Best contract management software for your organization – Eight factors to evaluate them

If you are reading this article, or if you’ve just stumbled upon it on internet, chances are that you are either wondering what is the best contract management software for your company requirements. No matter whether you are in the process of finding the right contract management software solution for your company, or you have already shortlisted some providers, this article can help you in making the right decision for selecting the best contract management software solution for your business.

1. Smooth implementation & ease of use
It’s very important that the best contract management software for your company is the one that offers the ease of implementation and use for your employees. Implementing new contract management software in any company is a transformation event in itself, and you always face resistance from the new set of users before they adopt the new software. However, if the software is very intuitive, and offers ease of use after initial hand holding, users start exploring the software in their lean time and hence the overall adoption increases within a stipulated time frame.

2. Personalized Dashboard
The best contract management software invariably are the ones that can be personalized for each stakeholder types in your contract management process. Once the users have started using the product inside your organization, they are going to spend a lot of time on the dashboard of the contract management software product. Different roles lead to different business needs as a business evolves and goals change. At any time the user would like to get faster approvals while at other times the focus will be on expedited renewals. In any such scenario, the user shall not be made to contact the IT admin teams for unlocking certain features. Furthermore, based on the users’ usage behavior, the software shall customize the dashboard on its own or shall offer the capability for the user to customize their dashboard based on their preferences.

3. Security
Contracts for any organization are very sensitive documents. You must expect best contract management software in their class to at least provide two factor authentication, permissions & access management, and encrypted data storage. Servers hosting the data shall be secured. In fact, you should ask your vendor/s to co-operate in a due diligence process and provide necessary documentations related with the data security protocols. Furthermore, you should also ask who at the vendor company will have access to your data.

4. User Permissions
Best contract management software in their class should provide a comprehensive role-based access control system that governs access to contract data at a micro level, based on different factors such as user roles, geographies, departments and access permissions. This is important to secure information.

Furthermore, the software shall also offer the ability to restrict paragraph level access. Often times you will have many people working on the same document and you don’t want everyone to see the complete document if it contains confidential information. Why should the sales rep see the HR- specific information?

5. Global Searches
Global search function is one the most important aspects of any contract management software. Please check if your contract management software allows versatile search functions that covers the full text of documents, metadata & all the related information so that you don’t miss anything important. Best contract management software should give you the ability to conduct global searches for related agreements, comments, associated documents, notes and history to view dependencies or identify potential liabilities.

6. Integration of the related business Apps
Integration with widely used relevant applications e.g. Salesforce & other CRM software, allows teams to create, view, approve and collaborate on contracts within the applications. Your contract management software shall provide you the ability to access contract data & perform contract actions whilst still being inside the application of a user’s choice. This will eventually help increase the adoption for the software internally Moreover, users can access all the relevant information from one place regarding any specific opportunity and can review the same anytime within the app and don’t need to store documents on multiple portals.

7. E-Signature integration
If your goal is to digitize the entire contract lifecycle then best contract management software should digitize every stage of the contract life cycle process, including the execution. You can be assured of a quick and secure contract execution with a contract management system that easily integrates to e-signature solutions such as DocuSign. Some vendors can offer you better subscription plans with bundled access to e-signature tools.

8. Vendor reputation
With mushrooming number of companies offering contract management software solutions, it is vital to choose the right partner for your business. Check for the vendor feedback on online portals; ask questions on different portals so other users can share their comments and share their feedback about that specific contract management software.

Additionally, here are some questions to ponder, which shall help you eliminate some options-
a. can I get some references to speak with before I finalize this vendor?
b. how do the companies compare on their technological capabilities?
c. why shall I choose the market leader? Just because everybody uses their product doesn’t mean they are the best for you too. Do your own research before arriving at a conclusion. Specifically for the sales teams, a good starting point to identify and shortlist vendors can be SalesForce AppExchange
d. which company offers the ‘need-to-have’ features that are vital for your needs? Individual needs are different so why to compromise on the product feature
e. what is the right price to pay for the contract management software solution? Do a comparative study before finalizing your vendor and do ask for a pilot phase to assess suitability of the product for your needs