Six Steps to Mapping your Contract Management Lifecycle
    Title*Six Steps to Mapping your Contract Management Lifecycle
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    DetailPosted 25 June 2021

    In the era of efficiency, clients expect better service from their legal providers, including quick and accurate creation of various documents and contracts. Fortunately, modern contract lifecycle management solutions solve many of the major challenges of traditional contracts. From closing deals faster to prioritising compliance, automated contract management is revolutionising the way firms transact with their clients.

    The expanding use of automated contract management isn’t surprising, given that time is money for today’s firms. Contract management automation enables firms to increase productivity and get to work quicker for their clients. However, a truly effective automated contract management system requires proper planning and preparation. Before implementing an automated contract management solution, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of your contract management process, as well as the requirements and objectives of each stage.

    Here, we break down the six essential stages of contract management to help you plan for a successful implementation.

    Planning Stage

    First and foremost, create a plan. Before you can implement a process, you need to understand your firm’s needs, resources, requirements and objectives. To keep things streamlined, it’s also important to develop processes that can easily be managed and shared across the firm. 

    The first step is to draft a contract management strategy - essentially the blueprint for how you plan to flexibility manage company agreements. When drafting your strategy, consider the following:

    • What types of contracts - and how many - will you need to manage?
    • What agreements are frequently used by lawyers or staff? Hint: these should be the first ones you automate
    • Who is responsible for each stage of the contract management process? 
    • What are common pain points in the contract management process?
    • What resources are required at each stage of the process?

    Implementation Stage

    Now that the planning stage is complete, you can begin to implement your strategy. This includes selecting the right contract management tool to help you automate and streamline the process. 

    A critical component of the implementation stage is to create a centralised contract template database. By storing all of your contracts in a single, centralised location, you’ll significantly improve your staff’s ability to find the contract they need. Accessibility and ease of use is key to driving adoption within the firm. 

    For example, contract management tools like Sysero make it easy for lawyers and staff to quickly access and create contracts directly from a client folder or workspace within the firm’s DMS. Assuming your firm is using a modern DMS system like iManage Work 10, lawyers can easily access executed contracts from anywhere, on any device.

    Contract Template Creation Stage

    Once you have your contract management foundation set up, it’s time to generate new contracts. The key here is to make it as simple as possible for lawyers and staff to quickly create new contracts, whilst ensuring quality and compliance. 

    The best place to start is by creating contract templates. With a tool like Sysero, lawyers and staff can easily turn existing contracts into contract templates directly from Microsoft Word. The markup process converts text to fields, provides choices that add or remove clauses as required, and has advanced features for contracts that need to include lists of people, companies and signatories. Once templates have been created and made accessible to the firm, lawyers can quickly create new contracts by filling out an online questionnaire, which can be completed on-line or from within MS Word. 

    Negotiation Stage

    No matter how much planning and preparation goes into the contract drafting process, there’s almost always a negotiation stage. As redlining begins, a contract management solution can help you keep track of changes and keep the process running smoothly. 

    Email and other offline forms of communication can often lead to confusion and costly mistakes, but collaborating with clients through a centralised platform can help boost transparency, trust and confidence. 

    Execution Stage

    This should be the simplest part of contract management. Yet, for many law firms, obtaining signatures isn’t straightforward - especially in today’s world of remote work. 

    E-signatures can help keep business moving by allowing signatories to execute agreements from nearly anywhere. Using a tool like Sysero E-Sign, you can easily route contracts to multiple signatories at once - or in order of precedence - and quickly obtain electronic signatures via mobile devices. 

    Post-Execution Stage

    At this stage, your contract may be executed, but the process isn’t over. Once contracts are finalised, they need to be stored, filed and made available within the firm. Some e-signing tools enable you to automatically store executed documents in the firm’s DMS for simple archiving and review. For example, Sysero automatically turns executed agreements into a signed PDF document which is emailed to all participating parties and automatically stored within the firm’s DMS once all participants have signed. 

    It’s also crucial to perform regular reviews and updates of your contract templates to ensure they stay relevant. An automated quality review workflow can simplify this process by automatically flagging templates for review at specific intervals.

    Moving Forward with Contract Lifecycle Management

    Contract management doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process. Forward-thinking firms are tapping into automation technology to streamline the contract management lifecycle, reduce risk, and foster better collaboration with their clients. 

    If you’re interested in learning more about bringing automation to your contract management lifecycle, get in touch with Sysero to schedule a demo. 

    SummaryHere, we break down the six essential stages of contract management to help you plan for a successful implementation.
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