Avoid Legal Pitfalls: A Contract Review Checklist for Your Business

As a contract or procurement manager at a small to medium-sized company, you know firsthand the importance of handling a high volume of contracts. But with so much on your plate, it can be tempting to cut corners and just sign on the dotted line without thoroughly reviewing the terms and conditions. But here’s the thing: skimping on the contract review process can lead to serious legal issues down the road. Don’t risk the well-being and success of your business by neglecting this crucial step. Take the time to do a thorough contract review, and you’ll be protecting your company and setting yourself up for success in any business transaction.

Steps for a Thorough Contract Review

As someone who deals with contracts daily, you know that a thorough contract review is crucial for preventing legal issues and ensuring that a contract aligns with your business goals. But where do you start? Here are three key steps for conducting a thorough contract review:

Read the entire contract carefully

It’s important to take the time to read the entire contract from start to finish, rather than just skimming through it or focusing on a few key points. Pay attention to any unusual or vague language, as this may indicate an attempt to obscure important terms or obligations. Don’t be afraid to read the contract multiple times or to break it down into smaller chunks to make it more manageable.

It’s also helpful to have a checklist of key points to look out for as you’re reading, such as indemnification clauses, limitations of liability, and dispute resolution provisions. By reading the contract carefully, you’ll be better equipped to identify any potential issues or concerns and to fully understand your obligations under the contract.

Identify any potential legal issues

As you’re reading the contract, be on the lookout for clauses that could create liability or conflict with your business practices. This might include indemnification provisions, which could require you to pay for any damages or losses suffered by the other party, or provisions that limit your ability to terminate the contract. It’s also important to consider any regulations or laws that the contract may implicate, such as consumer protection laws or data privacy regulations.

If you’re unsure about any of the provisions in the contract, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or to seek the guidance of a legal professional. By identifying any potential legal issues early on, you’ll be better equipped to address them before signing the contract.

Consider the business implications of the contract

In addition to examining the legal aspects of the contract, it’s important to consider how the contract will impact your business. Will it achieve your business goals? Does it align with your business strategy? What is the potential financial impact of the contract? For example, is the contract profitable, or will it require significant resources to fulfill your obligations under the contract? You should also consider the long-term implications of the contract, such as whether it will create any ongoing obligations or whether it could potentially limit your ability to engage in future business opportunities. By considering the business implications of the contract, you can ensure that it is in the best interests of your company.

Tips for a Successful Contract Review

Once you’ve completed a thorough review of the contract, there are a few key tips to keep in mind to ensure a successful contract review process.

Involve a legal professional

While it’s important to do your own due diligence when reviewing a contract, involving a legal professional can provide valuable guidance and identify any potential legal issues that you may have missed. A lawyer can also help you understand the implications of different contract provisions and provide advice on negotiating any changes or clarifications that you may want to make. It’s worth considering whether the cost of involving a legal professional is worth the peace of mind and protection it can provide for your company.

Alternatively, consider seeking the guidance of a legal professional on a consultative basis rather than retaining them for the entire contract review process. This can be a more cost-effective option while still providing the benefits of legal expertise.

Take your time

It’s important to resist the temptation to rush through the contract review process, even if you’re under pressure to sign the contract quickly. Take the time to review and understand all provisions, as well as to consider the business and legal implications of the contract. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to seek clarification on any points that are unclear. It’s also a good idea to allow yourself plenty of time to review the contract, so you don’t feel rushed or overwhelmed.

By taking your time, you can ensure that you’re fully informed and confident in your decision to sign the contract.

Negotiate terms

Remember that a contract is a negotiation between two parties, and both sides should be willing to make concessions to reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial. If there are provisions in the contract that you disagree with or don’t understand, don’t be afraid to negotiate for changes or clarification. It’s important to be firm but reasonable in your negotiations, and to be prepared to compromise on certain points.

Consider what your priorities are and what you’re willing to give up in order to achieve them. By negotiating terms, you can help ensure that the contract aligns with your business goals and protects your company’s interests. It’s also a good idea to be proactive in the negotiation process rather than waiting for the other party to make the first move. This can help you take control of the negotiations and increase your chances of achieving a favorable outcome.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the contract review process is crucial for preventing legal issues and ensuring that a contract aligns with your business goals. By following a thorough checklist and involving legal professionals, businesses can protect themselves and set themselves up for success in any business transaction. It’s important to take the time to read the entire contract carefully, identify any potential legal issues, and consider the business implications of the contract. By doing so, you can protect your company and make informed, strategic decisions that benefit your business.

Remember, the contract review process is not a one-time event – it’s a continuous process that should be integrated into your business practices to ensure that all contracts align with your goals and comply with relevant laws and regulations.

5 Common Contract Management Risks and How to Avoid Them

Contrary to popular belief, contract management is not just a task for large corporations with extensive legal departments. In fact, small to medium-sized businesses may be at even greater risk of contract-related problems due to their limited resources and lack of in-house expertise.

As a contract manager or procurement manager, it is your responsibility to safeguard your company’s financial and legal interests by properly managing contracts, no matter the volume. Failing to prioritize contract management can have serious consequences, including lost profits, damaged business relationships, and even legal action.

However, by implementing effective contract management processes and using tools such as contract management software, you can mitigate these risks and protect your company’s interests.

It’s time to start treating contract management as the crucial function it is and equip yourself with the knowledge and tools necessary to mitigate the risks.

Risk #1: Miscommunication or Lack of Clarity in the Contract

Miscommunication or lack of clarity in a contract is a common risk that can lead to misunderstandings and disputes between parties. As a contract manager or procurement manager, it is crucial to ensure that the terms of the contract are clearly stated and easily understood by all parties involved. Ambiguity in language or miscommunication during the negotiation process can create confusion and lead to disputes down the line.

To avoid this risk, it is important to take steps to ensure clear communication throughout the contract process. One way to do this is to have a third party review the contract to ensure that the language is clear and easy to understand.

Additionally, including detailed definitions of key terms in the contract can help prevent misunderstandings and clarify the expectations of each party. By taking these precautions, you can help mitigate the risk of miscommunication and ensure that the contract is understood and followed by all parties.”

Risk #2: Unforeseen Changes in the Business Environment

Unforeseen changes in the business environment can pose a risk to the terms of a contract and can have significant impacts on a company. As a contract manager or procurement manager, it is important to anticipate and plan for potential changes that may occur during the lifespan of a contract. These changes could include shifts in the market or industry, changes to a company’s products or services, or changes to the company’s internal operations. If not properly addressed, these changes can affect the viability of a contract and potentially lead to disputes or legal issues.

To mitigate this risk, it is important to include clauses in the contract that allow for modifying the terms in case of changes to the business environment. Additionally, using a contract management software to track and update contracts can help ensure that all parties are aware of any changes and that the contract remains current.

By proactively anticipating potential changes, you can help protect your company’s interests and reduce the risk of issues arising from unforeseeable circumstances.

Risk #3: Non-Compliance with Contract Terms

Non-compliance with the terms of a contract can lead to a range of problems for businesses, including legal issues and damage to business relationships. As a contract manager or procurement manager, it is important to ensure that all parties involved in the contract are adhering to their obligations and meeting the agreed-upon terms. Failure to do so can have serious consequences and can potentially jeopardize the entire contract.

To avoid non-compliance and the risks it poses, it is important to take proactive steps to ensure that all parties are meeting their obligations. Setting reminders for important deadlines and regularly reviewing the contract can help ensure that all parties meet their commitments. 

Additionally, consider implementing a contract management system or using software to track and monitor the performance of all parties under the contract. By staying vigilant and taking proactive steps to ensure compliance, you can help protect your company’s interests and mitigate the risks of non-compliance.

Risk #4: Lack of Proper Contract Management Systems

A lack of proper contract management systems can lead to a range of problems for businesses, including lost or mismanaged contracts and missed opportunities. As a contract manager or procurement manager, it is important to have effective processes in place to manage and track contracts throughout their lifecycle.

Poor contract management can result in contracts being misplaced or forgotten, leading to missed deadlines and unfulfilled obligations. It can also lead to missed opportunities for your company, such as failing to renew a contract before it expires or missing out on new business due to disorganized processes.

To avoid these risks and streamline your contract management processes, consider implementing a contract management software or system. These tools can help organize and store contracts in a central location, track important deadlines, and automate routine tasks. By investing in a contract management system, you can help ensure that all contracts are easily accessible and properly managed, reducing the risks of lost or mismanaged contracts and missed opportunities.

Risk #5: Cybersecurity Threats

Cybersecurity threats are a growing concern for businesses of all sizes, and contracts are no exception. Hackers can target contracts in an effort to steal sensitive information or disrupt business operations.

As a contract manager or procurement manager, it is important to be aware of the risks that cybersecurity threats pose to your company’s contracts and take steps to protect against them. This can include using secure servers for storing contracts, regularly updating cybersecurity measures, and educating employees about best practices for protecting sensitive information. 

By being proactive and taking the necessary precautions, you can help safeguard your company’s contracts and reduce the risk of cybersecurity breaches. In an increasingly digital world, it is more important than ever to prioritize cybersecurity and protect your company’s interests from online threats.

Conclusion

In conclusion, proper contract management is essential for businesses of all sizes. By implementing effective contract management processes and using tools such as contract management software, companies can mitigate the risks associated with contract management, including miscommunication or lack of clarity in the contract, unforeseen changes in the business environment, non-compliance with contract terms, lack of proper contract management systems, and cybersecurity threats.

As a contract manager or procurement manager, it is your responsibility to prioritize contract management and take the necessary steps to protect your company’s interests. By doing so, you can reduce the risks of contract-related problems and ensure the success of your business. 

Remember, proper contract management is not just a task for large corporations with extensive legal departments – it is crucial for businesses of all sizes to prioritize contract management to safeguard their financial and legal interests.”

Contract Management Process: Definition, Features & Functions

Contract management is the process of keeping track of agreements from the time they are made to the time they are carried out by the chosen party to the time they are no longer valid. Contract management includes analyzing performance against the terms of a contract to improve operational and financial performance, as well as reducing financial and reputational risks that could come from not following through with contractual obligations.

Key activities in contract management include tracking deadlines and milestones, flagging potential risks, securely storing, organizing, and retrieving all contracts, and generating reports. The main features/functions of contract management software include creating, storing, and managing contracts; tracking who has access to each document; generating PDFs or XLS files for electronic signatures; exporting data into other formats; importing data from other sources; managing permissions levels; and more.

When choosing a contract management solution, it’s important to consider your needs and budget as well as features like ease of use, integration capabilities, security, scalability, etc. Some popular contract management solutions on the market today include Adobe Sign (formerly Acrobat Sign), DocuSign CLM (formerly Clarify Legal Documents), IBM EmptorisCLM (formerly Sterling Software Solutions), Oracle Contract Management Cloud Service (formerly SunGard Contract Management Suite), SAP ParaView (formerly Sybase Central Contracts).

What are the benefits of an effective contract management process?

Contract management can help improve operational and financial performance. By tracking and managing contract commitments, businesses can ensure that they are meeting their obligations and avoiding any potential financial or reputational risks.

Additionally, contract management can help to ensure that agreements are carried out as intended by ensuring communication between all parties involved is effective. Contract management can also help to streamline the process of making changes to an agreement – ensuring that all relevant information is readily available for both parties to review.

In summary, effective contract management can provide many benefits for businesses in terms of improved operational efficiency and risk mitigation.

A repeatable and standardized process for contract preparation, negotiation, and implementation

The benefits of a documented and formalized process to prepare, negotiate and implement contracts span through a variety of business areas, including:

  1. Improved efficiency and productivity – A formalized contract management process can help to improve the efficiency and productivity of an organization by providing a clear and standardized framework within which contract-related activities can be carried out. This can help to reduce the time and resources required to complete each stage of the contract management process, as well as helping to ensure that all relevant parties are aware of their responsibilities and deadlines.
  2. Eliminate ambiguity and confusion – Having a clear and concise contract management process can help to eliminate ambiguity and confusion surrounding the roles and responsibilities of each party involved in the contract. This can help to ensure that all parties are aware of their obligations under the agreement and can help to prevent any misunderstandings or disagreements from arising.
  3. Improved communication – A formalized contract management process can help to improve communication between all parties involved in the contract. This can help to ensure that all relevant information is shared in a timely and efficient manner and can help to prevent any misunderstandings or miscommunications from occurring.
  4. Improved decision-making – A formalized contract management process can help to improve decision-making by providing a clear and structured framework within which decisions can be made. This can help to ensure that decisions are made in a timely and efficient manner and can help to prevent any delays or costly mistakes from occurring.

Lower operating costs due to process optimization

When it comes to contract management, process optimization can be a huge help in keeping operating costs down. By streamlining the process and making sure that everything runs smoothly, you can avoid delays and mistakes that can end up costing your business money.

In addition, taking the time to optimize your contract management process can save you time and resources in the long run, making it well worth the effort.

Reduced risk with the use of contract management software

When it comes to risk management, one of the most important things that businesses can do is to have a good contract management process in place. This is where contract management software comes in, as it can help to automate and streamline the process, making it more efficient and effective.

There are a number of benefits that come with using contract management software, one of which is reduced risk. With all of your contracts in one centralized location, and with features such as alerts and reminders, you can be confident that nothing will slip through the cracks. You’ll always be aware of upcoming deadlines, and you’ll never have to worry about losing track of an important contract.

Faster execution of contract management-related tasks

As we’ve already seen, contract management software can help to automate and streamline the process, making it more efficient and effective. This can lead to faster execution of contract management-related tasks, as there will be no need for manual input or tracking.

This can free up your time so that you can focus on more important things, and it can also help to improve communication and collaboration between all parties involved.

Reduced reliance on legal department oversight

As businesses move away from traditional models of centralized control, they are increasingly relying on contract management processes to help them govern their affairs. This shift has a number of benefits, chief among them being reduced reliance on the oversight of the legal department.

In a traditional business model, the legal department is responsible for reviewing and approving all contracts before they are executed. This process can be time-consuming and expensive, as attorneys must review each document for compliance with company policy and applicable law.

However, by using a contract management system, businesses can reduce their reliance on the legal department and instead have employees self-manage their contracts. This can save the company time and money, as well as improve employee productivity.

Improved supplier relationship management

The contract management process is a critical function for any organization that relies on outside suppliers. An effective contract management system can help you streamline your procurement process, improve communication with suppliers, and ensure compliance with contractual terms.

A well-managed contract management system will give you visibility into your organization’s spending, help you negotiate better deals with suppliers, and make it easier to track and manage supplier performance.

In short, an effective contract management system is an essential tool for any organization that wants to optimize its use of external suppliers.

The 5 steps of an effective contract management process

A well-defined contract management process allows for the successful and timely execution of contracts while ensuring compliance with all relevant legal requirements.

A formalized contract management process involves the following five steps:

Step 1:  Defining the contractual obligations of both parties

In any contract, it is essential to first identify the roles and responsibilities of each party involved. In other words, what each party agrees to do (or not do) under the terms of the contract. This helps to ensure that both parties are clear on their obligations and can avoid any misunderstandings or disputes down the road.

To do this, start by creating a list of all the deliverables that need to be met under the contract. These could be products, services, or outcomes.

Both parties should agree on this list of deliverables and sign off on it before work begins. This will help ensure that everyone is clear on what needs to be delivered, by when, and how.

If there are any specific requirements for each deliverable (e.g., quality standards), make sure to include these in the contract as well. This will help avoid any misunderstandings or disputes down the line.

Step 2: Negotiating the terms of the contract

In the second stage of the contract management process, the parties involved negotiate the terms of the contract. This usually happens after both sides have agreed on a basic framework for the agreement and are ready to discuss specific details.

The negotiation process can be complex, and it is often helpful to have a lawyer or other professional help with this step. During negotiations, each side will try to get the best possible deal for itself, so it is important to be prepared before starting talks.

There are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind when negotiating the terms of a contract:

  1. Make sure both parties are happy with the agreement. It’s important that both sides are satisfied with the final outcome of negotiations. If one party is not content, it could lead to conflict down the road.
  2. Be clear about what each side is responsible for. Each party should know its roles and responsibilities within the contract. This will help avoid any confusion or misunderstanding later on.
  3. Put everything in writing. Once you’ve verbally agreed upon the terms of the contract with the other party, it’s important to get everything in writing. This will help to avoid any misunderstandings or discrepancies later on.

Step 3: Drafting the contract

After you’ve identified the key terms and conditions of your agreement, it’s time to start drafting the contract. This is where you’ll put all of your agreed-upon terms into a legally binding document.

If you’re working with an attorney or using a contract management software, this step will be fairly straightforward. However, if you’re drafting the contract yourself, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, make sure that all of the essential elements of a contract are included in the document. These would include, but are not limited to:

  • The names of the parties involved in the contract
  • A description of the services being provided
  • The duration of the contract
  • The payment terms
  • Any other relevant details

Once you have all of this information, you can start drafting the actual document. If you’re not sure how to format a contract, there are plenty of templates and examples available online. Just make sure that all of the information that you have gathered in the previous steps is included.

Once you have everything drafted, it’s time to move on to the second last step in the contract management process: approving the contract.

Step 4: Approving the contract

The second last step in the contract management process is approving the contract. Once all of the negotiation and paperwork are complete, both parties will need to sign off on the agreement. This step is important to ensure that both parties are happy with the terms of the contract. After all, a contract is only binding if both parties agree to it!

Once the contract is signed, it’s time for the final step in the contract management process: implementing the agreement.

Step 5: Executing and monitoring the contract

After the contract is signed, it’s time to start executing it. This step involves putting all of the agreed-upon terms and conditions into action. It also includes monitoring the contract to ensure that both parties are upholding their end of the bargain.

If any problems or issues arise during the execution and monitoring stage of the contract, they will need to be addressed and resolved as quickly as possible. After all, a successful contract is one that is executed smoothly and efficiently with no hiccups along the way.

In order to ensure that the contract is executed successfully, it is important to have a system in place for addressing and resolving any issues that may arise. This system should include clear procedures for escalated communication and decision-making in order to resolve problems quickly and efficiently.

Conclusion

As we have seen, when a company takes the time to develop and implement a solid contract management process, it can reap many benefits. A well-managed contract portfolio can help a company save money, improve efficiency, and mitigate risks.

Furthermore, a good contract management system can provide visibility into performance and enable better decision-making.

The Beginner’s Guide to Procurement Contract Management Best Practices

Procurement contract management is the process of managing the procurement contracts between an organization and its suppliers. It includes all aspects of the contract lifecycle, from supplier selection to contract execution. By following the best practices in procurement management, you can ensure that your contracts are executed flawlessly.

Key Aspects of a Procurement Contract

The procurement management process is the set of activities and procedures that are followed to manage procurement contracts effectively. A procurement contract includes the following:

Statement of Work (SOW)

The SOW defines the scope of work to be performed by the supplier and sets forth the expectations for quality, quantity, delivery, and performance. A well-defined scope of work is essential to ensuring that both the buyer and supplier are clear on the expectations and deliverables of the contract.

Cost Estimators

A procurement contract’s pricing terms define the price you will pay for the goods or services being procured. Inaccurate cost estimates can lead to problems, such as cost overruns or unanticipated expenses. Use experienced cost estimators who are familiar with the particular procurement process and can provide accurate estimates.

Additionally, you must define the payment terms of a procurement contract and when and how you will make payments to the supplier throughout the contract duration.

Contract Lifecycle Management

The contract lifecycle includes all contract phases, from procurement to execution to close-out. Therefore, procurement management requires the contract lifecycle to be managed effectively to avoid problems or delays. This is done by defining clear roles and responsibilities for each contract stage and setting up milestones and deliverables.

Supplier Performance Management

Supplier performance management is the process of assessing supplier performance against the agreed-upon terms and conditions of the contract. This includes monitoring supplier performance, evaluating supplier compliance with the contract, and taking corrective action when necessary.

Supplier Risk Management

Supplier risk management is the process of identifying and mitigating risks associated with supplier contracts. This includes assessing supplier financial stability, analyzing supplier performance data, and conducting periodic audits of supplier facilities. The procurement department should have a supplier risk management plan to address supplier risks effectively.

Effective Communication

The purchasing department should establish clear lines of communication with the supplier and other stakeholders, such as the legal department, to avoid misunderstandings or miscommunication. This will ensure that all stakeholders are kept up-to-date on the status of the procurement process and any changes or updates that may occur.

Documentation

Documentation is a critical part of procurement management. For example, all correspondence between the buyer and supplier should be documented, and all changes or amendments to the contract. Detailed records will help to avoid disputes later on and will be useful if a contract needs to be terminated. In addition, all relevant documentation should be archived for future reference.

Contract Close-Out

Following up with the supplier after the contract has been executed is essential to ensure that all terms and conditions have been met. You should conduct a post-contract supplier performance review and resolve any outstanding issues. Once all deliverables have been received, and the supplier has fulfilled all contractual obligations, the contract can be closed.

The Procurement Contract Management Process

The procurement contract management process consists of four main stages: planning, contract negotiation, contract execution, and contract termination.

Contract planning

This stage of procurement involves identifying the organization’s needs, selecting the right suppliers, and drafting the contract. This process is important in order to ensure that the organization gets the best value for its products and services. By taking the time to carefully plan out the procurement process, organizations can save money and avoid potential problems down the road.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when planning for a procurement contract:

  1. Make sure you understand the organization’s needs. What products or services does the organization need? How many of each do they need? When do they need them? Answering these questions will help you create a request for proposal (RFP) that accurately reflects the organization’s needs.

  2. Once you have a good understanding of the organization’s needs, do your research to find the best possible vendors and contracts that will meet those needs. This may involve looking at multiple options and comparing prices, terms, and conditions. Once you’ve identified the best option, work with the vendor to finalize the details of the contract.

  3. Develop a clear and concise statement of work. The statement of work should be the foundation of the entire contract, so it’s important to get it right. Make sure you include all the necessary details and avoid ambiguity.

  4. Create a timeline for the project. Having a timeline in place will help ensure that both parties are on track and that deadlines are met. It will also help avoid potential disputes down the road. 

  5. It is important to clearly define roles and responsibilities for all team members involved in the procurement process. This will help ensure that everyone understands their role and how they contribute to the overall success of the project. Furthermore, clear roles and responsibilities will also help to avoid any potential conflict or duplication of effort.

Contract negotiation

In this stage, the organization and the supplier negotiate the terms and conditions of the contract. The negotiation process can be complex, and it is important to have a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve before beginning negotiations. When it comes to negotiating a contract, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, there are some best practices that can help you ensure a successful outcome. Every organization is different, so it’s important to tailor your negotiation strategy to the specific needs of your company. Some general tips for successful contract negotiation include:

  1. Define your objectives and priorities upfront. What are you trying to achieve with this contract? Make sure everyone involved in the negotiation process is on the same page in terms of what you’re hoping to accomplish.

  2. Do your homework. Know as much as you can about the other party before entering into negotiations. The more information you have, the better equipped you’ll be to make smart decisions during the negotiation process.

  3. Be prepared to walk away from the table. If negotiations aren’t going well, don’t be afraid to walk away and reassess your options. Sometimes, breaking off negotiations can be the best way to get what you want in the end.

  4. Focus on creating a win-win situation. While it’s important to advocate for your own interests, try not to do so at the expense of the other party’s interests entirely. Ultimately, both sides should feel like they’ve gotten something out of the deal in order for it to be successful long-term.

Contract execution

At this stage, you will be responsible for executing the contract and monitoring the supplier’s performance. This includes ensuring that the supplier meets all their contractual obligations, as well as assessing their performance against agreed targets and milestones.

In order to ensure a smooth and successful contract execution, it is important to maintain close communication with your supplier. If any issues do arise during the process, you will need to work with the supplier to resolve them in a timely and efficient manner.

Contract termination

There are a few different ways that you can go about terminating a contract. If you want to cancel the contract entirely, you will need to follow the steps laid out in the termination clause. 

This usually involves giving written notice to the other party and following any specific procedures that are listed in the clause. If you only want to end part of the contract, you can do so by negotiating with the other party and coming to an agreement on which parts of the contract will be terminated. You will then need to draw up a new contract that outlines the changes that have been made.

Finally, if you are having difficulty working with the other party or they have breached the contract, you may be able to terminate the contract on those grounds.

The Anatomy of the Perfect Procurement Contract Management System

A procurement management system can help organizations effectively manage their procurement contracts. By automating the procurement process, these systems can improve accuracy and efficiency while reducing costs. The perfect procurement management system should include the following features:

Contract repository: A central repository for all procurement contracts, which allows easy access and searchability.

Contract drafting: A tool for drafting procurement contracts, including templates and clauses one can customize.

Cost estimator: A tool that allows users to generate accurate cost estimates for their procurement contracts.

Contract lifecycle management: A system for managing the contract lifecycle, from procurement to close-out. This includes contract monitoring, performance management, and risk management.

Communications: A communications tool that allows procurement teams to collaborate on contracts and share updates with stakeholders.

Reporting: A reporting tool that generates reports on procurement contract activity, including spending, supplier performance, and contract compliance.

Archiving: A system for archiving procurement contracts and associated documentation for easy retrieval and reference.

Procurement management systems can help organizations streamline their procurement process and improve contract management by including these features.

The Anatomy of the Perfect Procurement Contract Strategy

An effective procurement management strategy should consider the organization’s specific needs and the procurement process. It would be best if you designed the procurement contract strategy to achieve the following objectives:

Reduce procurement costs: The procurement contract strategy should aim to reduce costs by negotiating better terms with suppliers and using cost-effective procurement methods.

Improve accuracy and efficiency: The procurement contract strategy should improve accuracy and efficiency in the procurement process by automating repetitive tasks and using data-driven decision-making.

Mitigate risk: The procurement contract strategy should aim to mitigate risk throughout the procurement process by identifying and managing risks associated with each stage of the contract lifecycle.

Improve supplier performance: The procurement contract strategy should improve supplier performance by setting clear expectations and monitoring supplier performance against those expectations.

Increase transparency: The procurement contract strategy should aim to increase transparency in the procurement process by sharing information and updates with stakeholders regularly.

Increase compliance: The procurement contract strategy should aim to increase compliance with procurement regulations and policies by implementing controls and monitoring compliance on an ongoing basis.

By considering these objectives, organizations can develop a procurement management strategy that meets their specific needs.

Procurement Contract Management Best Practices

There are a few key procurement contract management best practices that every organization should consider when developing its strategy. These best practices include:

Engage Vendors

Engaging vendors early in the procurement process is important to get the best terms and conditions possible. This includes setting clear expectations, communicating regularly, and providing feedback on supplier performance. It also allows for better supplier performance management, as one can monitor supplier performance from the outset.

Integrate Procurement Processes

By integrating your procurement processes with your other business systems, such as finance and accounting, you can streamline and automate the entire process while reducing the risk of errors. This saves time and money while also improving efficiency and compliance. It also allows you to optimize your workflow.

Prioritize Transparency across the Organization

Transparency is key to maintaining trust between the organization and its stakeholders. It also allows for better communication and collaboration between different teams. To increase transparency, it is important to share information and updates regularly. This way, everyone is on the same page and knows what is happening with the procurement process.

Assigning Roles and Responsibilities

This process includes defining who will be responsible for each stage, from supplier selection to contract execution. By clearly defining roles and responsibilities, you can ensure that everyone knows their part in the process and that it runs smoothly. It also increases the accountability level within the organization.

Benefits of Contract Management in Procurement

There are many benefits of contract management in procurement. These benefits include:

Reduce Business Risk

Contract management can help reduce business risk by identifying and managing risks associated with the procurement process. This includes risks related to supplier performance, contract compliance, and the overall health of the supplier relationship. By reducing risk, organizations can save time and money while protecting their reputations.

Additionally, contract management can help improve supplier performance by setting clear expectations and monitoring supplier performance against those expectations. This allows organizations to identify issues early on and take corrective action if necessary.

Increased Compliance

Organizations can use contract management to increase compliance with procurement regulations and policies. They can do this by implementing controls and monitoring compliance on an ongoing basis. Organizations can avoid penalties and fines by improving compliance while protecting their reputations.

In addition, regular supplier performance reviews can help to identify areas where supplier compliance is lacking and take corrective action to improve supplier performance.

Faster contract review and execution

Organizations can save time and money by automating the contract review and approval process while reducing the risk of errors. Additionally, automating the contract execution process can help to ensure that contracts are executed accurately and on time. Finally, you can integrate your procurement system with your organization’s other business systems.

Conclusion

The procurement contract management best practices discussed above can help organizations save money, improve supplier relations, and increase compliance. Additionally, these best practices can help to streamline the procurement process and improve decision-making.

6 Highly Effective Vendor Management Best Practices To Adopt Right Now

Effective vendor management is critical to the success of any organization. In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business environment, organizations must rely on multiple vendors to help them complete specific tasks and meet their goals.

However, managing vendors can be challenging, as several hurdles exist when working with vendors, including contractual disputes, performance evaluations, compliance policies, quality issues, payment terms, and delivery delays.

To help you navigate the challenges of vendor management, we’ve compiled a list of the top vendor management best practices that you should adopt right now.

What is Vendor Management?

At its core, vendor management involves finding vendors and managing the relationships between your organization and its suppliers (vendors).

The goal of vendor management is to establish a framework for payment, governance, and communication between both parties to ensure that vendors meet their contractual obligations.

Six Vendor Management Best Practices for Every Business

To effectively manage vendors, your business must clearly understand its goals and objectives. Regardless of the size of your business or the number of vendors you plan to partner with, we recommend following these six best practices for vendor management.

#1 – Establish a Vendor Management Policy

A vendor management policy is a critical strategic component for businesses that plan to outsource work to suppliers. The goal of a vendor management policy is to identify and establish a set of best practices when searching for and working with different vendors.

Creating a vendor management policy gives your business a roadmap that outlines how it should assess potential vendors, determine contractual terms, and manage relationships.

Some of the aspects your business should consider when defining a vendor management policy include the following components:

  1. Vendor liability in the event of a data breach
  2. Termination of contract
  3. Change management procedures
  4. The frequency of vendor performance reviews

A vendor management policy should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that it aligns with the organization’s current goals and objectives.

#2 – Set up a Clear Vendor Contract Management Process

Managing vendor contracts is essential to ensuring suppliers execute their end of the contract. An effective vendor contact management process helps your business minimize delays and operational risks while maximizing performance.

The vendor contract management process involves creating service-level agreements, reviewing performance, and defining the terms of the contract. To set up an effective contract management process, your business should:

  1. Have a clear understanding of what it is trying to achieve with the contract
  2. Define the roles and responsibilities of each party in the contract
  3. Set clear expectations for both parties
  4. Continually monitor vendor performance

Contract termination and renewal are overlooked parts of the contract management process. Defining successful parameters in advance will help your business determine which contracts to extend and which contracts need to stop.

#3 – Develop Effective Vendor Contracts

An effective vendor contract protects your business from legal liabilities and costly mistakes, helping you mitigate risks when outsourcing work.

Developing an effective vendor contract lets your business define the scope of work, establish a dispute resolution process, and determine the budget, payment terms, and project timeline.

To ensure that businesses are creating and renewing effective vendor contracts with high-quality vendors, each contract should:

  1. Contain clear and concise terminology
  2. Include all the necessary details
  3. Define the roles and responsibilities of each party in the contract
  4. Outline KPIs and performance metrics

A well-planned vendor contract is worth its weight in gold and can save your business time, money, and headaches in the future.

#4 – Define and Monitor Vendor KPI Tracking

Vendor KPIs are performance metrics that your business can use to measure the success of its vendor relationships. By tracking vendor KPIs, your business can identify areas where vendors are excelling and areas where they need improvement.

To get started, you must identify and establish KPIs in each contract with vendors to streamline performance analysis, address issues, and prevent problems from escalating.

There are a few different things you should keep in mind when tracking vendor KPIs, such as:

  1. Defining what metrics to track
  2. Assigning a team member to track the KPIs
  3. Determining the frequency of reports

Creating a system for tracking vendor KPIs can help your business improve the overall performance of its vendors and ensure that all vendors perform up to the standard defined in the contract.

#5 – Assess Vendor Risks

Vendor risk assessment is a process used to identify, assess, and mitigate risks for your businesses as you work with different vendors. Vendor risk assessments can help your business limit liability and avoid unnecessary risks.

Assessing the risks associated with different vendors is a vital part of vendor management. When assessing vendor risk, businesses should consider the following criteria:

  1. The likelihood of a problem occurring
  2. The type of information security system that the vendor has in place
  3. The training and security knowledge of vendor’s employees
  4. The quality of the vendor’s incident response plan
  5. The storage and encryption of data
  6. The physical security of the vendor’s premises

By assessing the risks associated with different vendors, your business can make more informed decisions about which vendors to use and how to mitigate any risks.

#6 – Outline Vendor Payment Terms

Vendor payment terms are the conditions that define the payment structure for the contract. Vendor payment terms can include things like the method of payment, the due date, discounts, and late fees.

Your business needs to establish clear and concise payment terms with vendors to avoid misunderstandings and disputes down the road. If your business doesn’t pay its bills on time, vendors may feel like they are not a priority, leading to vendors cutting corners or terminating the contract entirely.

To avoid these problems, businesses should:

  1. Set up a process for submitting invoices
  2. Designate someone to be responsible for paying invoices
  3. Ensure that invoices payments occur on time
  4. Track payments and follow up with vendors if there are any issues

Ensure that your business establishes vendor payment procedures to avoid delays and maintain a happy relationship between your business and your vendors.

Final Thoughts

No matter the size of your business, vendor management is a critical process that needs your full attention. Effective vendor management helps you identify potential risks, assess vendor performance, and ensure that your business generates the most bang for its buck.

When developing a vendor management policy, businesses should consider their business goals and objectives. Setting up vendor management guidelines lets you create a framework that outlines how to assess vendors, manage contracts, and track KPIs, which will help businesses select and work with high-quality vendors.

A well-executed vendor management policy is a critical strategic component for businesses planning their future. By following the best practices outlined in this article, your business can set itself up for success when working with different vendors.

Clarifying The Differences Between Digital Signature and Electronic Signature

As businesses embrace the paperless trend and shift towards virtual documents, the need for an effective electronic signature process continues to rise. The two most common types of signatures are electronic signatures and digital signatures.

Although both types of signatures help verify the signing parties, there are some noteworthy distinctions found in the characteristics and security of each.

 

Characteristics of Electronic Signatures

Electronic signatures are a quick and cost-effective way to sign documents remotely. As the use of electronic signatures rises, so do the characteristics and the number of features they provide.

Simple electronic signature software allows users to input their names electronically using a touchpad, stylus, or mouse. The software will then transform the writing into an electronic signature and attach it to the document file.

More advanced electronic signature software will, in addition, trace user interaction and create a signing log of the signature process including e.g. the email address, name, date and signature, IP address during signing, time and date of the signature as well as the hash code of the signed document to improve traceability and security.

As a result of the ESign act of 2000, all electronic signatures are legally binding in many countries and can even act as evidence in court.

Electronic signatures streamline the process of finalizing administrative changes, authorizing invoices, and accepting deliveries. Electronic signatures work for any document, including PDFs, Word documents, and Excel spreadsheets.

 

Characteristics of Digital Signatures

Digital signatures are a type of signature built through an RSA algorithm that creates unique components, Public Key Infrastructure, and a Certificate Authority to verify the signer. 

Unlike an electronic signature which is a simple image, there are multiple components of a digital signature. First and foremost are the public and private keys. The private key is unique and is distributed only to the signer. The public key can be given to anyone and is used to verify that the signature was created using the corresponding private key.

A hash algorithm is another main component of a digital signature, as it produces a unique code or fingerprint called a digest that corresponds to the digital document. After creation, the digest is encrypted with the private key to create the digital signature.

Once encrypted, the digital signature is then appended to the document and can be verified using the public key. The detailed verification process and multiple components ensure that the original document has not been tampered with and that the signature belongs to the signer.

Another essential characteristic of all digital signatures is the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). The Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is a system that issues, validates, and revokes digital certificates.

The final characteristic to be aware of is a Certificate Authority (CA). A Certificate Authority is a third-party organization that validates the signer’s identity and distributes the public key, private key, and digital document used to create the digital signature.

 

Differences Between an Electronic Signature and a Digital Signature

Overall, both signature types have the same purpose: to provide a secure and legal way to sign documents remotely. However, the two main differences come in their uses and infrastructure.

Uses Cases

Electronic signatures are used for documents that require a lower level of security. While the signature is legally binding, there should be a level of trust established between the two parties.

Digital signatures instantly create verifiable relationships between two parties anywhere in the world and provide an even higher level of security.

Infrastructure

The other main difference is how each signature works. Electronic signatures are rudimentary and only scan an image of your physical or digital signature before placing it on the document. While this method is quick, it is vulnerable to forgery.

Digital signatures, on the other hand, rely on complex mathematical algorithms to create a unique code that corresponds to the document.

 

Which is More Secure – an Electronic Signature or a Digital Signature?

Digital signatures use public key cryptography, also known as asymmetric cryptography. With asymmetric cryptography, two keys are involved in the signature process – a private key known only to the signer and a public key made available to anyone.

The private key is combined with a document and hash algorithm to generate the digital signature, and the public key is used to access and verify it. Asymmetric cryptography provides a higher level of security, as it would be challenging for someone to forge a digital signature without access to the signer’s private key.

In contrast, electronic signatures don’t use cryptography and certificates. Electronic signatures are a substitute for handwritten signatures and primarily serve as a demonstration of intent to create a legally binding relationship during an electronic transaction instead of functioning as a method to secure a document’s integrity and prevent its tampering.

 

Benefits of Digital Signatures

Digital signatures offer several great benefits, including:

Data Integrity

Digital signatures verify a signer’s identity and origin. Verifying data integrity makes digital signatures much more secure than electronic signatures, as they are linked to an authorized digital certificate.

Authentication

Digital signatures use authentication protocols to verify the identity of the signer. Each digital signature contains keys distributed by PKI and CA’s that authorize the signer and creates the digital signature.

Non-Repudiation

Non-repudiation is another benefit of digital signatures. With non-repudiation, signers cannot later deny having signed the document. Non-repudiation acts as proof because the private key used to generate the signature is traceable back to the signer.

 

Drawbacks of Digital Signatures

The primary drawback of digital signatures is that they are limited to a single digital document. Each digital signature binds to a unique online document, hash algorithm, private key, and public key. 

Another drawback of digital signatures is that they are significantly more complex and can take longer to create than electronic signatures. There are multiple steps in creating a digital signature and waiting on a Certificate Authority to verify the signature can be a slow process.

 

Benefits of Electronic Signatures

Electronic signatures offer several great benefits, including:

Convenience

Electronic signatures are very convenient, making them a suitable choice for busy individuals. They require no extra steps on the singer’s part, and the signer can complete the document using any device they choose.

Legally Binding

All electronic signatures are legally binding, making them ideal when you are drawing up a contract and need a quick and legally binding way to sign the document.

Better Work Experience

Electronic signatures make it easy to sign documents and track the status of signings, which can save a lot of time and hassle for businesses that do a lot of electronic filing.

 

What are the Biggest Problems with Electronic Signatures?

While electronic signatures are convenient and legally binding, they have some drawbacks.

Hard to Verify

Verifying the signer’s identity can be challenging when using an electronic signature. Electronic signatures do not always contain hash algorithms, public & private keys, and other authentication methods, which makes electronic signatures harder to verify.

Risk of Unauthorized Signing

Not only are electronic signatures harder to verify, but they are also susceptible to unauthorized signing. Fraudsters can use a photo of your signature or even forge it by hand to sign documents without your permission.

 

Final Thoughts

Businesses continue to leverage online applications to streamline administrative workflow and improve customer experience. As the prevalence of e-commerce grows, the importance of electronic signatures and digital signatures will also continue to increase.

Be mindful of the differences. In short, digital signatures offer a higher level of security than electronic signatures. With the Public Key Infrastructure and a Certificate Authority, digital signatures bind the signer’s identity to the document.

Electronic signatures do not typically provide this level of assurance, but they are a far more convenient solution that is still secure and legally binding. We suggest using electronic signatures and digital signatures, with the optimal choice depending on the document. If it requires a quick signature, use electronic. If it is a high-value transaction where identity verification is essential, use a digital signature.

Why it is crucial for an IT professional to implement a contract management solution ASAP

Intro

If you have taken on a new CIO post, you are probably well familiar with the following story. The first time you take on the CIO mantle, you are eager, enthusiastic, and ready to get things up and running. But before you jump into all the interesting prospects that the role has to offer, you need to take care of the things that the previous CIO has left behind. The situation you’re dealt with needs to be assessed.

But, first things first. Assessing the situation is the first step. We need to get a grasp of what and whom we are actually working with. Hence, we need to do the math. The math on who our vendors are, what are they doing for us, what will they cost us.  

And then another big wave comes. You’ve been hit with the harsh truth, splash!  No overview in sight. If you are lucky, you’ll find a folder or two. Maybe even some papers on the bottom of the drawer. This is the point where we tend to roll up our sleeves. Open up a new Excel doc, and start piecing the puzzle. We’ve been here many times before, starting from scratch, building that infamous Excel contract list, and it’s always the same process. Once you have an understanding of all the contracts that you need to deal with, the second step comes into play.

The financials. Yes, the budgeting and the forecasting. Obviously, we need a comprehensive financial report, containing all this info in order to figure out the cost baseline. Or simply put, to comprehend what is already contractually agreed.

And it’s not so easy. Forgetting to terminate some contract (that quite possibly you might even not know that even exists) seems to be given. But once the invoice comes, you will know. But at that point, it will be too late to do something about it. But, I as a professional and furthermore as a person, was more than relieved to find out that I was not the only one. After talking to a lot of colleagues, I was assured we shared the same problem.

Are you thinking about all the fancy P2P solutions? Or about those complicated ERP systems? Of course, I’m aware of them, but I (and my colleagues) were in need of something simple that gets the job done. I had no use of all the bells and whistles. What I needed was a user-friendly contract management solution that will back me up. Oh, and save me from all those extra hours of work, and remind me to terminate that contract. Paying for things that I don’t need isn’t my thing. 

What is contract management?

Well, let’s start things off by quickly defining what a contract is. There are a lot of definitions out there, all of which you can google, so I won’t bother you with that. Simply put, a contract is a binding agreement between two or more people or parties. An agreement that creates mutual obligations enforceable by law. When it comes to business contracts, they are used to dictate the roles between a company and its vendors, partners, customers, and employees.

Logically, contract management is the act when one party takes the responsibility of managing the contracts for the employees or the vendors or any other parties.

Contract management often involves the process of overseeing the creation, signature, storage, execution, and review of contracts. However, some people tend to make the distinction between contract administration and contract management.

These terms are often mixed or used as synonyms, but they actually represent different phases of the contracting Contract administration is the work that needs to be done before a contract is signed into effect. On the other hand, contract management describes what needs to be done after signing the contract. Ensuring that deliverables and deadlines are adhered to as outlined in the agreement.

Contract management in IT

When it comes to IT, especially if you are stepping into someone’s shoes, you are well aware what requires more time and management. There’s a good reason why it’s called contract management, right?

IT contracts come in many forms. There are software licenses, hardware leases,  subscription to online services, maintenance and service agreements, consultancy agreements, and the list goes on. Each of these IT contracts include different terms and conditions and, of course, different deadlines. This makes accurate tracking and maintenance a real challenge for any IT manager.

Often, when we say contract management, we think of all the client contracts. But, very often, in IT, we’re looking from the vendor’s perspective. The ordinary IT contract portfolio includes IT vendors, suppliers, consultants, service agreements, and so on. And in order to manage them, you need to know where the contracts are. Seems obvious, but it is rarely a walk in the park. The second challenge is the usual annual billing. Not all contracts have it, but most of the typical service contracts and license contracts do. You will receive an invoice and a deadline to terminate the contract, and if you miss it, then you’re in it for another year. Congratulations. You’re in for another year of not using that particular thing that you’ve paid a couple of thousand euros for.

Why IT professionals can’t afford to wait with implementing contract management solution

Implementing an easy-to-use contract management solution is a no brainer for most IT professionals. The benefits are endless. Some would say that doing so is expensive. Some would even go further and say that a Google spreadsheet does a decent job. But when you take a moment to think about it, that is rarely the case.

A user-friendly contract management solution will save you a great deal of blood, sweat, and tears. That is why you should think about finding and implementing one ASAP. 

But just in case you are still unsure about all the benefits, brace yourselves because here comes a nice, organized list.

All contracts in one place

‘Just click on the third folder from the right. No, wait. It was in the second from the left. Oh, that’s not it…wait…’ Sounds familiar?  We’ve all been there. Having all the contacts in one place does sound a bit utopian. But, hear me when I say it, it’s not impossible. You can have one, big, organized digital contract repository. It’s very much possible to do it with any contract management solution. Don’t waste a second searching through all the folders, or even worse, the filing cabinet.

Don’t miss a deadline

Missing a deadline is maybe the most painful part of the unorganized contract management process. 

‘Why painful?’ one would think. Well, because missing a deadline would not only make a big hole in your pocket but also a big hole in your soul. No matter how organized your contact spreadsheet is, it won’t remind you of the upcoming deadline. To avoid all that, you’ll definitely need a nice and straightforward contract management system that will constantly remind you of each upcoming deadline. 

Improved forecasting

Indulge me in imagining the following scenario. You’re planning your budget for the next year. There’s no paper scattered on the desk, not a spreadsheet in sight. Just one open tab. All the info that you can possibly need to make the best decisions is at the reach of your hand. A dream come true, right? Well, nowadays, with the right contract management solution, it can be your pleasant reality. 

Digitize in the remote world

Indulge me in imagining the following scenario. You’re planning your budget for the next year. There’s no paper scattered on the desk, not a spreadsheet in sight. Just one open tab. All the info that you can possibly need to make the best decisions is at the reach of your hand. A dream come true, right? Well, nowadays, with the right contract management solution, it can be your pleasant reality. 

Save money

Nothing comes free. But some things are well worth investing in. And we tend to buy a lot of things so we can save money in the long run. When it comes to a contract management solution, it might seem a bit counterintuitive at first. There is one thing people tend to forget, though. One missed deadline over a renewal that you should have cancelled is often a lot more expensive than the lifetime cost of these solutions.

Evaluate your company’s IT roadmap

Evaluating is always a smart move. Especially when it comes to strategy. And having all the vendors and suppliers in one organized place could be of immense help when evaluating the company’s IT roadmap. But why should only the IT department be the one to enjoy all the fun and perks, right?! The right contract management solution can be beneficial to various company departments. The legal department, purchasing, procurement, even the business department can be in your debt. A contract management solution could easily fit into the overall company roadmap in the long run.

Cheaper than developing one in-house

We’re managing the IT department. We could simply build ourselves a contract management solution! No one can deny that. But is it worth it? You have the contracts. You have the resources to do it yourself. But do you really want to do it? Is that your core competency? Does that make you tick? It would be a waste to use your internal IT resources to build something that is not your bread and butter. Your team could be quickly demotivated and not to mention all the financial repercussions. You’ll also need to dedicate resources for its maintenance and upgrading. Buying something has never been cheaper.

Can’t rely on spreadsheets

We all love spreadsheets. They can be the best resource at times. But they cannot replace contract management. See, the problem with spreadsheets is, they won’t remind you when a deadline is approaching.  They offer no dynamic support, either. You have to do all your budget planning and associated forecasting processes manually. You have to actively open the spreadsheet, do your filters, and really make an effort. So it’s more of a pull request, not so much of a push. When it comes to spreadsheet, you have to do the work yourself.  And then obviously we know how spreadsheets work. They’re great to a certain extent, but then as soon as you have many different users working the same sheets, catastrophe is bound to happen. And you will never be certain of what exactly happened. Columns might disappear, data might disappear. And no one wants that. 

Contract data security

Data security has always been an important issue. And your data is as safe as it is the place where it is being kept. So think about the safety of that drawer or even your own infrastructure. Once you’ve implemented contract management solutions you needn’t worry about such things as safety. The many security mechanisms to keep your data safe and private with be at your disposal at all times. The strategy relies on the best providers for infrastructure and is also GDPR compliant. The best guarantee for your safety is the fact that this strategy uses encryption to make sure that your data stays yours. 

Cloud first strategy

The cloud has become the base that enables businesses to transform, differentiate, and gain competitive advantage. So, a cloud first strategy is something that was bound to happen. An astonishing number of companies are moving software as a service or cloud first. You are well versed in all the tech stuff, but you don’t want to use it for everything. And nothing can replace the feeling you get when the only thing you need is basically a browser. While all the rest is being taken care of.

What type of contract management solution do you need?

Considering all the benefits that contract management solutions provide, it’s no surprise that there are a lot to choose from. As with any solution, you’ll need to find the one that best suits your needs. Still, I believe there are a couple of boxes that every decent solution needs to tick to be a fantastic addition to the IT department. And here comes the checklist. 

One you can get up and running quickly

We live in a pragmatic world. So the first box that a contract management solution must tick is for it to be user friendly. Make sure that you find a solution that you can get up and running quickly. At the end of the day, you want to save time, not spend hours onboarding. And why not find something that is eye-candy as well? I, personally, never really understood why ERP software needs to be so ugly and complicated. It’s ok to be vain when it comes to SaaS solutions. To sum up, find a solution that looks really good, is pretty straightforward, and requires almost no onboarding.

Easy to use

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. No matter how much of an IT expert you are, you don’t want to spend hours ponding over a contract management solution. You surely have bigger fish to fry. So find one that is easy to use. It is as easy as one-two-three. 

Secure

Data security is important. Contract data security is essential. It goes without saying that you need to find a contract solution that keeps your data safe and private. I found Microsoft Azure a great hosting place. It really is one of the most secure solutions available in the industry. And, of course, the data needs to be encrypted. It’s great if you find one that runs regular vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. It will certainly give you peace of mind.

Cloud based

Nowadays everything is transferred to the cloud. Many companies are implementing a cloud first strategy. And it makes perfect sense, especially in these modern remote working conditions. So it goes without saying that you need cloud based contract management solutions. You can forget about long and dreadful installation processes and can rest assured that your contracts are secure.

IT specialized

There are a lot of contract management solutions out there, so how can you choose the right one? Choosing the one that best suits your needs is essential. As an IT professional, you don’t need complicated and unattractive ERP or P2P systems. Best case scenario, you’ll find a solution that was developed with IT decision-makers in mind. One that covers all your contract management needs but doesn’t overcomplicate things. One so easy to use that you won’t need to waste an extra minute of your time.

Customizable

Everything looks and feels better when we add a dash of personalization to it. To be able to make the most out of your contract management solution, you’ll also need to find one that can be easily customized. You’ll certainly want to configure your account, enter customized data files, customized categories, and so on. Authorization, must not be omitted, too. It could save you a lot of time and trouble down the road.

Multi-currency Support

The chances are you are not working only locally. All those vendors, suppliers, purchasers, servicers often come from different geographical regions. And that brings about another problem – currencies. So it’s only logical that you should look for a multi-currency support contract management solution.

APIs and Single Sign-On

We all want solutions that can be seamlessly synchronized and integrated. Well we’re in luck since API makes sure that we’ve got everything we need integrated. Needless to say, you just need a contract management solution that supports API. So what else can you ask for? Single Sign-On will do nicely. That way, you can use your SSO provider instead of using a separate username and password. If that is what you prefer, of course.

What type of contract management solution do you need?

There’s one thing for certain. The time is ripe for implementing an easy to use contract management solution. Just think about all the hours, money, and nerves you are going to save in the long run.

And just one more thing I would like to recommend to you.  Since I am well aware that finding the right solution can be a wearisome prospect.

Don’t spend hours searching, but give one a try. After the trial, you will know if that particular solution fits your needs. If not, you’ll understand just what extra features you need.

That’s why I’m always happy to share a piece of my cake with my fellow colleagues. A free trial. It will be my pleasure if you give it a try. I made sure that it fulfils all your IT contract management needs. Happy contracting!