Contract management teams hold a lot of responsibilities throughout the life of a contract. Streamlined and organized contract collaboration is key to CLM success. Without a clear-cut understanding of how the contract process should occur, contract management teams can encounter unnecessary contract risk, contract lifecycle bottlenecks, and decreased revenue. As such, we have outlined the responsibilities of a contract management team and how these responsibilities can be centralized and organized with leading contract management software.
Responsibility of Contract Management Team
The responsibility of a contract management team is to foster healthy communication and oversee the contract lifecycle management process efficiently. Furthermore, contract management teams should analyze contract processes for workflow improvement, advanced risk management, and more. Key contract management team responsibilities include healthy communication, task management, secure access, compliance oversight, risk mitigation, and reporting and analytics.
Contract Lifecycle Management
Contract management teams need to centralize contract lifecycle management. The contract lifecycle is the leading paradigm contract management teams use to powerfully compartmentalize the contract process.
To successfully centralize the contract lifecycle, contract management teams must first understand what the contract lifecycle is. Below is an illustration of the stages in the life of a contract.
Contract management teams should utilize a contract lifecycle management software solution that unifies the contract lifecycle with:
- automated contract requests.
- simplified contract authoring that supports the seamless merging of contracts with templates from organizations’ pre-approved clause library.
- robust tools for contract negotiation, contract collaboration, contract review, electronic signatures, and contract approval routing.
- easy access to a secure contract repository for contract documents and data.
- user-friendly contract analytics, contract compliance oversight, and contract obligations tracking.
- automated key date alerts and notifications – such as those for seamless contract renewal opportunities.
- robust risk management, risk mitigation, and risk analysis functionality.
- straightforward yet granular workflow configuration and tracking for various specific contract types.
- advanced report functionality for increased ROI and advanced contract analytics.
- & Much More.
Contract management teams should automate workflows for increased task oversight, timely adherence to key dates, and improved accountability. There is no better way to improve contract workflows than the use of powerful contract management software.
Intelligent contract workflow automation reduces contract bottlenecks by connecting the right resources at the right time with virtually unlimited task notifications and reminders.
Contract management teams can leverage contract automation tools to track every stage of the contract management process. AI-based contract management software can allow contract management teams to proactively oversee key dates and milestones, including contract renewals, with integrated automated alerts. Furthermore, contract management software can be configured to maintain an audit trail history that tracks contract changes. Contract workflow automation can help contract management teams proactively focus on contract performance rather than simply contract management. Contract management teams can concentrate more on the contents of their contracts and less time on the technicalities involved in the contract lifecycle – allowing for consistent process transformation as contract volume and complexity grow.
An essential facet of contract lifecycle management and related processes is communication. Contract management teams should promote visibility and transparency between all internal resources involved in the contract process and between vendors, stakeholders, and third parties. Contract management teams must foster convenient communication regarding the contract lifecycle, contract compliance, contract obligations, and more – in addition to secure access to contract data for relevant personnel.
Luckily, leading contract management software offers numerous contract communication and collaboration tools. Automated task alerts can be configured so that involved personnel are virtually always aware of what needs to be done and when. To further support communication, task escalation can be configured to redirect tasks if the initially assigned resource is not acting on time, improving overall accountability.
Clause ownership can allow contract management teams to set a clause to a specific resource and – if there is an attempt to edit that clause, the owner can be notified.
Robust contract management software supports audit trails so that teams can easily communicate the most up-to-date edits of a contract. Online, web-based document collaboration functionality within leading-edge contract management software allows contract management teams to edit contract documents concurrently online – complete with automated version tracking! Additionally, trusted contract management software can seamlessly integrate with mission-critical applications such as Google OneDrive and MS Office 365 for diversified online concurrent document collaboration.
The abovementioned processes can apply to vendor management as well. Furthermore, vendor communications can be easily configured. For example, in the award phase, contract management teams can configure an email to alert the awarded vendor of their win – while alerting unselected vendors while thanking them for their participation.
Robust and user-friendly contract management software also provides an in-app chat feature for simplified communication with users regarding task management, contract status, and virtually any other desired communication.
Contract Risk Management
To avoid unnecessary, contract, and harmful contract risk, contract management teams must establish a risk response plan. A risk response plan consists of a protocol to improve opportunities while decreasing threats to contracts. A risk response plan must involve ensuring safe yet rapid access to relevant contract data and stakeholder information. It is best to leverage proactive risk mitigation and risk mapping tools, easy searching and reporting of contract clauses, and more.
Risk management tools can include a searching interface to eliminate risk-prone contract language and analysis of relevant contract and vendor data, a user-friendly risk assessment matrix, intelligent, automated workflow to promote timely task performance, and more.
Contract management teams equipped with powerful contract management software can easily search for contract data and contract clauses. A very relevant example would be the ability to search for force majeure clauses to relinquish responsibilities that are no longer in their control given the pandemic or another "act of God" event. Using a user-friendly contract searching tool within contract management software, contract management teams can easily search the term “force majeure” and experience multiple sets of results that include their search term as it appears within contracts, requests, and companies within the system with links to related record pages or contracts. Advanced contract management software solutions even let contract management teams export search results into MS Excel format.
Another vital facet of contract management teams’ risk response plan should be the analysis of contract language. Robust contract management software for risk mitigation can automate contract language analysis with contract AI to review contract language agreed upon in existing contracts. Thus, contract management teams can leverage contract intelligence to intelligently analyze existing documents related to contracts, requests, bids, purchase order records, and vendor records. The system can then mine for certain risk-prone phrases or key words that may have been approved in the past but are no longer favorable to the teams’ organization. Thus, contract management teams can virtually ensure that their organization does not renew or agree to an extension of an agreement that no longer works best for their internal needs and no longer meets their risk management requirements.
Assessing contract risk for a myriad of contracts can be challenging without digestible visualization and prioritization functionality. Whether a contract management team is handling ten or ten thousand contracts, identifying and subsequently prioritizing risk variables can prove difficult when sifting through a plethora of words and other contract data variables within countless pages of documents. Identifying risk for a healthy risk response plan can prove almost impossible without a graphical risk opportunity and assessment tool.
Luckily, leading-edge contract management software supports risk assessment tools to present risk variables at a glance within a contract management team’s documents for comprehensive risk mitigation. Rather than manually shoveling through their contract documents and contract records for risk variables, contract management teams can utilize a visually engaging graphic that can automatically plot contracts based on their identified risk score – offering contract management teams a holistically visualized risk response plan of active contracts that can assist their organization in prioritizing risk decision-making.
Additionally, contract management teams can analyze how a contract would perform in certain situations with hypothetical risk variables and exposure within a user-friendly risk assessment matrix - further helping contract management teams and their internal stakeholders strengthen the established risk response plan and prepare for the unpredictable.
Contract management teams can utilize a visual risk assessment matrix and statistical data analysis tool to pinpoint positive, negative, or neutral aspects of their contracts to help improve their organization’s contract strategy. Contract management teams can also configure message alerts to notify resources if a contract incurs a value of X% higher than the average contract within their contract repository.
Contract Management Software Implementation
It should now be clear to see that your contract management team needs a robust contract management software solution to manage all of the responsibilities mentioned above. That solution is CobbleStone Contract Insight®.
CobbleStone’s trusted, critically acclaimed, seamlessly integrated contract management software platform has been trusted by contract management teams around the globe to help them meet and exceed their responsibilities. CobbleStone® streamlines every stage of the contract lifecycle with improved governance, low friction, and high flexibility. CobbleStone Software has been a visionary developer of contract management software for over 20 years – and continues to innovate the technology to aid the responsibilities of contract management teams. CobbleStone’s user-friendly, robust, and easily scalable solution seamlessly integrates with many mission-critical applications for centralized 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 management needs. To learn more about CobbleStone’s unparalleled CLM software, book a free demo with a CobbleStone Contract Insight expert today!