Contract Management Software

Products in this category are designed to help an organization manage its contracts or legal agreements with other companies or vendors. Typically, contract management software is used for storing contract documents, tracking changes made to existing contracts, searching a contract on the basis of certain criteria and reporting certain aspects of a contract. More advanced products feature the ability to manage initial contract requests, to collect information about document authoring, to create and negotiate contracts, to track a contract through its review and approval phase and to execute a contract using electronic signatures. The right contract management software helps standardize contract content, improves collaboration and productivity and also aids in compliance management, workflow management and performance monitoring.  Read the full software guide...

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What is Contract Management Software?

Contract management, also referred to as contract lifecycle management, is the process of managing contracts from partners, customers, vendors, and/or employees. In the digital age, effective contract management is mostly achieved by utilizing robust and feature-rich contract management software.

In the most basic sense, a contract management software solution can be classified as a modern-day electronic version of a filing cabinet. Contract management software is a program or a suite of related programs designed to help businesses and organizations store and manage legal documents and agreements, from leases and licenses to contract agreements with vendors and clients.

One of the key roles of contract management software solutions is to streamline administrative tasks, making related processes more efficient—thus enhancing workflows and maximizing productivity for staff members and teams. It also helps to reduce overhead by delivering a single, cohesive platform for all company contracts and all the processes associated with them.

Contract management software supports the customer and contract lifecycle in its entirety, covering multiple processes and responsibilities, including obviously those that contribute, create, and utilize contract information.

An effective contract management process requires a reasonable understanding of every step in the creation, contribution, and utilization of contract data. A good contract management software solution allows you to achieve that with minimal investment, in terms of cost, training, and/or effort.

Types of Contract Management Software

When it comes to contract management software, there are multiple types of programs and applications available in the market. At the enterprise level, contract management solutions are capable of facilitating new contract requests, capturing accurate data associated with the contracts being processed, document authoring, contract creation, and contract negotiations.

Certain contract management solutions are also capable of following the entire lifecycle of the contract agreement as it goes through several processes, from the review phase all the way to the approval process. These tools provide accurate and up-to-date documentation for digital signatures as well as the execution of the contracts, including post-execution tracking and commitments management functions.

Contract lifecycle management (CLM) software solutions may also be categorized by the type of users they are specifically tailored to serve and the type of contracts they are designed to support. There are contract management software systems geared toward the legal industry—often utilized by attorneys and paralegals—and there are CLM solutions specifically developed for the procurement and sales operations industries.

These software systems support a wide range of contract types, including employment agreements, vendor contracts, enterprise contracts, sales contracts, procurement contracts, non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), and more.

Finally, there’s the deployment type of the software. Just like any other software solution, contract management software may come as an on-premise system or as a cloud-based or software as a service (SaaS) solution. Just like other software solutions, the main pros and cons of both types of deployment methods are associated with operational and maintenance costs, ease of use, security, and accessibility.

How to Choose Contract Management Software

Contract management software systems help businesses and organizations across different industries to manage and maintain legally binding contracts throughout the entire lifecycle, from the creation phase all the way to the re-negotiation stages down the road.

But, choosing the right contract management software for your business requires a substantial amount of research. The market is filled with all kinds of contract management solutions, therefore, finding an application that is just the right fit for your company when it comes to cost, features, and capabilities can be quite overwhelming.

There are a few factors you need to consider when choosing a contract management software solution. First and foremost, you have to figure out the purpose of the software solution you’re trying to acquire. Why do you need it? For what purpose do you need to buy contract management software? Do you even really need it at all?

Once you have a clear reasoning as to why you need a contract management software solution and how it can help facilitate your contract management needs, then you can begin your research into the different service providers, vendors, and the types of contract management software products they have to offer.

When learning about a software product and figuring out its features and capabilities, one component that can help you is a free trial. When you’re in the selection stages, taking advantage of a free trial period offers a great advantage in your journey of finding the contract management solution for your organization.

Getting to know the software product through a free trial version is the best way to get a clearer picture of how it will work and function within your organization before you decide to invest money in it. Free trial periods may vary, depending on the vendor or service provider. Some free trial periods will only last seven days, while others last 14 days or even up to a month.

While you or your team are testing out the product, be sure to pay closer attention to the features and tools that you will most likely be utilizing in your day-to-day operations. It’s better to find potential issues early on that find them later when you’ve already invested time, money, and effort on the product.

Finally, make sure to carefully study the service policy of the vendor prior to purchasing or signing up for a service subscription. You should know the product, as well as the vendor or service provider, inside and out before you commit to the purchase.

The key features you should look out for when considering a contract management software product includes approval management, compliance assurance, contract creation and automation, ad-hoc reporting, alerts and notifications, as well as seamless integration with existing software solutions like ERP, CRM, and accounting systems.

Benefits of Contract Management Software

Surely, there are tons of benefits to using contract management software. Otherwise, the platform wouldn’t be in such demand in today’s market. Nowadays, everything revolves around software products that help to improve efficiency, streamline workflows, increase productivity, and maximize revenue within an organization. Contract management software solutions are no exception.

A good contract management software solution can help boost efficiency in your day-to-day operations, as it can help minimize risks and save companies time, money, and effort trying to manage a plethora of contracts and agreements with vendors, partners, and clients.

Contract management software systems also serve as a secure storage facility for all your legally binding contracts. They are easily accessible, especially when it’s a cloud service, and very simple to organize. You will be able to find the right contract or agreement in no time.

Common Features of Contract Management

2-Factor Authentication Adds an additional layer of security by requiring an extra step in the login process. Usually external devices are required for this or a text message with a verification code is sent to the user when trying to login.
API Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.
Calendar Management Manage and update calendars for scheduling or consolidation of events across teams, departments or business functions.
Contact Management Manage large amounts of personal or business contacts in a centralized system.
Dashboard Dashboards are digital interfaces commonly used to visualise data or give quick access to important features and functions of online platforms. They often serve as an overview gateway in software applications.
Document Comparison Compare and contrast different versions of documents and browse revision histories to consolidate collaborative changes.
External Integrations Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.
File Sharing Share files with colleagues, customers or other stakeholders for easier access across platforms, collaboration and/or version control.
File Transfer Transfer large files to colleagues, customers or other stakeholders. This is often used for files too large to transfer via email and other conventional transmission methods.
Multi-User Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.
Notifications Includes notification support and sends you alerts with information on important events and other time sensitive instances. For example through push notifications on mobile phones or email notifications.
Scheduling Schedule tasks, resources, appointments, payments, communications, etc.
Third-Party Plugins/Add-Ons Offers additional features or integrations built by third-party developers in form of plugins or add-ons.

Latest User Reviews of Contract Management Products

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Liz Kayne
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"Great Sales Booster and Contact Manager"

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