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Digital transformation

Guide: How to Digitize Your Contract Management System

Digitizing contracts is a critical step in the digital transformation of businesses. Here's a quick guide on how to do it.
July 15, 2022
4 min

Developing a digital contract management system (CMS) is crucial in any contract-reliant business. A digitized CMS has many benefits, from cost savings to organization to added security and more. Here we’ll outline contract digitization, the life cycle of digital contracts, the tools you’ll need to onboard a digital CMS, and the steps you can follow to digitize your contract management system.  

What is contract digitization?

The process of implementing software, automating processes, and using tech tools to support your contract lifecycle is known as contract digitization. Digitizing contracts is a critical step in the digital transformation of teams and companies of every industry — from sales teams who rely on contracts to close deals to legal teams who use contracts to secure sensitive company information.

While digital transformation has already been a hot topic and a key focus of modern businesses, it’s estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic has sped up digital adoption by up to five years in as short as eight weeks. Onboarding a digital CMS has quickly become the standard for businesses of all types who focus on improving efficiency while safeguarding against unexpected market interruptions like COVID-19.

Stages of the digitized contracting process

With digitized contracts, drafting agreements is as easy as typing a document on your computer. Contract templates allow decision-makers to plug and play various line items and parties into standardized contracts while adjusting terms to the specificities of the parties involved. 

Negotiation/legal review 

Without automated processes, negotiation and legal review can slow the contract lifecycle. After all, it creates bottlenecks when using email and document software alone. Digitizing your CMS makes negotiation and legal review editable, highly reliable and effortlessly scalable.  

Approval workflows 

In the days of paper contracts, office efficiency depended on tracking down necessary parties to receive their input and approval. You can imagine the problem this causes in the age of remote work. With distance working as the new norm, standard approvals as simple as taking on new hires have become impossible without a digitized process.

Signatures 

Digital signatures have provided a new level of efficiency for businesses with remote partners. Further, with many contracts getting held up due to awaiting signatures, digital contracts cut valuable time. They allow secure document access and signing from anywhere with internet or cloud access.

Management of post-sale workflows 

While a sale might be closed, the customer relationship is still very much alive. Billing setup, service activation, and document sharing are just a few of the post-sale processes better maintained digitally. A digitized CMS makes automating these processes simple, secure and scalable.

Storage 

Say goodbye to file cabinets, and say hello to contract lifecycle management (CLM) systems. For businesses focused on growth, preparing for and adjusting to increases in contract volume means you need a centralized, digitized location to store and maintain all contracts. Investing in a CLM repository allows you to store documents in a single secure location with efficient search capability.

Data analysis 

Data is an organization’s most critical asset. A digital CMS gives businesses the power to track, standardize, and optimize key performance indicators. Contract digitization ensures that stakeholders can see where processes underperform. What about opportunities for cost savings? Find them while also ensuring compliance and governance.

6 essential tools to use when digitizing contracts 

Cloud-based contract repository 

Streamlined storage in the form of a cloud-based contract repository isn’t only a time-saving tool. It’s an added security measure. Storing digitized contracts in a centralized, cloud-based repository provides quick and easy access, password protection, and multi-level authentication. It also increases flexibility of access settings between individual teams. 

Automated alerts, tasks, and contract workflows

Rather than chasing down clients or team members for signatures, a digital CMS can free up critical time by sending alerts when contracts are finalized. It can store a task list to keep you up-to-date with the contract lifecycle. Automated workflows optimize teams' efficiency. 

Clause and template-based libraries 

Unless you enjoy racking up hefty legal fees, contract template libraries are an excellent solution for organizations entering similar agreements with varying parties of overlapping interests. Simply enter your party’s name in the contract template, adjust the terms according to any specific negotiations or special considerations, and execute and store the contract in your cloud-based repository. 

Online notarization

One of the greatest recent advances in digital contract security and execution is online notarization. Rather than traveling and appearing in person as a notary public, an online notarization platform such as Notarize provides 24/7 on-demand notary services. This can save businesses and their customers critical time, money, and energy resources in the process.

Dashboards and reporting metrics

Real-time visibility into your contract lifecycle removes the mystery and frustration associated with compliance and governance. Reporting metrics provide valuable insights to hold you accountable to your goals and your partners accountable to expectations. 

Standardized online contract request process 

Training and directing employees in a standardized contract request process has scalable returns. There are no more questions, exceptions, or confusion. Instead, standardizing your contract request process saves employees time from costly manual processes. Additionally, it provides a reliable framework to train and educate other employees or partners. 

A contract digitization use-case

In the real estate industry, workload is determined by visibility and organization of contract procurement. For Keller Williams, when COVID-19 shifted their work landscape, the primary concern was understanding which contracts were outstanding, which were reaching the end of their lifecycle, and which were ready for renewal.

By implementing an AI-supported CMS, they processed thousands of documents while also educating the collective company on the nature of the contracts in place. The company also cut down contract review time from hours to only minutes. They achieved their return on investment from just a single contract renewal.  

How Notarize can help with the contract digitization process

While digital transformation has never been more imperative, digitizing contracts and the processes surrounding them doesn’t have to be complicated. Notarize is the industry leader in online notarization, making notarizations quicker and more efficient by bringing them online. Schedule a demo to learn more about how our online notarization solutions can save you time and money.

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