Contract management is just one more item on legal professionals’ neverending to-do lists. Unfortunately, legal departments often get tied up with the slow manual processes that contract management entails. What started as time-consuming can become an efficient process through automated contract management.
What is Contract Automation?
When it comes to legal contracts, tedious processes are completely avoidable with the right automation tools. Automation could involve direct contract routing or sending reminders that a contract is waiting for their signature. No associate has to turn their focus away from important projects to determine what the next step of the contract management process is.
The Automation Process
Although it may be obvious that automation will be beneficial to your legal department, there is a simple process that your team of associates will need to undergo to implement automation into their contract workflow.
1. Document Current Contract Processes
The first step to being able to automate your processes is to start documenting your current contract processes. Determine what processes are part of your department’s regular routine. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my routine contract processes?
- What steps are involved in these processes?
- What is the desired outcome?
Once you’ve clearly laid out your contract processes, you’re not done yet. Are there any tweaks to your process you should make that will make it more clear and able to be automated? Document your contract processes so your team is on the same page about what they should look like.
2. Explore What Steps Can Be Automated
Once you’ve standardized your current contract processes, you can start brainstorming what automation would do to each step in your process. This will help you determine what kind of automation capabilities your desired system should have. Doing so will make the search for your solution more straightforward.
Once you’ve narrowed it down to your system of choice, implementation is all that’s left. A robust solution that automates your workflows in the way that you expect will come with a learning curve.
Just as you would devote time and energy to a new hire joining your team, you’ll also need to devote time and energy to really see how well your new system will fill its role. But the more effort you put into it, the better the output will be moving forward for you and your team.
Benefits of Automation
There are a wide range of benefits that you might experience as you make the switch from manual contract management. Each organization is different, but a few of the most common benefits are that you’ll save time, provide a better experience for your stakeholders, and significantly improve your department’s security.
One of the most obvious benefits for any type of automation is the substantial amount of time saved. Automating your contract processes is no exception.
Contract automation will stop you from having to run around from person to person, reminding them it’s their turn to review and sign the contract. Your team won’t have to waste a second on repetitive contract work. Instead, they’ll get to spend it on their most critical tasks and work more efficiently.
Improve the Stakeholder Experience
Whether you’re thinking of those who create the contract, those who carry it out, or those who are on the receiving end of it, every stakeholder can benefit from contract automation. Employees, partners, vendors, customers, and anyone else who might touch a contract will all reap the reward of an automated contract process.
Every stakeholder will be able to easier access and sign the contract as needed. There are enough stressors facing them in their professional lives, so contracts don’t have to be one more. Everyone can leave much more satisfied thanks to a smooth contract process.
Boost Your Security
Contracts generally contain confidential information, which makes legal departments the targets of malicious cybersecurity attacks all too often.
Legal departments that share contracts through email are making themselves more vulnerable because email isn’t as safe as it appears. Contract automation on the right system will allow you to access and share your contracts in an encryption-protected environment.
In some cases, you may only be able to automate certain steps, while in others, you’ll automate the entire contract process. Either way, contract automation will be a game-changer for your legal department in helping your employees to focus on what matters most. Once you get over the learning curve, implementing it will be one of the best things you can do for your team. Are you ready to discover one of the best contract automation systems? Let’s talk.