If your company is like most, your contract management system consists of file cabinets, a digital maze of email and Excel spreadsheets, and dated software that just can’t keep up. But if the thought of replacing your current system seems daunting; you aren’t alone. Transitioning an entire organization to a new contract management system is a significant undertaking, and it all begins with selection. To aid in your search, we’ve compiled a list of must-have contract management system features that are essential for companies that want to streamline the entire contract lifecycle.
10 Critical capabilities for contract management software:
1. Centralized repository
A central repository provides an organized location to access and store contracts, reducing office interruptions. Modern repositories include functionality such as one-click contract generation and clause libraries. These features minimize the time staff members spend on recurring tasks.
2. Automated approval workflows
Remove bottlenecks with system-driven followup. Intelligent routing takes over mundane tasks such as reminders, escalations, and approval assignment. This ensures approval task communication is always timely and staff members are freed from busy work to focus on productive activities.
3. E-signature support
Even with a repository and automated workflows, contracts will inevitably require manual printing, signing, and scanning. To complete the digital transformation, it’s crucial that a contract management system also supports e-signatures. In addition to making it possible to execute contracts more quickly, e-signatures increase security by reducing your reliance on printed documents that are vulnerable to prying eyes.
4. Full text search
Providing users with powerful search functionality eliminates unnecessary time spent looking for contract information. Instead of manually looking inside of image and PDF attachments, full text search that incorporates OCR technology does this for you.
5. Granular permissions
Properly regulated access of sensitive contracts and vendor information is vital. The best CLM systems allow permission-based access for teams and groups, down to the field level. Precise access controls ensure that only those that need to know, know.
6. Clause library & print templates
Less clicks mean increased productivity for staff. Additionally, having a clause library and print templates offers standardization. Language standardization mitigates risk, helps comply with Sarbanes–Oxley and HIPAA requirements, and reduces the need for manual document production.
7. Flexible charts and reports
Beyond storing and managing contracts, a system that can turn your unique datapoints into meaningful information and actionable insight is invaluable. It’s important to have configurable chart and reporting functionality so that budget and forecast reports capture the right information
8. Notifications and alerts
With busy workloads, it’s hard to stay on top of every detail. CLM systems track key contract details, such as renewal and expiration dates, and can alert you when action is needed. Say goodbye to missed deadlines and opportunities.
9. System integrations
Connected systems facilitate the flow of information. Integrations with ERP and CRM systems remove data silos, making information actionable across the enterprise.
10. Data auditability
Audit trails make compliance with regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA more manageable by automatically recording information. Staff can then pull audit logs at will, without scrambling to document actions after they’ve occurred.
Putting it all together
When Henry Sire joined FuelCell Energy as Associate Counsel, he inherited over 3,000 non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in a file folder on his desktop. This loose collection of documents protected the technology of the most prominent fuel cell manufacturer in the world. Find out how he used our partner Agiloft’s robust contract management features to reduce risk, save time, increase efficiency, and better manage vital company resources. Read the FuelCell story.