If you ask your legal department about their biggest headaches, one topic that is certain to come up is contracts management. At most organizations, the process is inefficient and heavily reliant on email. So what is the fix? Read on to find out how one client leveraged the power of SharePoint Line of Business Applications to find a solution for timely and compliant contract management – improving speed of execution and accessibility by leaps and bounds.
At this client, the Legal Coordinator is responsible for handling all business user requests for the creation of new contracts and contract reviews. They manage the request until a final legal version is approved, in coordination with legal team members and business users. The current system is highly manual and prone to inefficiencies. For example, all correspondence is done through a centralized email inbox – which is slow and cumbersome to search, with unreliable results. User requests are often vague and do not include important details, requiring additional emails back and forth. Determining the status of a request requires sifting through mass amounts of emails, and tracking requested changes for a contract is nearly impossible. A lack of transparency means the risk of executing an incorrect version of a contract is significant. Further, business users often fail to return executed contracts; they sit in a file drawer, leaving Legal with an incomplete view of current and past contracts, while any complete executed contracts are stored on a third-party system with limited access and no search capabilities.
Contract Requests and Repository Solution
A fully-featured request system provides personalized dashboards, email notifications, request workflows, request collaboration, comment tracking, versions of contracts, internal approval process workflows, and automated and custom reminders for contract owners on their executed contracts.
Solution features include:
- A request form specific to the type of contract being requested, guiding business users to provide all necessary details at the time of request, saving time going back to users for more information
- Secured request and associated documents, compliant with confidentiality agreements in place
- Document collaboration to eliminate emailing documents back and forth
- Document versioning, saving time on determining the latest version of the contract
- Consolidated view of all request details, comments, and documents
- Personalized dashboard of requests for business users, with self-service status updates
- Personalized dashboard for Legal team members to keep on top of requests they’ve been assigned
- Status dashboard for Legal Coordinator for all open requests
- Email notifications to users alerting them to take action on a request
- Ability to retain request details with the executed contract for future reference
- Automatic email notifications of contract expiration
- Additional custom contract reminders to help business users manage key dates, such as auto-renewals
- A centralized contract repository providing legal a full view of current and past contracts, giving each function a secure view of all relevant contracts
- Internal approval workflow for functions that require executive approval of a Legal-approved contract means no more walking around tracking down signatures
- Robust search capabilities, including the ability to find contract requests and executed contracts based on all attributes of the request; the requestor, contract type, contracting party, and contract content
Nothing says success like happy users. “Having all of the contract information and approval workflow in one place on makes it easier to track the status of a contract, and review changes and related documents,” reports our clients’ Legal Coordinator. Minimizing request turnaround time and bringing efficiency to the request management process frees up her time to work on other tasks. Better proactive management of expiring contracts prevents last-minute requests and fire drills. And an improved, easily searchable repository of contracts with secured accessibility to business users makes the entire process as seamless as possible.