Four ways to ensure your contracts are ready for a one-click world.
Contracts are the lifeblood of modern-day business. They are used to protect against risk, establish incentives, hire employees, install systems and plan for the future. But at most organizations, contracts are executed, edited and stored using 25-year-old technology. In this two-part blog series, we’ll explore how moving to self-service contracting is the future of business. In part one, we look at the state of contracts now and identify room for improvement.
One big reason that the move to self-service contracting is necessary, is that mobile technology has transformed the pace of business, making speed an essential factor in gaining success. Organizations that can move quickly by leveraging technology are leaving the competition behind. By employing self-service contracting, companies can give their employees, clients, sales teams and consumers the ability to get business done on the fly .
Consider: Their contracts are signed with a single click, and the service they receive is instant. Agile self-service customer deals are the way things are headed. But, if your decades-old contract lifecycle management systems can’t cope, you’ll pay the price.
I. The case for speed and insight for business success.
Today, the digitization of self-service processes in the cloud has transformed the pace of business, making speed an essential factor. Organizations that are able to move quickly by leveraging technology as part of a do-it-yourself approach are achieving new levels of efficiency. That translates into making business decisions that accelerate revenue generation and improve the bottom-line. Agile contract management is a critical part of making that happen.
But hand-in-hand with efficiency is also an increasing emphasis on risk management. With data, documents and automated processes accessible on any device, business stakeholders today have more tangible mechanisms for tracking and monitoring how business decisions are being made, both within and outside the “four walls” of an organization. This requires an airtight process for protecting that information, as well.
II. How contracts slow down critical business actions, and how there is an opportunity for using contracts to increase the pace of business.
Perhaps nowhere is the importance of digitization more evident than in contract management. Contracts are the “rule book” for how businesses and relationships run. Yet, more often than not, organizations have been unable or, at times, unwilling to keep pace with the demands being placed on them from various internal and external stakeholders who are increasingly vocal regarding access to contracts or contract automation.
Contract management technology has been in place for more than a decade. Even so, the traditional use case of CLM (Contract Lifecycle Management) has often been in the hands of very few users: namely those in legal or contract management roles. For a typical business user, finding contracts can often be nearly impossible. Even those using contract management have often been limited to accessing executed contracts in a digital repository, but do not have access to the latest contract templates.
In (too) many organizations, the idea of authoring or even editing contracts is still often limited to emails going back and forth between various parties. In these cases, editing standard clause language is often stuck with legal in the form of tracking changes within MS Word. Which is great for legal oversight, but leaves business users out of the loop as to the status of getting contracts completed.
The advent of eSignatures has greatly accelerated getting contracts electronically executed, but doesn’t solve for the need to still monitor changes in documents that need to be reviewed for unauthorized edits that require legal intervention prior to getting the contract signed.
While most employees within an organization will not need to author contracts, having an access point to initiate the most common forms of contracts has become critical in this day and age of self-service in order to achieve agile contract management.
In Part Two, we’ll take a look at a customer agile contract management success story, and lay out the steps you can take to achieve it as well.