Finding the Best Contract Management Software for Your Business
Its teams will benefit from efficient, consistent contract assembly and negotiation, and from deep, AI-driven contract oversight and analysis. They will achieve the Holy Grail of closing deals quickly without sacrificing quality.
Below, we discuss the features that distinguish the best contract management software for your business from ordinary contracting solutions.
Easy, centralized contract assembly, negotiation, and execution
In a business that depends on frequent, complex deal-making, long-term success rides on making it reasonably pain-free for your teams to draft and negotiate agreements containing consistent, favorable contract terms. The challenge in getting to the right deal every time lies in striking the optimum balance between one-size-fits-all template agreements and over-engineered, “custom” contracts.
The best contract management software makes finding that balance easy by creating a seamless, intuitive, substance-based contracting workflow. To be sure, this begins with incorporating some of the existing contract management tools available on the market, like e-signature and user-friendly red-lining. But, the best contract management software goes much further than these patchwork applications.
An industry-leading contract management solution gives your business a single digital platform in which your teams can:
- Draft and assemble contracts, drawing from the entire body of past contracts the business has entered into as precedent;
- Give relevant team members and counter-party representatives access to a single working draft and to easy-to-use editing and commenting tools to keep track of deal points and compare proposed language;
- Leverage AI-driven natural language processing to review for errors, inconsistencies, and ambiguities; and
- Distribute an execution version, collect e-signatures, and archive the agreement in a central repository.
Firms that integrate the best contract management software into their operations soon find themselves freed from once-intractable contracting problems. No more losing track of draft, red-lined versions in criss-crossing emails. No more chasing a salesperson for the final, executed copy of an agreement. No more careless cut-and-paste errors that render key terms ambiguous.
With the best contract management software serving as the business’s central contracting hub, closing favorable deals quickly and consistently becomes business-as-usual.
Deep contract analysis and insight
Many businesses treat their firm’s document management system as a tool for managing contracting. That isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but it’s a far cry from the functionality of the best contract management software. The typical DMS gives a business a central repository of documents, various levels of user access to them, and a degree of word-searchability. Its function is to help organize documents and enable other employees to find them, but it still leaves the heavy lifting of selecting, digesting, and comparing documents to the human user.
The best contract management software, in contrast, takes DMS functionality to an entirely different level. Its artificial intelligence and natural language processing technology doesn’t just help a user find a contract stored on a shared platform. It also analyzes those agreements and “understands” what they mean. In effect, the best contract management software makes a business’s entire body of contracts “concept-searchable.”
It gives users the ability to construct smart queries that locate and compare documents with particular features. For example, with the best contract management software, a user could instantly identify all contracts that terminate between specific dates, or that promise delivery of a minimum number of units to a particular customer, or that were reviewed by a specific employee or team before being signed.
Employees can use the best contract management software, in other words, not simply to search for an agreement they know exists, but to explore a body of contracts to draw insight from it.
24/7/365 performance monitoring
The analytical tools the best contract management software offers aren’t just limited to helping teams locate and analyze relevant contracts, either. They also give a business the capacity to monitor, anticipate, and report on the past, present, and future performance of its agreements in real-time. Here, again, the best contract management software goes to the root of solving problems most businesses have historically addressed with band-aid type solutions.
Take, for example, the ever-present problem in a manufacturing-oriented business of coordinating sales with the supply chain. On one hand, aggressive sales teams aim to close as many deals as possible. (As we’ve described above, the best contract management software gives them tools to do that job more efficiently and effectively than ever before.)
On the other hand, procurement managers live in constant fear of salespeople promising prices, quantities, or timetables for deliverables that conflict with the company’s sourcing agreements with its vendors. Without effective communication and contracting coordination between the two departments, business will suffer.
Every enterprise, no matter its industry, faces this sort of internal operational tension around contracting. With the best contract management software, there’s finally hope of eliminating it. In the same way, AI and natural language processing allow users to analyze a body of agreements, the best contract management software on the market can be configured to track in-the-pipeline agreements to ensure they mesh with a company’s existing obligations. Likewise, it can be set up to monitor existing agreements to ensure deadlines get met, and to alert relevant teams when performance on either side of the agreement is about to slip.
In serving as a 24/7/365 monitor of contracting performance, the best contract management software effectively helps human users identify, in real-time, the contracting issues most worthy of their attention. No more missed deadlines. Fewer internal and external contract-related conflicts. Smoother, less-tense operations.