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The ultimate contract management automation guide. Streamline your contract management workflow

In 2020, paper-based routines for handling contracts have proven time-consuming and inefficient. A 2019 Benchmark Report by the IACCM suggests that modern, more complex contracts, have an average duration of 4.8 years compared to 2.5 years for more straightforward contracts. For more complicated contracts, ensuring compliance for every party involved in the contract management process can be problematic.

In addition, the presence of paper trails is associated with the risk of human error, and more recently, health hazards. The IACCM report goes on to reveal the rapid progress of companies adopting contract automation into their workflows – in 2019, 44% of businesses prioritized the use of contract management software. However, obstacles in the form of budgeting, process changes, learning curves, and resource allocation persisted across the board.

In this blog, we will go through the benefits of document automation and how to implement effective contract management solutions for streamlining business operations.

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What is contract management

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The benefits of document automation

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Contract automation & where to get started

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What skills are essential for contract management skills

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How to streamline your contract management workflow with airSlate

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The future of contract management automation

What is contract management?

Contract management refers to a scope of processes involving the creation, implementation, and evaluation of contracts. The primary goal of effective contract management is to improve business performance and reduce risks. The terms “contract management” and contract lifecycle management are often used synonymously, but incorrectly. Before we delve deeper into the contract management automation, let’s clarify both of these terms:

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contract management is a general concept that refers to the manual handling of electronic (emails, spreadsheets) and paper-based contracts

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contract lifecycle management typically refers to the handling of electronic contracts with contract automation software.

The benefits of document automation

Insufficient contract management results in low performance, loss of revenue, non-compliance, misleading information, and so on. Take a look at the facts and figures as a result of Insufficient contract management:

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Businesses across all industries lose a minimum of 9% of their annual revenue due to poor contract management.

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A low-risk procurement contract costs an average of $6,900 across every stage of its life cycle.

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The average cost of a contract has increased by 38% for companies without streamlined contract management. For the most efficient companies, this price has gone up by only 9% (IACCM).

More businesses around the world are adopting document automation to reduce operational costs and stay ahead of the competition. So, what exactly are the benefits of contract management automation?

 Human error prevention

Misplaced or lost contracts are a common problem for businesses managing contracts manually. About 70% of all data loss results from the actions of an executive or employee. The integration of contract automation software into your business practices will lower the risk of human error. Besides, you can standardize content, language, and the application of every contract.

 Increased visibility and analytics

Not only does contract automation help mitigate the risk of errors within the contract, but it also allows for maintaining a comprehensive audit trail. With contract management software like airSlate, it is possible to control progress in the contract process along with all the essential parameters including actions by Bots and people.

 Improved security

An automated contract management solution offers centralized cloud storage for all your contracts and relevant documents. Cloud storage improves the security of the contract management process. It is possible to restrict access, and create editing and sharing privileges for both external contractors and employees. An integrated e-signature solution is another benefit that ensures the security and integrity of your documents.

 Stronger compliance

Typically, businesses are bound by different contracts with different regulatory requirements, which makes it harder to manage every obligation simultaneously. Shifting to a contract management solution will help improve the level of compliance amongst stakeholders by tracking the terms and statuses of multiple contracts.

 Customized templates

Users of airSlate contract automation software can access the Forms library and benefit from thousands of ready-made document templates. This gives way to an accelerated contract lifecycle with much faster contract execution between all parties involved in the process.

As you can see, implementing document automation for improving the processing of contracts has numerous additional benefits. By using airSlate, SMBs and enterprises can automate the contract approval process at every stage – from drafting to archiving an executed contract.

Learn contract automation with the airSlate Academy

airSlate is an innovative no-code solution used for automating contract workflows of any complexity. With the help of the airSlate Academy, you will get insights into workflow analytics that allow you to assess the performance of your current and recent workflows. Here’s how mastering contract automation can help you become a better professional and boost business development:

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Master in-demand career skills. In the era of digital transformation, businesses are looking for employees that possess a powerful knowledge of digital skills. With the airSlate Academy, you can master the skills you need to start a new career in business. Or, strengthen your professional standing with airSlate’s contract management certification.

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Take your business to the next level. The airSlate Academy can help business owners and operation managers develop their organization. Learn how to implement the right automation strategy, calculate ROI, and deploy solutions inside your organization. Each of the airSlate Academy’s Automation Courses covers a specific digital solution including the methods of integrating it in day-to-day operations.

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Advance your career. Acquire new digital skills with the help of the airSlate
Academy to become a better professional in your current position. Join professionals in the industries of HR, finance, insurance, and healthcare who’ve accelerated their careers by completing a certification with the airSlate Academy.

Each of the airSlate Academy’s Certification Programs includes several courses to complete. You can take the courses in any order, however, it is recommended to follow the order listed on the platform. After completing a Certification Program, you will receive a Verified Certificate. Furthermore, you can opt to complete a separate course to receive a single course certificate that you can display on your LinkedIn profile.

What are the essential contract management skills?

A contract manager is essential for industries that need to handle massive procurement and multiple high-value contracts. In a nutshell, a contract manager must have excellent soft (interpersonal) and hard (technical) skills.

Soft skills include:

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Collaborative mindset. A contract manager must be willing to engage with employees and external contractors involved in a specific contract.

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Negotiation skills. Negotiation is part of a contract manager’s active routine. It requires preparation and crafting solutions that are agreeable to everyone.

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Attention to detail. This is a rather broad requirement ranging from simple things like punctuation to exploring business opportunities that make a contract mutually beneficial.

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Problem-solving skills. A contract manager has to deal with unforeseen situations, often with incomplete knowledge. Thus, a problem-solving mindset is highly appreciated.

Hard skills include:

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In-depth industry expertise. A contract manager must have the industry expertise necessary for setting expectations within the organization and being realistic about a contract’s deliverables.

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Excellent mastery of document automation. With the help of the airSlate Contract Management Course and other related Automation Courses, one can level up their contract management skills or learn from scratch.

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Contract awareness. A contract manager must have a grasp of contract templates and wording, and understand the legal consequences of non-compliance and other essential aspects of contract management.

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Conflict resolution. Apart from being a negotiator and a problem-solver, a contract manager must be knowledgeable in court litigation and other legal methods of dispute resolution.

How to streamline your contract management workflow with airSlate?

Suppose, a business is negotiating a contract with an external customer or contractor. Typically, the contract management process would take up several days and include the following steps:

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The manager creates a draft contract containing the organization’s terms, conditions, and shares it with the customer.

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The customer reviews the contract, makes adjustments, and returns the edited draft to the manager who gets it the next day.

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The manager forwards the contract with the customer’s edits for review to upper management, thus losing another day to review the edits.

With a document automation software like airSlate, automating contract negotiation and redlining for all parties involved can be done in a few clicks. Each time edits are made to a contract, the Automation Bot(s) will send notifications to the respective signatories. This way, airSlate facilitates contract review and approval, which allows for faster contract execution.

All the essential steps (edits, approvals, signatures) are handled within a Flow and have the possibility of viewing modifications in real-time:

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The manager creates a contract template from scratch or by uploading a document from their device. The manager then edits it according to the terms discussed with the specific customer, inserts fillable fields, signature fields, and checkboxes.

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Next, the manager adds roles, sets access permissions, and assigns fillable fields, signature fields, and checkboxes to each role.

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Finally, the manager sends the contract to the customer for review. If everything looks fine, the customer fills out the fields assigned to them, ticks the approval boxes, and e-signs the contract.

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E-signing functionality is an essential part of contract automation. Users of signNow will appreciate the scope of e-signature features offered in airSlate as it allows for:

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Setting up and deploying legally-binding electronic signatures for contracts and other documents.

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Automating the e-signature process by assigning roles, adding notifications, and integrating with CRMs and databases using no-code Bots.

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Creating contract templates, e-signing, and sending contracts for signing from desktop and mobile.

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Keeping track of the signing process using a comprehensive Audit log.

In the event of a customer declining or modifying any field, the Notification Bot sends a notification to the manager. Before sending a new version of the contract back to the customer, the manager has to review every change. In case no modifications were made by the customer, and all the approval checkboxes were ticked, the manager receives the e-signed Slate inside their Flow.

The future of automated contract management

According to the Harvard Business Review, one of the challenges related to modern contract management is the ever-increasing number of contracts that businesses need to keep track of. The process gets especially problematic when it comes to the routine renewal of multiple contracts with different renewal dates. In this respect, the evolution of contract management automation is viewed from an AI perspective.

Using artificial intelligence solutions can greatly accelerate the process of sorting through massive amounts of data and obtaining relevant information. AI is more efficient at discovering contracts that need to be renewed, therefore preventing them from quietly expiring. Also, AI has the potential to enhance database searches used in many modern contract management solutions. For instance, the natural language processing technique can improve the context of each search.

The bottom line

Contract automation has numerous benefits over manual contract management. Human error prevention, increased visibility and analytics, and enhanced security to name a few. That’s why more and more businesses are prioritizing the adoption of contract management software.

airSlate is a powerful no-code solution that allows for contract management automation. Thanks to intuitive features and easy-to-use Automation Bots, you can track, analyze, and audit all your contracts on a single platform.

 

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