A Buyer's Checklist
Are you considering, or actively searching for a Contracts Lifecycle Management solution for your organization? Have you seen so many options that you are totally confused as to which option would suit your organization best? Do you wish that someone could just present you with a list of ‘what to look for’ in your Contracts Management solution to make the decision easier? If you are the one in charge of making the selection, you may feel like a great burden is on your shoulders and you may be fearful of making the ‘wrong’ choice. There are many vendors offering solutions, all with great features, so deciding what’s right for you can be a daunting and time-consuming task.
To ease the pressure and makes things a bit easier for you, we have put together this list of the top 10 features that we believe you must have in any Contract Lifecycle Management solution. Take a look, and feel the weight lift from your shoulders as you realize making that choice is not so hard after all!
1. It should be easy to use
Whether you are looking to solve simple or complex contract management challenges, if the solution is hard to use, there will be resistance to adoption, with some persons even opting to continue managing the old way. Ensure that the solution you choose has a friendly and easy to use, intuitive interface, needing minimal clicks to create or find a document.
2. It must be reliable and secure
A system that goes down frequently is not going to have happy users. Additionally, in a business setting, you cannot afford to have any extended periods of downtime. Look for a solution that provides high availability, has a solid disaster recovery plan and protects against theft, hardware failure, virus attacks, and natural disasters. A solution with backup servers in different locations is a good choice.
3. It must be cloud-based and vendor hosted
One of the most useful features of a contract management solution is providing storage space for electronic files in a central location that provides a solid security model. A cloud-based system is the best option for affording storage of an unlimited number of contracts. Additionally, with a cloud-based system, you will have rapid deployment to all computers in your organization making it easy to have your system up and running quickly. A cloud-based system that is vendor-hosted means you will not have to worry about purchasing hardware or installing third party software, set-up, coding, back up, server space, etc.
4. It must have template abilities and document editing tools
The solution you choose should allow you to use boilerplate templates with the flexibility to:
» Create new templates from scratch or use existing documents, such as intake forms, to generate new records and files
» Use boilerplate templates to generate new documents as well as update data
» Allow edits to existing documents from within the system
» Support different file versions as a contract goes through the review process
5. It must have contract collaboration features
When creating contracts, it is key that you can track all communications around the particular contract. To do this, the system you choose should be able to:
» Send email to all contract contributors and decision-makers directly from the system
» Attach documents to the email
» Keep track of email trail within the system
» Reply to emails either within the system or from your private email
6. It must have contract monitoring features
The ability to monitor and organize your contracts is the main reason for purchasing a Contracts Management system. These features are essential to making your life easier, remain compliant, and make your contract management most effective – especially in the event of an audit.
» Capability to store unlimited documents in a central repository
» Excellent searching capability, allowing the use of wildcards to quickly find data and documents
» Innovation of automatically emailing reminders and alerts to keep on top of contract milestones such as expiration dates and renewals
» Flexibility of Customizing reports
» Full audit trail to track contract activity
7. It must be compatible with different devices and operating systems
You should be free to access the system from anywhere, using any device. The system should also be compatible with different operating systems if these systems are supported by the manufacturer.
8. It must support different contract types
Choose a solution that allows you to track various data points based on the type of contract. You wouldn’t want fields related to property leases showing up on a physician agreement!
9. It must be flexible and scalable
You should consider the flexibility and scalability of the solution. As an organization that is constantly growing and improving itself, you may find that down the road you need some features that you did not need at the time you signed the contract. Try to find a vendor that is constantly innovating and willing to work with you to make enhancements to the system. Selecting a system that provides the flexibility to evolve with your business needs will be beneficial in the long run saving you time and money.
10. It must have top-notch technical support
Look for a solution that offers technical support for the lifetime of the contract. You want to be able to contact someone when you need assistance. The solution should also offer a Self-Service Knowledgebase with articles and videos to demonstrate specific features.
About Universal Contract Manager
Universal Contract Manager (UCM) is the perfect cloud-based Contract Lifecycle Management solution for your organization. Whether your goal is simply to create a central database of your active contracts or manage the complete contracting process, UCM has the flexibility and extensibility to meet the needs of an ever fluid market.