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What contract workflows are and how Ironclad helps you leverage them

September 25, 2019 2 min read
contract workflows
Workflow Designer

The term “workflow” is used so often, and in so many contexts, that it can be hard to keep track of what it means when it comes to contracts.

Is a contract workflow a set of contract approvers? A contract template? A contract type?

At Ironclad, we use the term “workflow” to describe a contract template (i.e., a document) and the business process connected to it. 

In this post, we’ll break down what that means and why streamlining your company’s contract workflows is the key to helping your legal team work smarter.

What contract workflows are

There are countless contract types, and every company has its own business processes, but these documents and processes all have a few things in common:

  1. The contracting process involves a document. This one’s simple—without a contract document, there can’t be an agreement.
  2. The contract document contains information on the contracting parties and agreement terms. Whether it’s a data processing agreement or a statement of work, every contract describes who the contracting parties are and what they’re agreeing to.
  3. The contracting process follows fairly consistent rules. Your company might see personnel changes or reorganization over time, but your key personnel (and the areas they oversee) will typically be the same from week-to-week.
  4. The contract requires signatures from both parties. Signatures come at the end, after the contract has been fully negotiated, and finalize the contract.

The first point is the contract document. The next three describe the contract process, or the information collection, contract negotiation and signature collection that have to happen for a contract to move from generation to finalization.

Together, these components comprise a workflow.

How Ironclad helps you leverage workflows

Whether you call them workflows or standard procedures, your legal team and company already have a set of contract templates and business processes. That means your company is already working with workflows, but it doesn’t necessarily mean your work is streamlined.

Having workflows doesn’t guarantee that business runs smoothly. It’s automating workflows that helps you streamline your contracting process and move from being a reactive legal team to a proactive legal team.

In Ironclad’s Workflow Designer, our no-code contract automation tool, each of the four universal contract requirements described above maps to a fully configurable contract element.

From uploading the core contract template to specifying who should review a contract, and when, Workflow Designer gives legal teams the ability to codify their existing business processes and significantly reduce the amount of manual contract generation, processing and signature collection they have to do.

Contract workflows matter because they force legal teams to turn inconsistent, unpredictable contracting work into routine, structured and technology-enabled processes.

Many tools can codify existing contracting processes, but all of them require external or specialized implementation teams. Ironclad’s Workflow Designer lets legal teams do that on their own for the first time.

Learn how to fast track your contracting processes. For a personal demo of Ironclad’s Workflow Designer, go here.

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Stacey Wang is the Director of Product Marketing at Ironclad. Before Ironclad, she worked in Business Development at Palantir Technologies, and before that, she was a litigator at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. She is a California-licensed attorney and graduate of Harvard Law School.