Innovation in business is often the key to success. Having the clear vision to tackle an issue in a creative and comprehensive way, utilizing all available means, is a valuable and effective strategy for progress and adaptability. For businesses of any size or industry, Contract Management is a priority issue because contracts govern the flow of money and resources throughout the organization and are therefore integral to smooth operation.
At the point of launch, businesses may not see Contract Management as a particularly significant issue. Although legal agreements begin to accumulate immediately – relating to premises, equipment, stakeholder interests and initial employment, for example – the number of these documents may seem manageable at first. But, as the business develops, grows and evolves, that contract collection rapidly expands in both size and scope. Moreover, each contract requires a specific kind of handling, on its own timescale.
Why is effective Contract Management so important for business?
The contract collection of businesses becomes unwieldy and overwhelming when the number of contracts prevents the thorough completion of the necessary due diligence. This manifests as either a reduced level or entire lack of Risk Management protocols, resulting in costly errors, delays, and conflict. Disorganization in Contract Management causes inefficiencies and the waste of resources. All of these issues have the effect of reducing revenue.
In a poorly managed contract system, legal agreements are scattered across multiple departments and are dealt with as static documents – that is, documents that represent a single point of collaboration between parties; that are essentially a set of dates and objectives. Effective Contract Management, by contrast, applies the contract life cycle approach. This views each individual contract as a dynamic process, with specific stages of development – beginning with the contract request, moving through the drafting, negotiation, approval and performance monitoring stages, and arriving at the point of either renewal or termination. The contract life cycle approach therefore ensures strict attention to detail that can proactively address any problems or issues, while also surfacing any additional opportunities for increasing revenue.
When viewed through this lens of comparison, it is clear that effective Contract Management is essential for increased efficiency and profitability throughout the operation and, ultimately, for boosted revenue. The additional benefits of this approach include the future-proofing of the business in an increasingly interconnected global marketplace. Efficient and effective Contract Management builds scalability into the heart of the business, enabling the enterprise to adapt to all circumstances and, crucially, thrive.
Symfact: the platform that features solutions
Embracing innovation, Symfact has developed a single, end-to-end digital solution to Contract Management for organizations of all types and sizes. Whether the business in question is a brand new start-up or a large multinational corporation, this Contract Management Software suite boasts cutting edge features to boost efficiency, profitability and revenue. These features support the contract life cycle management approach and deliver benefits that are quantifiable in terms of ROI.
- Browser-based design
Modern digital solutions need to centre the user experience if they are to be successful in the long-term. With this in mind, Symfact’s Contract Management Software uses a browser-based design and cloud technology to deliver a secure yet accessible tool for businesses. Encapsulating all Contract Management tools within a single platform means that the entire contract life cycle can be accessed in one digital location. It also provides an additional level of data security by enabling permission-based access. Access permissions can be closely controlled while authorized personnel can log in from any web-enabled device in any internet-connected location. This not only helps to prevent cyber crime, but also increases accountability and transparency by creating an automated audit trail of activity.
- Centralized repository
At the core of Symfact’s browser-based design lies the centralized repository. This feature is key to increasing efficiency within any business because it allows all contract documentation to be gathered in a single digital storage location. This storage process is enhanced by the use of metadata and data tagging, building searchability into the contract collection and transforming the repository into a valuable data source. Remedial action then becomes a highly efficient, responsive process, as contracts can be surfaced and amended through categorized metadata filtration.
An additional benefit of the centralized repository is its support of standardization. Businesses can use the repository to build a library of standardized language, terms, clauses and contract templates that are pre-approved by the Leadership and Legal personnel. This speeds up the earliest stages of the contract life cycle by ensuring Contract Administrators have access to current contract materials needed for authoring and negotiation.
- Support for E-Signatures
Few technological advances in Contract Management have had the level of impact created by the electronic signatures facility. Now widely accepted as legally binding in many global territories and jurisdictions, electronic signatures have revolutionized both the contract approval process, and the approach many businesses take to carbon footprint reduction.
Electronic signatures allow contracting parties to approve and execute legal agreements digitally, from any location. This provides two significant advantages. Firstly, the approval and execution stages of the contract life cycle are completed faster which, in turn, shortens contract life cycles. This means that profits resulting from the contract are seen earlier, and resources needed for further sales are released more quickly. Secondly, without the need for either travel or manual delivery, carbon emissions relating to the contracting process are greatly reduced. This enhances the ‘green credentials’, and consequently the reputation of the business, and also boosts revenue by reducing costs.
- Encrypted data transfer
Data security is of paramount importance. It protects the business itself, as well as the Third Parties with which the business connects. It also enables the reputation of the business to be enhanced across the global marketplace, particularly with regard to differences in regulatory and legislative requirements across jurisdictions. Symfact prioritizes global data security, which is why encrypted data transfer is a core feature of this Contract Management Software platform.
While the platform is a single, end-to-end software product, it uses cloud technology to provide secure but easy access to authorized personnel. The use of encrypted data transfer ensures that, despite the use of cloud storage, no unauthorized personnel can access the data contained within the Contract Management platform. This, combined with the security protocols inherent to cloud technology, provides a multi-layer approach to data security.
- Risk Management tools
A notable proportion of the contract life cycle is geared toward Risk Management. This is because the way in which businesses assess and deal with contract risk can have a direct and significant impact on the bottom line. Failing to properly evaluate and address contract risk of any kind leaves the business open to costly delays and conflict. Risk Management is a complex area of policy in its own right, however, which is why Symfact has included a comprehensive range of Risk Management tools in its Contract Management Software.
The task of Risk Management hinges on the process of risk assessment, and this involves five specific stages:
- Identification of risk
- Identification of the potential harm and how it may be caused
- Evaluation of risk and determination of control measures
- Recording of findings
- Review of risk assessment
These stages must be completed for each contract to ensure stringent Risk Management is implemented. The browser-based design of Symfact’s Contract Management Software, built around a centralized repository, means that the process of risk assessment is made more efficient. Everything required is available within the platform, including facilities to create intelligent questionnaires. Links to all leading external databases, such as LexisNexis, Refinitiv, Dow Jones and Dun & Bradstreet, allow businesses to perform comprehensive background checks on individuals and organizations alike, while identity management features help protect against fraud by enabling businesses to identify, authenticate and investigate companies and individuals.
The Risk Management features of Symfact’s Contract Management Software are specifically designed to ensure that all evaluations and decisions relating to contract risk are based on current data analysis. This, in itself, is a vital Risk Management strategy.
- Customized reporting
Centralizing and tagging contract data is an essential Contract Management step, but powerful customizable reporting tools are required to produce actionable insights from that pool of information. Symfact’s Contract Management Software provides reporting facilities that can surface required documentation according to current need, as well as those required for the analysis of trends – both those in the present and those predicted for the future. This can prove invaluable in terms of strategy planning for both business expansion and risk assessment.
In addition to sales and market insights, customized reporting tools can provide vital data analysis for the operation itself. Tracking performance data can help to identify actual and potential bottlenecks, conflicts and non-deliverables that surface during the course of the contract life cycle. Symfact’s Contract Management Software can report on data in relation to the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) of the business, ensuring that data is specific to the goals and objectives specified.
An effective Contract Management system keeps contract data under strict control, in order to maintain a high level of efficiency. Symfact’s Contract Management System addresses this requirement with a comprehensive range of auditing tools. Harnessing the power of automation allows the system to create audit trails for all data and activity, including access, edits and user identities. This ensures full accountability and transparency, as well as delivering full version control.
Thorough and continuous auditing of the Contract Management System has several benefits for the business. It helps to ensure compliance with internal and external policies and procedures, including data protection and standards. It also helps leadership to understand the way the business is operating, by collating activity insights for review. Finally, it contributes to effective Risk Management strategies, through data protection and analysis.
- Automated workflows
Significant improvements in efficiency can be accomplished by increased automation. By removing human input from basic administrative tasks, processes become faster with reduced likelihood of costly errors. This is the approach incorporated into the Contract Management Software platform from Symfact. The software features automated workflows, which ensure that the right task is flagged up to the right person at the right time, automatically. The impact this system has on the contract life cycle is crucial because it prevents missed deadlines, milestones and payments.
This feature is particularly effective for complex organizational structures, with interactive dashboards that provide full transparency and data tracking. The combination of the automated workflow feature and the browser-based design makes collaboration simple yet secure, while data analysis provides insights into operational costs and business finances.
- Configuration and integration
A host of powerful software features is nothing without configuration and integration approaches that centre the user experience. Symfact recognizes the importance of delivering a Contract Management Software platform that blends seamlessly with existing systems without disruption to service. This software solution can be fully configured to meet the current needs of the business in a way that provides for scalability and growth in the future. This helps to make the business more agile and responsive to changing circumstances.
Cross-platform API architecture allows the Symfact Contract Management Software platform to integrate with IT infrastructure already in place in the business. This allows for easy standardization across the operation, while a drag-and-drop interface enables the smooth merging of legacy data. That means, whatever the age or size of the business, Symfact’s Contract Management Software is the best solution for boosting revenue through increased efficiency and Risk Management.
The scalable solution
Technological advancement moves quickly, and it can feel like a challenge for any business to keep up. This is why scalable digital solutions are always the best option. Scalable software platforms increase efficiency and tighten control in the current time while implementing systems and processes that are flexible and adaptable for changes in the marketplace. In a world now constantly buffeted by financial crises, global pandemics and extreme weather events, such scalability is absolutely essential for a business to thrive in the long-term.
Symfact’s Contract Management Software delivers precisely this level of scalability in a single product that is easily configured and simple to deploy. Contact Symfact today to arrange your Contract Management Software demonstration.