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CMS Adoption 101: Assessing Your Company’s Needs

Before purchasing contract management software, thoroughly assess your company's pre- and post-signing contract processes.

Although we may not always use the term “needs assessment,” the concept plays a critical role in both our business and personal lives. At home, a task as simple as making a grocery list counts as a needs assessment analysis. On the other hand, determining the best career path for oneself is a more complicated assessment.

In business, needs assessment informs decisions from hiring a mailroom employee to setting strategic priorities. It determines how assets are deployed in the manner most likely to achieve desired results. And in today’s rapidly changing technological landscape, adopting contract management software (CMS) is no exception. With so many contract management solutions being marketed, and with the extreme differences in their functionality and ease of implementation, assessing the company’s true needs is an important undertaking.

In this article, we’ll discuss some critical issues to consider in assessing a company’s contract management needs before making a final decision on contract management software.

Do You Need a Contract Management Solution at All?

According to Gartner research, the vast majority of business transactions are governed by contracts. Unfortunately, as Faulkner Information Services reports, more than 10% of those contracts are missing or lost, and therefore unavailable to assist management!

If you ask us, the numbers demonstrate that contract management solutions are a must, and that the right contract management software can give a company a huge competitive advantage.

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Pre-Signing, Post-Signing, or Full Contract Lifecycle Management?

Most people who use a computer regularly have purchased some form of software that sounded awesome, only to toss it in the trash because it was too complicated to use or didn’t do what they wanted. The same principle applies when selecting contract lifecycle management software. Let’s face it – today’s busy worker will lose interest quickly in anything that is too cumbersome--or not a good fit with their needs.

ContractSafe is designed with this problem in mind. Its intuitive integrations, ease of use, and powerful technology let you start with the core features that everyone needs, then scale up depending on the size and needs of the company. This high customizability allows ContractSafe to meet the needs of companies small, large, and everything in between.

Which brings us to the question: How do you know what exactly your company’s needs are? Below, we’ve outlined a few crucial considerations.

  1. Pre-Signing Steps: Some full contract lifecycle management software includes features designed to automate or enhance pre-signing processes such as drafting, redlining, approval, and signing. But if your company already has streamlined drafting and redlining systems - or, better yet, outsources those steps to a third party or legal team - such features can cost more money (and sanity) than they’re worth. You may be excited about the bells and whistles at first, but your employees may quickly grow frustrated with the unnecessary complexity--seriously. Do you really want to learn a new red-lining program? Most of your organization is already comfortable with Word or Google Docs.
  2. Post-Signing Steps: After a contract has been signed by all parties, the importance of safely storing, accessing, searching, and tracking the contract is paramount. This is also where the margin of error can be most costly, as the big problems with contracts all come from issues with signed contracts that have obligations, payments, etc. The automation offered by contract management software thus have a lot of mileage in the post-signing stages, letting smart technology do the tedious work of managing all those documents securely. If your company tends to waste time and energy locating contracts or keeping up with renewal or compliance dates, post-signing automation features are a must.
  3. Customer Relations: Does your company work mostly with vendors, employees, or individuals? Considering your contracts’ most common parties can help you determine the best client-facing automation features to look for, such as electronic signature features like ContractSafe’s DocuSign integration.
  4. Proactive Assessment of Needs: Let’s say the legal team wants X and is ready to sign, but the finance team comes in and wants Y. As more parties are added, the decision making slows down and becomes more difficult.  Soon Procurement pipes up and want Z! Now you’re herding cats! Make sure you understand who will ultimately play a role in this decision so you don’t get trapped in infinite scope creep... Fortunately, ContractSafe helps simplify the decision process.  It’s really easy to use and easily customizable. The more people using the product, the easier you want it to be! We win awards for our ease of use...which will help you win awards for a good decision in choosing ContractSafe.

Do You Need Access to All of Your Contracts on a Moment’s Notice?

That’s a no-brainer, and that’s exactly what ContractSafe allows. Making use of OCR technology, all of your contracts are digitalized and stored in a centralized repository. No more lost or misplaced documents, and you can access them from any computer with an internet connection. Better yet, you can search all of the contracts instantaneously with Google-type keyword searches, saving precious time and resources with a much more efficient search process.

ContractSafe contract management software permits an unlimited number of users with customizable roles (such as designated “no-delete” users), allowing management to maintain a balance between safety and access. And to top it off, you can schedule automated email reminders and receive key contract date notifications so you never miss a renewal date again. Everything is right at your fingertips.

After assessing all of your company’s needs, we’re convinced that you’ll conclude that ContractSafe is your ticket to a more prosperous future. But if you’d like to give it a test drive first, go ahead. Start your free trial today!

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