What features should I look for in a contract management system?
Contract Management Systems (CMS) are sold under different names, including Control Lifecycle Management Systems. They exist to help businesses to better manage their contracts in terms of their management and production, the agreed service level agreements, and the master agreements for procurement.
As contracts are absolutely key to the success of any operation, these systems can greatly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the management process. The CMS will define and manage the service levels, terms, prices and key milestones in the supplier relationship, helping to ensure that everything remains on track. Ultimately, they help businesses to make sure that vendors are performing in line with the terms of their contract and help to minimise risk.
What features should you be looking for?
Contract management systems will typically include a range of standardised features and the possibility for bolt-on or custom features depending on whether the system is bought ‘off the shelf’ or built to a custom specification.
Typically, systems such as contractswise will offer the ability to store contracts and to bring up standardised contracts for use with tenders. They will offer a workflow management system that makes it easy to draw up and carry out new contracts.
These systems will also have features that help the business to manage the vendor’s relationship and the interactions that need to occur to ensure that it runs smoothly, along with calendars to flag up necessary milestones.
The contract management system will include customised checklists that help to manage activities and information that exists within each contract lifecycle. Crucially, it will include features that ensure compliance is maintained throughout.
Schedules for delivery and the ability to track deliverables are included, as well as adjustable budgeting and pricing held for each vendor and product line. There will also be features to help with any issues, such as claims administration for instances where the supplier does not adhere to the terms of the contract.
Key common features include the ability to better manage the contract, to standardise paperwork, to flag up key deliverables and any late or delayed actions, and the ability to improve compliance and to lessen overall risk. Implemented and managed well, a CMS system will greatly benefit your business and will reduce wasted time and man hours, as well as boost productivity and compliance.
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