A good contract management system is an essential part of enterprise content management. Your ECM will be supported and enhanced by keeping your contract management in line. A good contract management system can avoid common problems while providing your team with security, notifications, and the flexibility to meet your needs.
A good contract management system doesn’t leave your vital information open to security risks. It may feel like that should go without saying, but the importance of security can never be overstated. A good contract management system integrates with other aspects of your enterprise content management system. This includes third party sharing procedures. Can you send your contracts to be reviewed, analyzed, and restructured without risking them getting out of your hands? A good contract management system has structures in place to provide for the adequate transmission of secure information.
A good contract management system is an active contract management system. It should be able to notify you when contracts are up for renewal–even if these contracts include evergreen clauses. In many evergreen contracts, you only have a short period of time to leave the contract if you want to. This can be unfortunate, because not every contract is going to be perfect for your business forever. In many cases, renegotiating evergreen contracts at regular intervals is the only way to stay competitive. When vendors think they have your business permanently, they don’t feel the need to work to impress you. By periodically renegotiating your contracts, you can arrange for more favorable terms, from a better payment structure to better delivery. Not every change has to be about the price of things.
A good contract management system will send out notifications when the terms of a contract is approaching. You should be able to customize your notifications in advance. In a busy office where things often tend to slip through the cracks, multiple notifications to multiple people may ensure that things get seen when they should be.
A good contract management system is never rigid. Flexibility is key to its usefulness. Many businesses want either basic management systems without flexibility or they take it too far. They don’t define what they need the system to do, and they find themselves in a “Jack of all trades, master of none” situation. Flexibility needs to be balanced with a good knowledge of what you actually need the system to do. Like many aspects of enterprise content management, many businesses don’t actually identify their needs before they settle on a system. While adjustments and flexibility are key, they won’t mean much unless you isolate what your contract management needs actually are. Flexibility should be in regards to personal preferences, notifications, and workflow.
A good contract management system flows well with your general enterprise content management software. Your system should be flexible enough to work for your needs, but not undefined. You should have the notifications you need to work effectively. Before everything else, however, a good contract management system is secure.