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Effective Collaboration in Contract Management: Balancing Internal and External Needs

Posted by Gene Turner on 18-Jul-2023 18:11:31

Collaboration functionality is often touted as a significant advantage of Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) solutions, enabling seamless internal and external cooperation during the contract process. However, external collaboration, in particular, has its challenges. While it may seem impressive in demos, the reality is that it often requires the other party to change their established processes and work on a platform chosen by you. In practice, people are generally reluctant to change and may prefer to work on the contract in their own environment until they are satisfied, ultimately emailing it back. The functionality may not get used as much as hoped for.

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Topics: Legal Automation, Legal Operations, Contract Management

Unlocking Contract Insights in a SharePoint Contracts Library

Posted by Gene Turner on 18-Jul-2023 18:11:13

The purpose of a contract is not to create a mere piece of paper or electronic document stored in a contract library. It also goes beyond just enabling a party to sue the other party when things go wrong. Instead, it serves as a tool to facilitate collaborative actions between parties, helping to achieve shared objectives. To achieve those objectives, effective contract management requires timely and accurate information about the agreed terms presented in a format that is easy for those responsible for delivering the contract objectives to comprehend. This lets parties understand their responsibilities, deadlines, standards, and financial obligations.

Within the Microsoft environment, there are key options available to enhance contract reporting and analytics:

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Topics: Legal Automation, Legal Operations, Contract Management

Maximising Contract Views in SharePoint: Making Data Work for You

Posted by Gene Turner on 18-Jul-2023 18:10:20

If an organisation is a collection of contracts that cover everything the organisation buys and sells, then contract data is the new oil. But there can be a lot of data!

Utilising document automation to generate contracts provides the advantage of transforming every question in the questionnaire into valuable data that can be input into a contract database. Additionally, the capabilities of the document automation solution enable the creation of various additional data points through complex calculations on the initial data. However, when confronted with a multitude of data columns in a document library, it can be challenging for users to leverage this wealth of information effectively.

Fortunately, there are several options available to enhance the usefulness of contract views in SharePoint:

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Topics: Document Automation, Legal Automation, Legal Operations, Contract Management

Managing Contract Expiry Dates in SharePoint Contract Libraries

Posted by Gene Turner on 18-Jul-2023 18:09:59

An essential requirement expressed by legal teams for their contract database, apart from the ability to perform easy full-text searches, is the ability to quickly identify upcoming expiry dates to avoid any omission and have sufficient time to take necessary actions.

How can this be done in a Microsoft environment?

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Topics: Legal Automation, Contract Management

How do I get contracts and data into a contract library?

Posted by Gene Turner on 18-Jul-2023 18:09:36

One critical challenge any contract management system faces is how to incorporate contracts and associated data into the system’s database. As discussed in this earlier post, a document automation solution like Cognito Forms with Power Automate makes it relatively easy to automatically populate signed copies of documents and desired metadata directly into a contract library in SharePoint.

However, what about contracts that have already been signed or are being signed outside of a complete end-to-end workflow? Are there options available for automating the entry of these contracts into the system?

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Topics: Legal Automation, Legal Operations, Contract Management

Streamlining Contract Execution: Embracing the Power of Digital Signing within Microsoft Tools

Posted by Gene Turner on 18-Jul-2023 18:09:12

Digital signing presents many benefits, effectively resolving numerous issues that typically plague the contracting process. It eliminates the cumbersome tasks of printing, signing, scanning, emailing, and compiling counterparts of documents. With digital signing, the constant need to chase signatories for completion is eliminated.

Once a digital signing process is completed, each party automatically receives a copy of the contract via email and a secure PDF. The encrypted PDF ensures that neither the signatures nor the document’s content can be altered without invalidating its authenticity.

Various solutions provide access to digital signing functionality, each with its own set of features.

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Topics: Digital Signatures, Legal Automation, Legal Operations, Contract Management

Streamlining Contract Requests and Document Drafting: A Cost-Effective Approach

Posted by Gene Turner on 18-Jul-2023 18:06:20

In Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) solutions, the initial step typically involves a contract request from a business member seeking legal assistance in drafting a contract.

Without a CLM solution, these instructions are often set out in a chain of emails or a Microsoft Word document.

With a CLM solution, this process often entails filling out a digital form designed specifically for this purpose.

However, many of these contract request forms struggle to gain widespread adoption due to their limited functionality. Some of these limitations arise from the technology’s constraints. Traditional CLM solutions often rely on a flat table structure within their databases, making it challenging to handle repeated data entries—a common occurrence in contracts involving multiple deliverables, due dates, and outcomes, for example.

As a lawyer who understands the realities of contracting, I find it frustrating every time I see a CLM demo showing a contract request flowing through to an entire contract and then sending it straight to digital signing with only a handful of basic party details being completed. It’s simplistic and misleading. Where are the rest of the details about the services?!

Moreover, licensing issues further complicate matters, as increased user access to such functionality can sometimes escalate solution costs.

Recognising these obstacles, we have explored alternative options that offer greater affordability, flexibility, and alignment with the realities of the contracting process. Our investigation has centred around solutions that seamlessly integrate with the widely used Microsoft suite of products.

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Topics: Legal Automation, Legal Operations, Contract Management

Unlocking Contract Data: Optimising Templates for Structured Information

Posted by Gene Turner on 18-Jul-2023 18:06:02

One of the primary reasons organisations seek Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) solutions is the wealth of contract data they can provide.

This data, in turn, feeds into comprehensive dashboards and reports, offering valuable insights and analytics.

However, many contract templates are not drafted in a way that allows for the creation of structured data, hindering the full potential of CLM solutions.

If your template currently requires entering all key service details into a single text box or cross-referring to other documents such as a supplier’s proposal for descriptions of key terms, you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity.

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Topics: Legal Automation, Legal Operations, Contract Management

Setting the Foundation: Preparing Your Templates for Automation

Posted by Gene Turner on 18-Jul-2023 18:05:41

A significant proposition of Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) solutions is the ability to automate key contracts, instantly generating documents with the highest standards of quality and consistency.

However, it is essential to address formatting and numbering issues that often plague contract templates before implementing a CLM solution.

Many legal teams lack knowledge of these formatting nuances, resulting in consistent errors and inconsistencies from their automated system and undermining received benefits.

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Topics: Legal Automation, Legal Operations, Contract Management

Maximising Contracting Outcomes: Start earlier in the process

Posted by Gene Turner on 18-Jul-2023 18:05:04

In many Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) solutions, the contracting process traditionally begins with a contract request.

However, to achieve optimal contracting outcomes, it is crucial to acknowledge that the process should commence well before that stage.

Before committing to a contract, a good process might already have a procurement plan in place. The business may have gone through some form of procurement process and discovery workshop and have some form of a term sheet or heads of agreement setting out key terms. These preliminary steps aid participants in structuring their thinking, identifying the problems they aim to solve, and establishing the desired outcomes and how they will work together to achieve them.

By the time we reach the stage of requesting or drafting a contract, a considerable amount of necessary information should, therefore, already be readily available.

The key lies in ensuring that the previously agreed upon or determined information is accessible for use in the contract without the need for redundant data entry.

Fortunately, there are various approaches to accomplish this.

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Topics: Legal Automation, Legal Operations, Contract Management

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