Contracts are one of the foundational elements of stable business operations. They form the basis on which any business relationship is formed. Thus, contract management is important for any enterprise regardless of industry or size.
With enterprises growing fast, powered by modern technological advancement, contract management has grown exponentially from what it used to be, constantly evolving. A cloud-based contract management system helps businesses alleviate contract procedures and manage them effortlessly.
Most businesses invest in contract management software without analyzing what features they need. Even though you may have good contract lifecycle management software, it might become redundant if your contract management solution provider does not upgrade it to match the growing need with time.
Does your contract management have all the necessary features? Is your contract lifecycle management software simplifying contract management? Is there any room for improvement?
With the new year just around the corner, perhaps if you’re looking to revamp your existing contract management system or deploy a new solution, it is essential to understand the business needs and check the features that would fulfil the requirements.
To get a competitive advantage, here are nine contract management software features your business must have in 2022.
1. AI-enabled documentation and extraction
AI-enabled documentation and extraction can help in streamlining your contract lifecycle management. It allows users to select data points and configure rules based on contract types. An AI-enabled contract management software also helps in consolidating data and makes it easily digestible. Users can set rules regarding locations, dates, values, and other identifiable information and key data subsets. They can reduce the time spent on tedious tasks of importing contract data into electronic format, content conversion, tagging, and extraction. Thus, making the contract documentation process faster and easier for different teams.
2. Unified dashboard
When users get a unified view of all the contracts and all the related information like contract expiration, active contracts, etc., it becomes easier to plan tasks, make decisions and act accordingly. A single, unified dashboard could be the first step in your journey to a simplified contract lifecycle management process.
3. Central contract repository
If your enterprise handles a large volume of different types of contracts, chances are you might have to manage them much more efficiently. Storing contracts in disparate systems makes it difficult to trace the contract information or milestone on time, leading to costly consequences.
A contract management software with a centralized contract repository is one of the best ways to facilitate easy and quick access to contract data. This means your teams will have to spend less time searching for relevant contract information through email inboxes and drives, and they can devote more time to contract strategy.
CLM software also reduces contract information silos if you have different teams collaborating for contracts as they have a single place of storage. Apart from a central repository, your contract management software should also allow customizable and filtered searches to find any contract data in minutes.
4. Contract digitization
Creating documents from scratch takes precious work hours from your teams. Sifting through contracts to detect errors is a tedious and error-prone task. A robust contract lifecycle management solution with pre-existing templates helps you move away from this.
A good CLM system should also allow users to create and use templates for contracts. Thus, instead of spending time on building contracts from scratch every time, you can either use existing templates or create your own standard template – Create contracts on the go.
Contract digitization with pre-existing templates and pre-approved clause libraries is cost-and-time-efficient. These revolutionary features also provide risk mitigation benefits, decreasing liabilities and increasing compliance. Thus, it’s a must-have feature for fast and efficient contract building.
5. Automated Workflows
Human error is one of the biggest issues in manual or spreadsheet-based contract management processes. And that is why enterprises with complex or large contract needs must find ways to reduce manual processes as much as possible. A contract management solution with automated contract workflows feature is a must-have. Automated workflows help avoid gaps or employees forgetting or missing any aspect of the contract process.
With the help of customizable and automated contract workflows, your enterprise can use your time and resources intelligently. As these workflows guide your teams through each stage of the contract lifecycle, your employees can allocate more time towards strategic initiatives. The automated workflow feature uses predetermined sequencing to simplify contract planning, reviewing, negotiations, and approval.
6. Contextual search functionality
Depending on your size and industry, your business might be working with a copious number of contracts in a year. Thus, finding the right contract information on time can be a challenging task. The nature of your business might also affect the complexity and contract risks involved. If you cannot find contract data at the right time, it might have a direct impact on your business relationships, operations, or revenue.
A contextual or semantic search feature in contract management software helps you find the correct information at the right time by scanning through your large contract repository. Your team will no longer have to scroll through pages after pages of contracts to get the relevant information. Instead, CMS with this feature will use keywords, metadata, and filters to help you locate contracts in no time.
7. E-signature integration
If businesses have learned anything during the pandemic, it’s digital transformation. An e-signature is a basic requirement of any digitalization activity. The traditional ways of following up with the stakeholders for their approvals are very slow, especially now in the era of remote work.
CLM software makes contract signing easier for executives and leaders. A contract management software with e-signature integration like DocuSign is a must-have for 2022. Not only does it accelerate the contract signing process, but it also provides various other benefits, including verification, audit trail, and security.
8. Configurable document management system
The contract management process does not just involve working on contracts. Your team also has to work on various documents surrounding the contracts, such as schedules, budget estimates, Scope of Work (SOW), and more. Thus, your business might need easy integration and swap between different document management tools (Sharepoint, Google Drive, Appian DMS). The right contract management software provides you with this feature for easy integration of document management software and centralized contract document storage.
9. Smart Monitoring and Reporting
To ensure that you get the most out of your contracts, you must always be aware of what’s going on in each contract and what’s the overall status. It’s also important to analyze the efficiency of your contract processes. You need contract lifecycle management software with powerful monitoring and reporting capabilities. It will help you stay updated with all the KPIs and performance management facilitating better decision making.
Contract management is an uphill task for any business organization. However, with the right tool and right features, the contracting process becomes error-free, fast, and effortless. Therefore, it’s time to re-check your current contract management system for any scope of improvements and switch to modern, intuitive, and feature-rich contract management software. Make sure you upgrade to a contract lifecycle management software that offers all the above-mentioned features to take your contract management to the next level in 2022.