How Document Management Makes Your Business More Efficient Part IV. Contract Management

Posted by Lauren Ford on Sep 22, 2014 1:32:07 PM
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Contract management is critical for any company, regardless of industry, because documented contracts provide a high level of certainty in business arrangements. Contracts contain the specific terms and conditions of an agreement to explain what is required by each participant, as well as policies, procedures, responsibilities and disciplinary code.

Managing business contracts involves effective communication between customers, vendors, business partners and employees. It is important to efficiently negotiate, support and manage contracts to ensure compliance with the written terms and conditions.

Simplify this process by freeing your company from paper-based contract processes. Implementing a document management solution can help your organization to gain greater visibility and control over contract management.

Managing contracts electronically with document management helps business entities to:

• Meet contractual requirements and obligations
• Avoid the risk and penalties from broken or incomplete contracts
• Create company specific contract regulations
• Digitally automate contract approval processes
• Log all contract modifications and approvals
• Assign company-wide polices for contract life-cycle management

From contract creation to expiration, advanced document management solutions can improve the efficiency and accuracy of contract management to avoid risks in business processes while ensuring all contractual requirements are met.

Creation

Document management users can reduce the amount of time it takes to create, execute and approve contracts by using web-based forms. Built-in, customizable design themes allow for the creation of company-specific contracts which can be completed remotely, via the web. Document management solutions also automatically retain all document history, including versioning and editing, so that administration can easily track all document activities. Further simplifying this paperless process, users can eliminate the need to print, sign and re-scan while adhering to government compliance regulations by applying electronic signatures.

Completion

It is important for organizations to provide well-executed contract management from the very beginning in order to efficiently complete a contract life-cycle. With document management software, users can streamline the negotiation, review and approval of contracts through automated document workflows. Once a contract is created and ready for review, an event-triggered workflow will automatically send notifications for a manager’s acknowledgement, signature or other future action. As previously mentioned, built-in audit trail functions will work to maintain authenticity of contract management with time and date records of each alteration made as a document completes its route.

Storage

Within GlobalSearch, contracts can be sorted by the date they were created, modified, completed or by customer name, customer number, etc. Users can even dedicate an entire archive within the system specific to contract management, with sub-folders for pending, sent and completed contracts. Paper contracts that are scanned into the document management repository can connect with stored electronic files pertaining to the corresponding contract participant, such as employee, customer or supplier. When contracts expire, record retention policies can inform personnel and launch new workflow processes to automatically discard or begin the route of contract renewal. Of course, not everyone should have access to these contractual agreements. The robust security of an electronic document repository provides permission-based user access so that only authorized employees may view certain contracts.

Retrieval

There may be occasions when what is agreed upon in a contract needs to be changed. Or, in the event of an issue between parties, a contract must be used to confirm the arrangement. With the proper permissions, an employee can easily retrieve a contract from the document database. This is very useful when ensuring that obligations are met on both sides to determine that the scope of work is fully met. Imaged files can be stored as fully-text searchable documents so that information can be immediately retrievable, regardless of file format. Plus, document versioning keeps original contracts digitally stored and easily available for reference, so that users can accurately track the entire life cycle of each document.

Maintaining efficient contract management can improve the credibility and profitability of an organization by meeting or exceeding client expectations. Without proper contract management, it would be very difficult to keep all processes relating to vendors, customers, partners and employees in line. GlobalSearch from Square 9 helps companies to efficiently manage contract creation, execution and analysis to maximize operational performance and minimize risk. In fact, GlobalSearch aims to improve all areas of business through innovative, electronic processes. To learn more, please visit the Square 9 Blog for the complete How Document Management Makes Your Business More Efficient blog series.

Topics: Web Forms, Document Management Software, Efficiency, Automation, Document Workflow, End User Experience, Enterprise Content Management, Contract Management, Capture