These days, the world is going paperless for good reasons. However, with contracts stored online instead of in drawers, they can lead to new risks for your business, especially if you operate on a global scale.
Those risks, however, don’t outweigh the benefits but they do mean that you have to adjust to some new processes to make sure everything is done efficiently and securely.
Many companies continue to make basic errors when converting to paperless processes, especially when moving contracts to virtual storage accessible from any of their global offices. Here are a few essential contract automation tips to keep you on track.
- Ensure intent is properly captured in the electronic version – that is, design your resources, approvals, content libraries, and analytics libraries to serve your intent. Customizing your data management and workflows in a way that is specific to your business will increase user adoption and help to maintain proper processes across the globe. Ideally, you want to have fully configurable libraries, including attributes, clauses, templates, contacts, and approvals. The information should be readily accessible to the right people, when and where they need it, through the system user interface.
- Prove who “clicked to sign” online. Always have a record of who signed, (on what device,) and where the signature originated. Maintain the use of reliable digital signature, implement automated workflows that support contract review, and enforce versioning processes so that you avoid confusion and speed up approvals.
- Secure electronic records to ensure long-term access and reliability while protecting sensitive data. This requires a library with user permissions and searchable data. This library not only has short-term benefits for individuals who need to immediately look up a contract, it also has long-term benefits for your company as more data is collected and archived for analytics, defensibility, and oversight that relate to compliance, risk, and revenue opportunities.
- Strike the right balance between security and usability. You don’t want to have to spend fifteen minutes getting into the system before you can use it, but you don’t want unauthorized persons to be able to access it. Map out the levels of security that you need and develop approval processes that are streamlined and easy to use, but which will prevent security problems later by going through an established group hierarchy. Automate milestones management, with reminders for expirations and other contract events going to the people responsible for those contracts.
- Human error is still an important factor, even with all the automated functions a CLM provides. Avoid many common e-contracting mistakes by using good processes and training users to adopt and use enabling resources to best effect. Ideally, these processes should be contained within a single CLM tool to allow maximum visibility and functionality across the enterprise. It’s very important to have clear definition of roles, workflows, and controls combined with well-configured and secure data architectures.
Organizations may have previously handled these functions on an individual basis at each local branch or office. Now a single customizable CLM tool can be used across all of their business groups providing scalability to succeed in the multi-language, multi-division, and multi-currency global market. Visibility and data retrieval can be secured for lower-level employees while large quantities of data from a single location or multiple locations can be made accessible to upper-management and corporate counsels worldwide.
Selectica SmartContracts® solutions offer easy-to-use tools for contract management automation that can be customized to meet your business needs, increase efficiency and provide global scalability — resulting in increased revenue opportunities.
Ready to learn more? Request a demo to see how SmartContracts can benefit your global business.