Contract Management Software
Best Contract Management Software
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Contract Management Software Overview
Contract Management Systems
Contract management software systems are designed to help companies create new contracts and keep track of existing (open) contracts. They typically replace file cabinets and paper contracts, although some support paper contracts by allowing users to print physical contracts and/or scan in signed contracts.
These manual capabilities can be useful for inputting legacy contracts into the system, and in situations where third parties require a paper copy. However, persisting with paper records is general discouraged by digital contract management best practices, since it creates a roadblock to automation and introduces more room for error. (Note that because contract management systems handle legacy contracts differently, buyers should consider carefully whether legacy contracts need to be input into the digital contract system.)
Contract management software is designed to make contract authoring, approval tracking, enforcement, and auditing more efficient. It is a component of sales enablement/sales acceleration since it improves and streamlines sales paperwork. However, the software is also relevant to users outside of sales, including internal users in the finance and legal departments, as well as external users involved in negotiation and approval. For this reason, accessibility, as well as confidentiality and permissions, are important considerations when evaluating contract management solutions.
Basic contract management systems focus on creating contracts from templates and/or storing signed contracts. More complex contract lifecycle management software is designed to help enterprises automate every stage of the contract process, from the approval workflow to checking contracts against compliance regulations and monitoring important contract milestones.
What is Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM)?
Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) is the practice of organizing, monitoring, and automating contractual processes within an enterprise.
CLM holds that contracts should be accessible and constantly top of mind in order to enforce contractual obligations and events etc. and collect all due revenue, follow through on commitments, and close pending deals. This is in contrast to a signed-and-done, file-away approach to managing contracts, which can result in legal oversights and penalties or lost revenue.
Since using human resources for constant contract vigilance is resource intensive, and humans are more prone to error, CLM is accomplished using contract management software. While simple contract software may only allow users to author contracts via templates, or store contracts in a database, systems designed for CLM/enterprise contract management have more complex features related to the following:
- Collaboration & editing
- Scheduling & reminders
- Payment processing
- Project change management (such as VORs).
Cloud Contract Management
Online contract management solutions store contracts in the cloud. In the simplest sense, cloud contract management software is an online contract database. This is particularly convenient for use cases where internal and external approvals are required since documents are readily available without downloading an application or needing to install licensed software; files can be automatically updated (rather than synced or uploaded from a desktop).
For some enterprises, online contract management software may pose a security risk. In the past, contract management (especially CLM) software was typically deployed as an on-premise solution, because of legal apprehension about cloud data security. However, SaaS subscriptions are becoming more common and more acceptable. According to a 2014 Forrester report on CLM, cloud contract management adoption is growing especially quickly among companies that deal with sell-side contracts.
Contract Management Software Features & Capabilities
Industry-specific Contract Management Features
Features of contract management solutions may differ depending on their target vertical and use case. For example, some contract management software is designed for managing buy-side contracts whereas other products focus on managing sell-side contracts; often this influences which integrations a contract management product will develop.
Sell-side CLM software might integrate to revenue management, sales force automation, order management, and/or CPQ applications, whereas buy-side CLM software will integrate to eInvoicing, eSourcing, eProcurement, project management, compliance management, and/or legal matter management applications.
Many vendors, like Apttus, CLM Matrix, Oracle, CMA Contiki, IBM Emptoris, SciQuest, Selectica, SAP, and Revitas offer integrations on both sides. For the majority of sales use cases, contract management software will need to integrate with other Sales software including CRM, CPQ, sales proposal automation, and eSignature software, as well as with ERP software (especially for enterprise CLM).
Some products are industry-specific, since many industries have particular contract needs and protocols. For example, openSourceCM is optimized for large projects and deals with many parties and contracts that have complex legal and financial requirements, with industries such as construction and manufacturing in mind. Others, like Contract Logix, offer industry specific solutions for a range of verticals, including advertising, education, healthcare, software, oil, and energy, among others. Industries like healthcare and finance, which must abide by strict data security regulations, will need to choose contract management software that supports security compliance.
The level of automation also differs across use cases and products, as does the flexibility/ability to customize, especially around approval processes and contract templates. However, the following features are common in many contract management systems:
Contract Authoring Features
- Contract creation: Includes a document generator and tools for creating new contracts.
- Contract templates: Allows users to set up templates or templatize old contracts in order to make new contract creation easier and more consistent.
- Clause library/saved fields: Users can save certain fields of a contract for re-use; these may be stored in a template or a clause library.
- Integration to CPQ: Integrates to CPQ software so that calculated quotes/configuration details can feed into contracts. This is an important element of automation in the contract authoring process.
- PDF generator: Users can generate PDFs of contract documents.
- Contract attachments: Users can attach other documents, like invoices, images, meeting minutes, memos, etc, to contracts.
- Guided logic: Automated questions (based on company policies and the circumstances of the deal) help with the contract authoring process; this is an example of partial automation.
Contract Collaboration Features
- Contract sharing: Users can easily and securely share contracts with internal users and external users. Contracts are accessible.
- Contract editing: Contracts can go through multiple drafts and revisions; the software supports multiple versions and version comparison.
- Contract merge: Multiple versions of a contract can be merged.
- Contract collaboration: Internal and external users can collaborate on contracts without changing the text of the contract; this may be done through comments, questions, and/or message board conversations.
- MS Word plug-in: Users can make changes to contract language using Microsoft Word.
- Approval process: Approval workflows can be configured to streamline and automate the approval process; the approval process is helpful and convenient.
- Parallel approvals: Users can set up complex workflows to handle parallel approvals.
- Interdepartmental workflows: Users can set up interdepartmental workflows so that contracts can flow between teams in a logical and organized manner.
Contract Monitoring Features
- Contract database: Contracts are stored and organized in a central repository.
- Legacy contracts: The system has a record of legacy contracts that were created prior to implementation.
- VORs: Allows users to send/receive variation order requests.
- Contract search: Users can easily look up contracts within the database
- Reminders & alerts: Users can schedule reminders and/or trigger alerts according to contract milestones.
- Dashboards: Dashboards provide an overview of contract activities.
- Custom contract reports: Users can create custom reports about the status of contracts, contract timelines, efficiency, and revenue tied to contracts.
- Tracking contract status: Users can track the status of a contract as it moves through the approval process and beyond.
- Salesforce integration: Integrations to Salesforce so that contracts are tied to contact’s CRM records.
- Compliance check: Users can define and enforce complex business rules related to compliance regulations; helps automate or partially automate contract compliance check.
Contract Management Products
ConnectWise Sell (formerly Quosal) is the quote and proposal solution of the ConnectWise Suite. With ConnectWise Sell, users can create professional technology quotes and proposals that include rich product information, cover letters, and statements of work in minutes and automatically update...
Ariba Contract Management is software that helps legal, finance, procurement, and sales operations professionals tasked with driving contract management to manage all types of agreements, including procurement, sales, and internal contracts. The vendor says that with Ariba Contract Management,...
Coupa Unified Spend Suite is a solution for procurement, invoicing, expenses, sourcing, inventory, contract lifecycle management, budgets, analytics, etc.
Finnish company Basware offers Purchase to Pay (P2P), their flagship e-procurement application which also features accounts payable (AP) Automation, Contract Lifecycle Management, travel and expense management, and supporting analytics.
ContractZen is a cloud-based contract and document management solution with electronic signature, data rooms (VDR), meeting management capabilities, and more. ContractZen is secure and easy to use on any device. According to the vendor, the benefits of using ContractZen include enhancing governance...
Built for global enterprises, Icertis is a leader in contract lifecycle management, according to Forrester & Gartner. The vendor says their solution is counted on by large enterprises across industries, with more than 750,000 users, managing 2+ million contracts in 90 countries and 40...
FileHold is a document management software. It is feature rich, enterprise-grade and affordable. The standard offering includes versioning, file search, tagging, and tracking. A fully documented web services API is included at no charge. With the API, users can search the FileHold repository from...
ContractRoom is a negotiation process and contract management platform. According to the vendor, it removes the endless back-and-forth and annoying redlines - instead providing perfect drafts, frictionless negotiation and super simple compliance. ContractRoom also leverages all the past data from...
Seal Contract Discovery and Analytics is a contract management solution. The solution is designed to locate contractual documents, extract and present key contractual information related to contractual language, clauses, clause combinations and the key contextual metadata held within them. The...
Novatus is a contract management software solution built around features such as contract creation, automated notifications, and approval and workflows.
Gimmal, headquartered in League City, offers Contract Lifecycle Management.
Contract Analyst is contract management software and is provided by Berkman Solutions. The key features are detailed below. Use One Contract Repository The software is designed to provide a central repository - one place for all documents and data. The central repository allows users to turn...
Symfact is a contract management software solution. It can be customized for a robust list of verticals: finance / administration, operations / IT, legal / risk compliance, sales / marketing, board, and procurement.
CallidusCloud CLM is a cloud-based contract lifecycle management solution. Since it is not a CRM native application, approved users can upload and set up contract templates without having to wait on a CRM administrator or the IT department. The vendor’s value proposition says that by combining...
Concord is a free cloud-based contract lifecycle management platform for creating, signing, and managing contracts. The platform provides unlimited e-signatures and unlimited contracts for an unlimited number of users. Concord’s interface includes collaboration tools to streamline contract...
CLM Matrix is contract lifecycle management software built on the Microsoft Office platform. It allows users to standardize, streamline and automate contract lifecycle management processes within Microsoft SharePoint.
Contract Logix is a SaaS-deployed contract management software solution.
Contract Insight by CobbleStone Systems is a web-based Contract Management Software. Features include enterprise contract tracking, contract drafting, eSignature, custom fields, custom report design tools, e-mail alerts, calendar reminders, task notifications, security, document management, check...
FPX offers Smart Contract Management for automating contracts.
Determine (formerly Selectica) offers Enterprise CLM, a contract lifecycle management application meant to provide cost analytics, control and compliance over supplier contracts and procurement.
Contract Assistant is a contract management software solution offered by Blueridge Software.
openSourceCM is a contract management software product, with features designed specifically for industries with complex use cases. Many industries require management and oversight of large projects or deals involving many parties and contracts, with complex legal and financial requirements, such as...