Contract Management 101

This is the first in a series of two posts on how to use contract management features to speed up the pace of business.

As the saying goes, time is money. Spending valuable resources beyond what’s necessary researching processes and tools isn’t time well spent. That’s why Concord has consolidated the most important information on contract management into an overview covering the essentials of contract management, including how to think about contracts; what tools, features, and process changes to look for; key guidelines for a C-suite audience; and much more. 

This two-part blog series helps speed up the pace of business so teams can work faster and smarter. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s no longer necessary to go through search processes, training sessions, or implementations that take months. The future is here and contract management is moving along with it. How will your business accelerate forward as contracts are managed more effectively?

Contracts as the core of business relationships

Contracts are the center of a business connection — the official document that formalizes a business partnership. Tens of thousands of contracts are managed in larger companies, meaning tens of thousands of relationships to keep up. Contracts are a source of revenue for a company, and left unmanaged, can have a severe impact on an organization’s performance and reputation. 

The good news is if managed properly, contracts can have an incredible impact on a company. A positive contract experience sets up the foundation for a good working relationship while saving money and increasing revenue sources. For example, prior to implementing a contract management platform one company found many of their contracts were being automatically renewed. Cancellation fees to get out of the contracts were creating significant yet unnecessary costs for the organization. Implementing a contract lifecycle management platform not only allowed the organization to set up deadline alerts that helped them prepare for upcoming renewals, but it was actually cheaper to pay for the contract lifecycle management platform than the continued unexpected cancellation costs. Not to mention, vendor relationships were improved because cancellations were less likely to happen because of the new visibility.

Contract lifecycle management solutions

While there are many contract management tools and processes, true contract lifecycle management (CLM) should be an all-in-one, single source of truth, uniting people, processes, and documents in one location.

Contract lifecycle management is the full process of organizing, managing, and streamlining all contracts throughout every stage. A successful platform has the power to increase performance and revenue from contracts as well as reduce overall costs. For a contract lifecycle management platform to provide the most benefit to an organization, it shouldn’t serve as simply a repository, but a solution for the challenges of the old ways of managing contracts.

Contract lifecycle management is the full process of organizing, managing, and streamlining all contracts throughout every stage. A successful platform has the power to increase performance and revenue from contracts as well as reduce overall costs. For a contract lifecycle management platform to provide the most benefit to an organization, it shouldn’t serve as simply a repository, but a solution for the challenges of the old ways of managing contracts.

A good platform will help organizations gather key metrics for performance, mitigate risk, and provide more visibility into customer and vendor relationships. Standardizing legal language, processes, and workflows will increase the speed which teams are able to work at while maintaining a high level of compliance. Eliminating bottlenecks and any barriers to working more efficiently will reduce the contract cycle time while freeing up teams to work on more strategic projects.

Implementation as it should be

Implementing a contract management platform is often talked about as a months-long process that will be expensive and tedious. This should not be the case.

Long implementations mean reduced adoption and benefits. To fully see the advantages a platform has to offer, implementation should be quick, easy, and free. Having a successful implementation means creating a plan that is straightforward, involves leadership and the right stakeholders, and is tailored to a team’s needs. Including both discovery about the current process and reasons for the change along with extensive training and change management strategies is key for lasting results. With implementation underway and complete in a matter of days and weeks, not months and years, ensuring the processes set up work for all teams and are followed will lead to a successful implementation.

Stay tuned for Part Two of our series where we’ll discuss how a CLM platform streamlines high-level business processes…

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