Workflows
Growing businesses overseeing contract lifecycles can consume tremendous time and energy. Additionally, manually managing multiple documents can result in human error. You can find yourself struggling to maximize contract performance throughout the entirety of the contract lifecycle.
Fortunately, intelligent contract workflow automation can reduce bottlenecks. The right people at the right time can be connected with virtually unlimited task reminders and notifications.
You can leverage CLM software for:
- advanced reporting and analytics tools.
- contract process management.
- user-defined fields.
- audit trails.
- and more.
Contract lifecycle automation tools can track key stages of the contract management process - including contract collaboration, contract negotiations, and approvals.
Leading CLM software can allow you to anticipate milestones and key dates, including contract renewals, with helpful automated alerts. Moreover, enterprise contract management software supports audit trail history that tracks up-to-date contract changes. Automated CLM process flow can help you focus on contract performance management by allowing more time for contract content analysis.
#2 - Streamline Contract Assembly & Approvals
Contract generation can be challenging, especially with multiple people involved. Creating, reviewing, and revising contracts can consume large amounts of time and energy. Manual contract assembly can increase errors when parties are unaware of the most up-to-date templates and versions. Clauses, language, and templates that are not current or standardized increase the risk of creating non-compliant contracts.
Fortunately, an automated contract assembly solution can streamline contract lifecycle management processes by centralizing contract creation. CLM software can help create compliant contracts that merge with approved clauses within your library.
Leading CLM software can allow the merging of various document versions and templates from an organization’s pre-approved language library. These templates include FAR, DFAR, and GSA contract templates. These templates can be exported to various file formats. You can remain abreast of contract evolution with version-tracking tools.
CLM system administrators can also gain better control over contract access. This access can be fostered by configuring user permissions regarding contract and version access with approval routing and audit trails.
#3 - Master Negotiations With Contract Redlining Software
Contract redlining can prove to be a tedious process during negotiations. Coordinating with stakeholders during the contract redlining process can be delayed when using siloed processes such as:
- MS Word documents with tracked changes.
- email communications.
- and shared drives.
Contract redlining is the process of editing contracts between counterparties during the contract negotiation process before approvals and signatures. Contract redlining requires counterparties on all sides of the negotiation to add and review modifications. These modifications include redactions and additions to the contract language in order to reach a suitable consensus. This process requires strong communication and transparency.
Fortunately, contract redlining software - featuring auto-redlining functionality - centralizes the contract negotiation process. Edits and communications can occur in a secure, web-enabled location. Robust contract redlining software within a leading CLM software suite offers advanced artificial intelligence with machine learning. This AI functionality supports contract language updates – particularly:
- natural language processing.
- commenting tools.
- rules-based editing permissions.
- email notifications.
- configurable workflows.
Future-minded contract redlining software allows for workflow configurations – including clause ownership assignments, task escalations, and approval routing. Stakeholders can receive notifications of language modifications of contract areas for which they are responsible. Such redlined changes can trigger notifications to clause owners for review.
Rather than work with disparate contract versions, stakeholders can work concurrently within a centralized, web-enabled location. Counterparties can receive configured email notifications of comments and applied changes to review within the centralized contract redlining location. External or extraneous counterparties can be excluded from other areas of your contract software. This can virtually ensure contract data and process protection.
#4 - Speed Up Contract Signing with Digital Signatures & eSignatures
Gathering required signatures for a contract can be difficult, especially when signees are in different locations. Signatures finalize contracts and propel their execution. This highly anticipated step can be delayed with wet signatures or disparate email requests with clunky attached documents.
Fortunately, electronic signature software can make signing contracts a breeze. They can empower signees to sign in the office or on the go - with the proper device and internet access. Leading CLM software also offers mobile signature signing functionality for added convenience.
Digital signatures virtually ensure a signature's date of signing and that it was untampered with thereafter. Digital signatures reduce the need for an in-person notary.
Watch the video below to learn about CobbleStone Software's electronic signatures.
#5 - Manage Contract Risk With AI & Machine Learning
Reviewing contract risk can be time-consuming and challenging. Manually assessing contract risk factors can cost your organization extra time and money. Additionally, it can increase the probability of human error. Thankfully, AI-based contract management with machine learning can identify up-to-date and pressing risk variables and notify you.
You can also assess if your vendors remain compliant with the Office of Foreign Asset Control’s national sanctions lists. This compliance can be tracked with integrated OFAC search functionality. AI-powered contract management solutions can also provide organizations with a risk assessment matrix. This visually engaging tool displays risk exposure and risk probability patterns on an easy-to-digest mapping matrix.
#6 - Track Contracts from Requests Through Renewals With Clear Audit Trails
Organizations can stymie their CLM processes with contract tracking methods involving:
- shared drives.
- and other manual processes.
Manually tracking contracts can place an organization at risk for compliance issues, contract failure, financial instability, and more.
Thankfully, leading enterprise contract management software can equip you with a better approach to contract management. A centralized CLM software solution provides:
- advanced contract tracking with a secure contract repository.
- approved clause libraries and templates.
- detailed audit trails with timestamps of changes within contract records.
- and performance insights for robust contract tracking oversight.
You can manage contracts throughout their lifecycles with the help of task alerts and notifications. These alerts can be configured via email - especially with the help of an MS Outlook PC Helper App.
CLIN (contract line-item number) and flow-down subcontract document management can help track document numbers and flow-down sub-contracts.
#7 - Leverage a CLM Mobile App for Remote Enterprise Contracting
Managing contracts can prove challenging - especially when working on the go, remotely, or from home. Without a mobile-friendly solution that can seamlessly adapt to your work agility, you can incur contract workflow inefficiencies.
The lack of CLM software mobile integration can slow pre- and post-award contract processes.
A leading CLM software mobile app offers web-enabled functionalities right in the palm of your hand. A contract lifecycle management software mobile app can empower you to fulfill online contracting tasks. You can modernize contract management with Apple iOS and Android devices. A user-friendly mobile interface can offer contract lifecycle management features at the touch of a finger.
A feature-rich mobile app offers themes and color schemes with mobile-friendly responsiveness. CLM mobile app users can quickly access core CLM features on a sleek and modern interface to:
- Generate Contracts.
- Configure & Receive Task Alerts.
- Configure Automated Workflows.
- Request eApprovals.
- Gather eSignatures.
- Track Key Dates.
- Track Post-Award Contract Compliance.
- Search for Contracts.
- Create Ad-Hoc Reports.
- And Much More.
Achieve Enterprise Contract Management Success With CobbleStone®
Implement these seven enterprise contract management best practices with the help of CobbleStone Contract Insight®. CobbleStone is an industry-leading and award-winning enterprise contract management solution. It is chosen by thousands of contract management professionals over other enterprise contract management systems.
Don't waste any more time manually managing contracts and confronting contract management bottlenecks. See CobbleStone Contract Insight CLM software in action by booking your free demo with an enterprise contract lifecycle management software expert.
- optimal governance.
- reduced friction.
- and high flexibility from contract requests to renewals.
CobbleStone Software has been a visionary leader in CLM software for over twenty years. CobbleStone’s user-friendly, robust, and scalable solution seamlessly integrates with mission-critical applications for unified and seamless contract management. CobbleStone Software, as a software provider, also remains SOC 1 and SOC 2 compliant to encourage paramount security.
*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 attorney for legal advice regarding any particular legal matter.