How to organize contract management systems


Key takeaways

  • Identify clear goals before planning your contract management system, to align its functionalities with your business needs.
  • Strategically navigate common pitfalls with the right data management practices adopted during system setup.
  • Regularly revise your system to align with evolving needs.
  • Pay close attention to industry best practices and common mistakes during system planning and implementation.
  • Use AI-powered tools to automate processes and customize the system.

About this guide

Contract management systems, in layman's terms, are comprehensive platforms that help businesses automate and streamline their contract lifecycle processes. Seemingly innocuous organizational hitches in these systems can snowball into substantial business risks due to missed deadlines, compliance issues, or unnoticed auto-renewal contracts. This article aims to empower you with a step-by-step guide to organize one effectively, helping you unlock maximum value from your contractual relationships.

1. Identify your goals

In order to organize your contract management system, it's paramount to start by identifying your core goals. The motives behind contract management can vary widely, from risk reduction, improving contract performance, enhancing productivity, to achieving supplier relationship transparency. You may also need a more robust system if your business deals with a large volume of complex contracts involving multiple stakeholders, necessitating a well-thought-out contract repository.

2. Plan your system

Once your goals are in place, start planning your organization system. This includes deciding on the key functionalities you wish your system to perform such as drafting contracts, enforcing compliance, managing negotiations, or tracking deadlines. It's also crucial to plan what data needs to be stored and tracked within your system. Remember, while designing this system, avoid common pitfalls such as failing to create clear data categorizations or falling into data silos. The right data management practices pay dividends by ensuring smooth contract lifecycle management.

3. Implement your organization system

Crafting a vague, theoretical plan isn't enough; it's time to implement it. There are myriad categories of software in the market that help companies enact their contract management systems, spanning from cloud-based platforms to digital contract analytics tools. A great option could be Skippet, a project and data management workspace that employs AI to customise and refine your contract management system based on your unique specifications. It keeps your standard asset formats, contract types and proprietary clauses in mind, mirroring your contracting processes to a T.

4. Maintain your organization system over time

Systems aren't static; they need regular upkeep and revision. Ensuring contracted processes match your evolving business needs is crucial. Updating contractual terms, revising old clauses or scaling the storage system, there are various ways to maintain your system over time.

Best practices and common mistakes

A well-organized contract management system can be a game-changer. Embracing best industry practices such as enforcing centralization, automating wherever possible, and regularly updating the repository can improve your contract management strategy manifold. But beware of common mistakes such as underestimating data security, overlooking training needs, or taking a one-size-fits-all approach. It's never late to course-correct, leverage your deep knowledge of data management to optimize your contract management system continually.

Example contract management system organization system

Consider the following real-world scenario. A multinational technology company with hundreds of highly intricate contracts deals with suppliers, partners, and clients. Spotting urgent contracts among a sea of records becomes an uphill task. In this case, comprehensively organized cloud-based contract management becomes instrumental.

Firstly, the system records all the crucial contract details such as type, duration, parties involved, key deliverables, and penalty clauses. With an effective system in place, any stakeholder can quickly locate a contract, review its status or key terms. 

The compliance officer can leverage the system to enforce legal and regulatory compliance. It would flag contracts nearing their expiration or the ones with risky clauses to ensure they are promptly reviewed and re-negotiated. Meanwhile, sales personnel can focus on their core competencies without bothering with deadlines due to automated reminders and renewal alerts.

Wrapping up

To recap, setting up an effective contract management system is not as intimidating as it seems. Begin by identifying your goals, planning your system around those goals, implementing your plans with appropriate software and tools, and maintaining your system over time. Adopting industry best practices, leveraging technological advancements wisely, and avoiding common mistakes can assist you on this journey. Try Skippet to use AI for effortlessly creating a personalized system reflective of your unique needs.

Frequently asked questions

How does a contract management system boost productivity?

The main advantage of a CMS is that it allows for streamlined tracking and managing of contracts, saving valuable time usually spent on manual job. This freed up time can then be used on core business tasks thus, boosting productivity.

Is it worth investing in a contract management system for small businesses?

Regardless of the scale of your operations, if your business handles contracts regularly, a CMS would be beneficial. It enhances visibility, accountability, and efficiency, justifying the investment.

What are the must-have features in a contract management system?

Must-have features would include contract storage, clause libraries, deadline or expiry alerts, compliance tracking, and search capabilities to quickly locate contracts or specific clauses.

How does AI factor into contract management systems?

AI in a CMS can automate manual tasks, predict potential risks in contracts, provide suggestions for clause inclusion or exclusion, and helps in creating a personalized system based on specific needs.

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