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3 Benefits of Automating Contract Management Workflows

January 9, 2021 5 min read

Contracts require attention at their creation and conclusion, but the middle demands the most time and resources. That’s because contract management involves not just creating and archiving your legal agreements but tracking, sharing, reporting, and monitoring those contracts. 

Managing contracts comes with time-consuming, manual tasks required to track and coordinate contracts through approvals and review, across emails, spreadsheets, hard drives and even filing cabinets. As the volume of contracts increases and businesses grow, legal teams can’t keep up with the contract management demands. 

That’s where automation comes in—with a digital contracting platform, legal teams can keep up with increasing demands and scale with technology, rather than headcount

What is contract management workflow automation?

Let’s start with contract workflows— which describe a contract template and the business processes connected to it. Contract workflow automation refers to using software to run your contract workflows instead of needing your in-house legal team to manually move contracts through each step of the process. 

The benefits of automating your contract workflows 

With automation, legal teams and other teams (sales, procurement, HR, marketing) involved in contracts can save time, improve collaboration and make smarter business decisions by leveraging contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions that enable: 

  • Quick and efficient contract creation: empower business users to launch contracts on their own and easily build your own no-code contract workflows. 
  • Improved collaboration and negotiation: keep everyone on the same page with redlining, editing, and commenting in one place. 
  • Instant access to contract data: automatically capture the right data and surface insights in real time. 

Benefit #1: Save time for legal & contract stakeholders 

Automating your contract workflows directly benefits valuable business resources. 

Many legal teams get bogged down with time-consuming and redundant tasks. Automation eliminates repetitive and manual tasks so your team is free to focus on higher value work and strategic initiatives and sales activity that drive your business forward. 

Legal teams are only pulled in when necessary and non-legal teams are empowered to run their contract processes. 

Automation features that help fast-track your contracts

  • Ability to build and launch contract generation and approval processes in minutes with no-code, self-serve tools that don’t require implementation time or technical expertise
  • Self-service contracting for business users
  • Approval and signature conditionality for any contract type

Mastercard uses Ironclad to consolidate 100+ templates into three workflows. That led to a 70% reduction in process time and $500,000+ FTE cost savings. 

“If we didn’t have Ironclad, could we extend a day to have 48 hours instead of 24 hours? Because that might be what we’d need. It would’ve been difficult without tools like Ironclad”

Benefit #2: Decrease mistakes by increasing collaboration during negotiation and approvals

Contract management workflow automation improves communication for faster approvals and bypasses bottlenecks. By bringing emails, ad hoc convos, redlines, etc. into one place, team members across departments can work together to create, review, negotiate, manage, and approve contracts.

With real-time access to the latest version of an agreement, companies reduce risk because everyone is on the same page. 

Automation improves collaboration and negotiation

  • Built-in redlining, editing, and audit logging capabilities 
  • Accept/reject changes and @mention colleagues in your contract editor
  • Word/DOCX native editor for seamless negotiation with counterparties 

Before Ironclad, Namely account executives emailed the Deal Desk with all contract requests. That created a dependency in the sales cycle that slowed deals down. Today, Ironclad enables Account Executives to generate their own standard, non-negotiated contracts, review those deals on their own, and send them to prospects for electronic signature. 

“Ironclad enables Namely’s deal desk to close deals 85% faster by automating routine sales tasks and integrating with existing systems.”

Benefit #3: Smarter business decisions using contract data 

With an automated and centralized contract repository, the data in your contracts is searchable and always up-to-date. Organizations have instant access to contract data to find new opportunities, identify risks and create effective reporting.

By decreasing the risk of mistakes and standardizing your contract’s content, language, and application, automation helps you create better contracts and opens up the opportunity to make smarter business decisions.  

Automation unlocks contract data

  • Initiative search, including full-text and structured search
  • Contract relationships, such as parent/child
  • Process metrics and contract data reporting 

The Texas Rangers use Ironclad to efficiently sell their 2000 new contracted seats and suites. The most important piece has been the capability to efficiently report sales numbers to the executives.

“The flexibility and the capabilities of Ironclad allow us to provide internal constituents with answers. The analytics speak volumes for me because being able to tell top level executives ‘You know what, I can get you that number’ is a pretty good feeling.”

Better contracts, every time

From sales contracts to NDAs and service agreements, automated contract management workflows allow companies to create and maintain a single source of truth for contracts. 

With contract workflow automation, organizations unlock the benefits of faster, smarter and more collaborative contracting. This results in: 

  • Better Sales: Closing deals quickly, expanding pipelines, and driving sales. 
  • Solid Agreements: Creating quick, easy, and secure NDAs
  • Improved Compliance: Baking company compliance standards directly into the contract processes
  • Enhanced Insight: Consolidate contracts into one organized and easily accessible database. 
  • Faster Onboarding: Reduce turnaround time with “Legal-approved” guardrails for quicker onboarding and straightforward agreements. 
  • Reduced Risk: Use standardized provisions for intellectual property rights, data handling, and liability to minimize risk and ensure employees follow all regulatory and company standards.
  • Enhance Contract Relationships: Use contract data to find and monitor key performance metrics, including scope of work, billing schedule, performance milestones, and deliverables. 

Ready to automate your contract workflows? See how Ironclad enables businesses to automate their contract management and make business faster.

About Ironclad

Ironclad is the #1 contract lifecycle management platform for innovative companies. L’Oréal, Staples, Mastercard, and other leading innovators use Ironclad to collaborate and negotiate on contracts, accelerate contracting while maintaining compliance, and turn contracts into critical carriers of operational business intelligence. It’s the only platform flexible enough to handle every type of contract workflow, whether a sales agreement, an HR agreement or a complex NDA. The company was named one of the 20 Rising Stars on the Forbes 2019 Cloud 100 list, and is backed by leading investors like Accel, Y Combinator, Sequoia, and BOND. For more information, visit www.ironcladapp.com or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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