Why modern businesses don’t struggle to create, sign, and manage contracts
AGREEMENTS are part and parcel of doing business, and they’re critical to making sure everyone is on the same page and will hold up their end of the bargain. With businesses charging towards their digital transformation goals, the question that many modern businesses are asking is: can we make agreements more agreeable?
Traditionally, organizations have standard templates that need to be amended by teams — be it Sales, Marketing, IT, or Operations — to support the deal they’re making. Not only does that hurt productivity (with every staff member and department working independently) but it also makes room for human errors to creep in. The traditional way of entering into and managing agreements is also quite slow, relying often on paper contracts, snail mail, or (at best) emailed PDFs that need to be printed, signed, scanned, and re-emailed back. That negatively impacts the customer experience you provide. In the fast-paced digital world, that’s far from ideal and makes any organization look dated into the bargain.
Modern businesses that have benefited from migrating to the cloud and using myriad automations to simplify their operations are looking to the same solution stack to transform how they manage agreements as well. They’ve realized technology can alleviate all of their pain points when it comes to contracts — not just in crafting them but also in signing and managing them.
Using one or more cloud-based solutions, organizations can transform contract lifecycle management entirely. Through integrations, they can add a layer of automation to not only remove human errors but also to simplify and accelerate how contracts are made, delivered, signed, and managed. From managed storage, too, there are possibilities around use of the collected data to manage renewals, cross- and up-selling, and more besides.
Using APIs and SDKs, it’s quite easy to see how a cloud-based document management solution could connect with existing business tools that the organization uses such as CRMs and ERPs. In turn, those systems could further simplify how documents are created and stored.
Tech Wire Asia reviewed some of the most popular players in the market and learned that cloud-based contract management platforms have quite a few interesting features that aren’t highlighted as much as they should be. These systems can provide significant business “wins” at any scale of deployment, regardless of business size.
Business-size agnosticism: Contract management solutions can help all kinds of organizations, no matter how small or big your business is. If it’s a small entity, it can save time and bring in efficiencies more than anything else on offer from many other platforms. If it’s a bigger organization, the fact that the business can capitalize on its ability to automate contracts and avoid human errors is more impactful.
Modern-day contract management solutions are quite modular, so they’re able to serve a wide audience and bring value to each in unique ways.
Industry-specific: While the biggest selling-point for a contract management solution is the fact that it is quite vanilla in how it supports users, it can also be quite tailored if users so choose. Some of the most popular solutions in the market provide quite niche customizations as required by organizations in real estate, banking, insurance, finance and other industries.
Given the need for compliance with industry-specific regulations, having a contract management solution bake a level of compliance into the package is highly useful in the long-term, as there’s no further data governance tasks outstanding.
Multi-purpose: Every department in an organization needs contracts. It’s not just the sales team that deals with them regularly. Operations executives have to enter into and manage contracts for their suppliers; marketers look at advertising and merchandising contracts regularly; and IT teams have to manage software licenses.
When organizations have a unified contract-management solution that can take care of the entire lifecycle of all contracts, it helps teams across the length and breadth of the business – no more task duplication, so an aggregate of saved time, costs and resources.
Automated: While APIs and SDKs can definitely help developers further customize a contract management solution to create automations, there’s something to be said about the best vendors in the market who provide pre-built integrations.
Given their market reach and their constant interaction with clients, the top contract management solution providers understand what businesses need and how integrating with popular business tools such as SAP, Salesforce, and others can help automate contracts. Making contract management a seamless part of the overall business processes means that the highest levels (and possibilities) of contract management are realized.
One of the leading vendors in the market has more than 350 pre-built integrations and is constantly working on expanding this universe to support customers and better integrate with existing workflows in the most boutique of industry verticals.
Intelligent: In today’s world, everyone is looking for solutions that use some sort of artificial intelligence (AI) to provide insights. In the contract management space, leading vendors usually provide the ability for organizations to use AI in order to assess contracts, identify clauses, and analyze dates, material deviations in scope, and other aspects of the document. The AI capability is either baked in, or available as an additional module. In some instances, open APIs allow interface with external AI, like SAS or Watson.
Two of the most powerful solutions currently available (and their offerings) are explained below:
The DocuSign Agreement Cloud is a very powerful platform. It’s essentially a SaaS-based offering that any organization can deploy to optimize workflows and automate their entire agreement process – from preparing, to signing, acting on and managing agreements. It integrates 12 applications and boasts more than 350 integrations to help businesses operate more seamlessly. Be it Salesforce, SAP, Google, Microsoft, or anyone else — DocuSign has even the most niche software user covered, while some of the more mainstream interactions occur with the DocuSign Gen feature for Salesforce and DocuSign Click.
The first makes it easy to generate customized contracts with a few clicks right out of screens in Salesforce. The second makes collecting consent from customers part of the overall workflow. Together, they help minimize legal risk with a few clicks, plus have organizations operating more effectively.
The DocuSign Agreement Cloud platform integrates with another leader in this space, Intelledox, to provide an intelligent offering for businesses looking for immediate customer-facing improvements and efficiencies.
More of a digital forms creator and manager than a contract manager, Intelledox really focuses on the customer and is therefore a good partner to DocuSign’s Agreement Cloud Platform.
Built for businesses that are heavily involved with customers providing input and data at every interaction, Intelledox provides a compelling solution that delivers immediate results to the customer experience by optimizing the quality and flow of customer input, and reducing errors and risks.
Although the company offers workflow automation and multi-channel customer communications management, the best feature, arguably, is the provision of next-generation guided forms. Imagine paper forms that you fill in at government offices or the insurance counter. They ask for the same details over and over again and make the process lengthy and unpleasant. Intelledox’s solution not only makes these forms digital (and mobile-first) but also intelligent.
When used alongside DocuSign’s offering, the two solutions really help provide a better experience to both employees and customers alike. Customers get a smoother, less repetitive interaction(s) which stops significant process abandonment, while the organization gets clean data, compliant storage & practise, and internal efficiencies.
*Some of the companies featured on this editorial are commercial partners of Tech Wire Asia
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