Contract Management System: An Introductory Guide

There’s a lot to learn when it comes to contract management systems, especially if you’re a beginner. When you’re working with contracts, you likely don’t have a lot of time or mental energy to devote to learning a new technology. We understand how complex the world of contract management systems can be. Here, we’re going to break down the basics and provide you with a solid foundation of best contract management practices.

And when you’re ready to dive in further, you can check out our in-depth contract management systems guide.

A contract management system supports contract lifecycle management on every level

If you’re just starting out with contract management, you might initially think that only a handful of steps are involved. But contracts actually have an extensive lifecycle with multiple stages. These stages include:

  • Drafting an initial contract
  • Collaborating with other key players on contracts to ensure compliance and review a contract’s language
  • Negotiating the initial draft’s terms and then revising the contract as necessary
  • Gaining approval of a final version of a contract
  • Getting the contracts signed
  • Storing the contracts in a well-organized system so you can retrieve them easily when needed
  • Tracking the performance of a contract to evaluate its profitability and determine whether adjustments should be made for the future
  • Renewing or not renewing a contract when it reaches the end of its lifecycle

With so many tasks involved in the lifecycle of a contract, it’s critical for multiple players to be able to easily and quickly get to and review the right contract at the right time. This is where a contract management system comes in.

Understanding the important role of a contract management system

A contract management system first and foremost a centralized, digital source of truth that contains all of a company’s contracts. And we mean all contracts, both your historic contracts, templates and incoming ones. 

But a contract management system is more than just secure storage. It allows you to manage the full lifecycle of each contract, from request to renewal.

This includes reviewing previously signed contracts, requesting and approving new contracts, gaining transparency to accelerate the contract process, getting them signed and more.

With the right contract management system, you can tend to each stage of a contract, all in a single, convenient place. 

Imagine this: All the key players can access contracts and metadata as needed, which improves visibility, moves contracts forward faster and ensures that contract terms are met.

An effective contract management system provides major wins

A simple, easy-to-use contract management system offers significant benefits for everyone involved in the contract management pipeline, and the company as a whole. Key advantages include:

  • Improving overall efficiency for managing contracts by eliminating cumbersome administrative tasks
  • Simple workflows that encourage streamlined collaboration across departments, freeing up everyone’s time to focus on more high-value work
  • Accurate tracking and reporting of a contract’s data and historical trends, enabling key players to make better-informed decisions about how to grow revenue and improve contract terms
  • Staying ahead of a contract’s upcoming renewal deadline with automated renewal alerts

Choosing a contract management system

Not all contract management systems are created equal. In fact, the wrong system might make the contract management process more difficult if it’s overly complicated and not user-friendly. Especially if they don’t have a responsive customer service team. 

Additionally, the type of contract management system you select should be based on your company’s unique needs and goals. However, there are some features that can benefit any type of organization:

  • Simplicity: A contract management system should simplify every single part of contract management. Simple is best.
  • Contract Migration: Often misconstrued as a bonus service, contract migration should be a must-have feature of your contract management system. It allows you to both easily migrate your legacy contracts and to add new, incoming contracts. Note: this isn’t a one-time project and make sure you aren’t doing all the work of tagging, data review, and organizing.
  • Contract Visibility and Access: By having all of your contracts in a centralized, digital repository, every key player can easily retrieve and review contracts (plus their metadata) in a few clicks. This includes having a searchable database where you can locate a contract and clearly see its status.
  • Accurate Reporting: If you’re going to evaluate each contract’s performance and make any contract-related decisions, having access to reliable, and accurate data is vital. (See Contract Migration!!) 
  •  A Library of Templates: Pre-formatted templates are a major time-saver, eliminating the need to create contracts from scratch every time.

Switching from manual contract management to Pramata’s digital contract management system

If a contract management system is asking you to revamp all your contract procedures, handle migration and setup on your own, and not make it easy for teams like sales to use, it’s going to be more work than it’s worth.

Transferring from a manual to a digital contract management system should be simple. And simple starts with effortless contract migration and digitization.

All you should have to do is upload your documents. From there, the system cleanses, OCRs, and organizes all of your contracts into an “intuitive relationship hierarchy” for you. It should also logically tag your contracts, allowing you to effortlessly search for and locate them in the system.

The system should also be user-friendly and backed by a responsive customer success team. Some contract management systems take years of training and setup (yes years!!), and folks still run into trouble because they’re just too complex.

Look for a contract management system that’s intuitive and only takes a few clicks to find what you need.

Read more in our in-depth contract management systems guide.

Make Contract Management Radically Simple With Pramata

We understand how intimidating it can be to explore contract management systems and evaluate whether they’re right for your organization. At Pramata, we aim to make this decision process—as well as contract management—as simple as possible.

With our user-friendly platform, you get all of your contracts in a centralized, digital repository. We include unlimited users, so all your key contract management players can easily view or request a contract in just a few clicks and streamline collaboration across departments.

Discover how to simplify your contract management by watching a brief demo today.

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