The most effective type of contract manager always has systems in place to monitor and track all their agreements. While this is sometimes a manual process, automatic processes are generally the preferred choice.
However you manage and track your contracts at the moment; there are several things you can consider if you are looking to improve your current system.
Five Things to Do to Get a Better Hold on Your Contracts
As mentioned, manual processes are sometimes used to manage contracts and this approach is often adequate. In most cases though, contract management software is the best solution. It allows all information to be centralised, making tracking easier as the information is readily available and accessible. Opportunities, risks and stakeholder collaboration becomes more manageable, and the entire process becomes more efficient.
Store all your Contracts in the same location
Before you start tracking your contracts, you need to have your contracts stored together and in a secure location. Although this may seem like a relatively straightforward task, the reality is that many organisations have their contracts stored in many different locations. No matter which solution to this problem you choose, from contract management software to something like a shared drive, or even a good old fashioned filing cabinet! You need a way to find agreements quickly when a reference or review is required. Failing to do this will only result in disruption throughout the life of the contract.
Highlight the Important Information
Before an agreement starts, highlight what information will require tracking. Contract managers should arrange a meeting with the contract owner to discuss any important points, rather than just deadlines or critical dates. These might include re-negotiation or opt-out windows, high-risk clauses, notice requirements, contract performance and compliance requirements This enables a more effective contract lifecycle, even when the contract has been archived.
Always Use a Proactive Approach
Agreements and obligations within a contract can be more efficiently controlled by actively seeking both opportunities and risks, which will help keep you on top of any deadlines. Your most essential contracts should be reviewed regularly so that corrections and changes are caught early on. This prevents you from having to react to problems after they have occurred or any deadlines being missed. Instead, being proactive will give you sufficient time to decide on the most appropriate steps, such as re-negotiation, renewal or termination. Leaving a problem until the contract has ended will put you in a difficult situation. You won’t have enough time to deal with the situation correctly, nor make a balanced decision that will impact your organisation positively.
Continually Update Stakeholders
For the contract management process to run as smoothly as possible, information must be available and conveyed to all parties working on the project. This is in addition to the right monitoring and tracking of agreements. Contract management is a collaborative process and the best contract managers communicate openly with all stakeholders throughout their company. While deadlines and deliverables may be the most obvious things that need to be shared, communication of the fundamental importance of the contract is also vital. Contract performance also needs to be considered by decision-makers and department leaders. This can be achieved by looking through contract information and working out whether the contract is working effectively.
Use Contract Management Software to Keep the Entire Process Efficient
When contract management software is included in your contracting process, it becomes much easier to monitor and track all your corporate agreements. All information is stored in one centralised location so that documents can be recovered quickly at the most critical of times. Thanks to custom reporting tools, information can quickly be compiled for various different data points then sent off to the necessary parties automatically. Contract deadlines can be closely monitored and managed thanks to the notifications and alert features so the right action can be taken at the most appropriate time.
Why You Should Replace Manual Processes with Contract Management Software
Sometimes, manually managing contracts is an adequate solution. For most of the time though, adopting contract management software makes for a better choice. Contract management software enables you to store all your agreements centrally, so they can always be accessed quickly, without disruption. Different aspects of a deal can be tracked easily, making the entire process more efficient. Risk management is better with contract management software because new opportunities can be discovered, information can be more easily shared amongst stakeholders, and contract performance is easier to see. Tracking and monitoring of agreements become effortless, while custom reporting saves time and keeps everyone up to date. Notifications and alerts also ensure that deadlines or essential steps aren’t missed.