Contract Management Process

Make the Contract Management Process More Efficient with Less Risk

 

contract management process

Contract Management Process Issues Create Delays and Risk

Poor interdepartmental communication, confusion, missed deadlines, non-compliance, mistakes, risk exposure—you've probably experienced at least some of these issues with your contract management process. You're not alone. Organizations large and small, profit and non-profit, still use old school methods like email and paper to manage contracts. Whether contracts involve customers, vendors, partners, or employees, your organization needs a reliable system for contract management to avoid risk and improve financial performance.

Managing Contracts with Workflow Automation

Contract management, also known as "Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM)" is a cyclical process in most cases. That is to say, contracts are created, reviewed, approved, executed, renewed, and amended. Managing the workflow of this process can be automated with significant benefits:

  • Stakeholders are able to see where contract requests are anywhere in the process.
  • New or revised contracts that need immediate review and approval can be automatically fast-tracked.
  • Information collection can be standardized, including required fields/attachments to reduce back-and-forth.
  • A complete audit trail of the contract process is automatically generated in real-time.
  • Reporting and dashboards show vital activity data and where bottlenecks may be occurring.
 

contract management approval processHow Contract Management Systems Work

When used to manage the contract lifecycle, workflow automation platforms allow your team to design custom contract workflows that regulate the tasks involved in submitting, reviewing, collaborating on and, ultimately, approving contracts in a standardized way.

Capture

Start by using information capture forms, it's possible to capture documents and the contract metadata like dates, expirations, baselines, commitments, related documents, and other information about the contract itself that can be reported on or acted upon later.

Routing

Once contracts or requests are submitted, they can be routed to any individual or team in the organization based on business rules and form data. For instance, a contract could be routed based on an amount, a type, a customer, etc. Business rules built behind the scenes orchestrate the path of a contract throughout the process.

Alerts

Next, set up task alerts, reminders, and escalations ensure that contracts in the process move forward as rapidly as possible. For example:

  1. A contract is requested and an alert is sent to contract personnel.
  2. If that individual is unavailable due to illness, vacation, or another official reason, a backup is assigned.
  3. If no action is taken, a reminder is sent to the assigned personnel.
  4. If no action is taken after a certain amount of time, an alert is sent to a manager.

Contract Portal

By providing employees with a central portal for submitting, requesting, and tracking contracts, timeliness, and productivity are dramatically increased.

After implementing a workflow automation solution, the contract process becomes more streamlined. In some cases, approvals for contracts are received in a matter of hours, down from days or even weeks. Custom alerts and triggers ensure that anyone involved in the process is aware of their next task and when it's due. Redlines can be attached and sent back to the requestor for review

Minimizing Risk with Transparency and Accountability

If desired by the organization, anyone submitting the request for contract review or creation can visually track the entire path of the submitted documents and where they are in the contract process. Any stakeholders, including the requester, can receive alerts as the process moves from task to task. In addition, those with the appropriate access can comment during the process as needed and these comments are preserved in the audit trail.

All versions of documents and files (including images) reviewed and created during the contract process are stored permanently as part of the process record. This allows internal or external auditors to go back to any point in the process and see what document was part of any activity (submission, review, approval, authorization, etc.). This is a boon to internal corporate governance efforts.

Once the process is complete and the contract is finalized, it can be pushed into the organization's document management tool of choice for archival. Meanwhile, the entire task and activity history of the process is recorded and permanently available for an audit anytime.


Contract Management Process Diagram
A custom-built contract management process.

OUSD Automates Contract Approvals for Vendors


Contract Management Example: Oakland Unified School District

As part of Oakland Unified School District's accountability and quality priorities, it needed to automate certain manual tasks that were bogging down its staff in paperwork and manual follow-up. In search of a simpler way to initiate vendor contracts, approve companies that do work for the district, and ascertain the necessary approvals from various levels within the district administration, OUSD turned to Integrify for an automated request management solution.

Read the Full Case Study

Automate Any Contract Management Process

To see how quickly you can begin automating contract workflow and auditing, request a demonstration or trial of Integrify.


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