Buying E-Signature Software? Consider the Real Cost

By Caroline Hoy   May 13, 2021
E-signature software has some hidden costs that need to be considered when selecting contract management software.

Would you build an addition to your house without having thought about a doorway to the rest of your home, or properly hooking up electrical connections? Of course you wouldn’t! But similarly, if you’re just considering e-signature software, you’re not simplifying your work in the long run, you’re actually creating more roadblocks to both the contract process—and your digital workplace as a whole. 

Oftentimes, e-signature software is where companies start. But you may wind up with a fragmented digital space that fosters problems you’ve already encountered, or will soon.

These include everything from frustrating disorganization, lost contracts, security concerns, compliance issues, and even increased operational costs. 

Here’s what may be at stake, and how integrating contract software simplifies not only signatures, but each leg of the process. 

Multiple Tools Equal Multiple Headaches

Whether your business is legal, procurement, healthcare, real estate, or construction, no matter your industry, if you need electronic signature software it’s because you’re signing an agreement, or contract. In all of these sectors, your business contracts need both management and maintenance

According to CMS Wire, if you’re buying a digital workplace tool like e signature software, you should consider how the tool factors into your workplace overall in the following ways.

E-signature software should foster:

  • Better communication
  • Smoother collaboration
  • Seamless file sharing
  • Enhanced productivity

It should also be the best business application for your needs. 

On the surface, e-signature apps solve some of these needs, but leave holes in underlying equally important contract process needs, such as governance, security, and broader collaboration flexibility. 

Does Your Business Experience These Process Problems from E-signature Software?

Still, many businesses continue to operate in a time warp. While that might be a fun sing-along to the Rocky Horror Picture Show, a piecemeal approach to contract management software is costing your business and employees both time and money. As of 2021, 66% of small to medium businesses are facing financial challenges, and 43% of these say that operational expenses are the biggest problem.  

Can you say yes to one or more of these statements? 

  • Signed documents are stored in various spaces, and sometimes there are more than one copy.
  • Contract information is tracked on a spreadsheet that involves only one or two gatekeepers, and this provides no visibility for the rest of the team or organization. 
  • Only one or two people can track deadlines, and our organization must go through them for key data. 
  • Templates take a long time to create, and are sometimes re-created.
  • Negotiation involves a lot of email tracking, and tedious attention to the thread, and sometimes there are mistakes. 

If you answered yes to one or more of these statements, your organization is effectively saying yes to daily frustration. So in reality, if you’re opting solely for digital signature software, you’re not solving these bottlenecks. 

In many cases businesses and people alike do what’s familiar, not what’s efficient, until it’s causing too many problems to continue. 

Let’s walk through the process many businesses take when they purchase just an e-signature tool and the process problems that naturally come up. These problems highlight a need for better security and processes with end-to-end contract management software. 

Where Do You Store Signed Contracts?  

You’re thinking about e-signature software solutions, but what about storage considerations? 

Many e-signature tools today offer overlapping features, from legal digital signatures to signature tracking. But where do you store these? Like most businesses, your business likely opts to store contracts on local or cloud-based electronic spaces. However, the process can shift with employee turnover, and it creates little to no visibility for other departments. It also makes it hard to track details in an agreement. 

CLM Storage is Both Accessible and Secure 

Fragmented tools and apps slow down an organization. A contract lifecycle management (CLM) that includes e-signature software enables your organization to obtain a legal digital signature and then to store it in a secure cloud-based space, as well as upload it to the spaces you normally use, like Google Drive, or Salesforce. 

Unlike a simple electronic signature app, when a detail changes in Concord’s CLM, that data automatically updates in key spaces you work, like Salesforce. So you never have to worry about correct contract information and details. In addition, you have better visibility. Additionally, you can have confidence that you can find the right contract in the same place, every time. 

When it comes to operational costs, if you buy e-signature software, you’re paying for one leg of the process. But with most CLMs, you pay a similar amount for the entire process. 

Here’s How Concord Makes it Easy for Legal to Automate Compliance

How Does Your Business Create Legal Templates?

Creating a contract, or crafting a legal template, is one of the first steps in the contract process. The truth is, most companies are out of step with this—and it’s why we reviewed the e-signature process, first, because it’s what you most likely did, too! 

Electronic signature software, by and large, doesn’t come with templatized legal documents. But this is a critical need for your digital workplace process. E-signature software and an added template service aren’t integrated, nor do they create a cost-savings. 

CLM Software Provides Easy-to-Use Pre-Built Templates

A CLM allows you to import any document and begin building templates with pre-approved legal clauses. You can upload as many documents as you want with no size limitations, and include data from Salesforce or Excel.

Automation in the digital space is key. Templatizing legal documents enables any industry, from procurement, to real estate, or construction, to have the right legal documents handy in one space. 

Where and How Do You Negotiate Agreements?

By now you must be on to us. You see how backward these steps are in this post, but many times this is the reality of how businesses manage contracts and digital tool procurement. 

When it comes to contract negotiation, most businesses negotiate in person, or by phone, and then by email. 

The fact is, you’re negotiating sometimes thousands or millions of dollars worth of business—by email. But email security concerns and risk have risen in the last 5 years. CSO online shows that 94% of malware comes through email, and fileless attacks ballooned by 256% in the last half of 2019. 

See How Concord Enables You to Securely Collaborate and Edit in Real-Time

Negotiate and Redline Safely, Effectively, and Easily in CLM Software

A CLM allows you to redline and negotiate all in one secure space. You’ll never track a critical detail through email again. You can look-up details, and have version control security.

Contract management software allows all parties visibility into the negotiation and redline process, meaning your sales teams and stakeholders will be able to navigate deals better. 

In the short term, electronic signature software is a stop gap for getting agreements signed. But if you idle there long enough, eventually you’ll sputter into process headaches. A CLM allows you to not only sign but create, track, and even make reports to manage your agreements more easily. Simplify your process. Make it easier, more effective, and more secure with end-to-end contract management.  

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