We’ve got smart phones and smart houses. The way we live and work has become immeasurably more interesting and efficient because of our technology. The same is true for contract negotiations and the future is looking even smarter. With emerging technology like Blockchain, contract lifecycle management (CLM) can be further revolutionized through self-execution, transparency, and mass collaboration.
Nothing can strike fear into the hearts of attorneys or businesses like “breach of contract.” Contract negotiations are tedious, exhausting and overwhelming. When a hard fought executed contract is found to be non-compliant, the results can be devastating to all parties involved. While a simple verbal contract, which meets minimal criteria can be legally binding. For business transactions memorialized in writing, contract compliance is significantly more rigid and complex.
In every society throughout history, legal contracts have played an important role in day-to-day business activity. The concept of a voluntary and binding written or expressed agreement between two or more parties to provide a product or service for some type of compensation was as familiar to the citizens of ancient Rome as it is to us today. The difference between contracts long ago and now was perhaps the higher percentage of “handshake” agreements, as well as with 'much' less legal complexity.
The need for configurable software applications in the large enterprises is becoming more and more of a necessity. Instead of customized solutions, which are essentially company specific, buyers are now demanding applications that evolve with ‘digitization’ best practices and are flexible enough to be altered easily as these practices are shared. Better still, many companies are in the midst of transforming processes and operations to improve overall efficiencies and productivity; however, it can require a lot of fine-tuning (and custom coding) to optimize the current environment when dealing with clunky legacy systems. Unfortunately, with a custom built tool or application, you just can’t get that flexibility and are stuck with the ‘as is’ or face costly change orders. Conversely, by providing configurable applications, developers are ensuring that these applications are easy to maintain, alter and scale as industry standards evolve, and company needs are harmonized and optimized. So, what is the process?
Legally speaking, contracts can be interpreted in vastly different ways. From verbal contracts, called express contracts, to implied and quasi contracts, project managers need to plan for all possibilities.
Traditional contracts can have several pitfalls that can be avoided through the use of technology. Think about what a contract traditionally has been: a single, lengthy, paper-based document that is time consuming to create and, therefore, does not get updated regularly.
With so many options in the market, buying new software to fulfill a specific need in your company can be dream—or a nightmare. So, where to start? What do I need to know? What should my team be taking into account?
How the new wave of contract management software is reducing time spent negotiating
Is it possible to use data analytics and clause standards to make the contract negotiation process more efficient? Certainly there are situations where standard contracts are routinely used and it’s undeniable that this saves time and money. For example, imagine how much longer standard real-estate processes would take if each time an agreement had to be drafted by scratch.
Current contract management processes are lacking proper rules and controls. Why is that a bad thing? Well, serious consequences typically arise from lack of oversight during the negotiation phase or mismanagement of contract commitments after execution.
Compliance is expensive and time consuming—keep abreast of regulations can be a full-time job in and of itself, let alone ensuring your company is in compliance. Can automated systems keep your firm in compliance? Absolutely. Whether you work in a highly regulated industry or simply want to ensure your team is using the most up-to-date and legally solid contracts, automated tools can eliminate errors and breaches.