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What Is Contract Administration?

July 5, 2019 2 min read
contract Lifecycle

Contract administration has the potential to impact all aspects of your business well beyond the legal team, from sales and business development to marketing. 

In short, contract administration involves the planning, negotiation, execution and performance of any contact with customers or vendors. The preparation and implementation of contracts has great potential for aligning mutually agreeable contracts that lead to positive business outcomes.

Depending on the size of a company, contract administration may fall to a team or an individual who specifically oversees contracts.

Understanding the Goal: Contract Creation

Contract administration begins with a thorough understanding of the optimal outcomes of a contract. Contract administrators set the scope of a project, outlining crucial deliverables from all parties, creating schedules, and determining how to measure performance throughout the duration of the contract. 

Contract administrators, and the legal teams that support them, must understand risks for each contract and clearly define the scope and outcome for the project to reduce the chance of disputes or future claims. The greater clarity and precision in a contract, the less likely modifications and amendments will be needed in the future.

Often, understanding the goal of contract administration includes identifying potential contractual partners through a request for proposal process and building contracts around these partners’ needs. Creating a workflow for these processes can not only eliminate the burden of manually inputting information for businesses with a high volume of contracts but also streamline processes and reveal efficiencies.

Authoring a Contract and the Negotiation Process

With an understanding of the involved parties’ needs, the desired outcome of a contract and clear expectations, a Legal team or other party writes a contract that outlines the agreement between all parties. Negotiations begin — often with a “redlining” process that enables each party to remove, exclude or modify portions of the contract before signing. 

Through the negotiation process, contract management software enables multiple parties to modify and negotiate on price, delivery schedule and performance expectations. From draft stage through redlining and tracking signatures, Ironclad’s robust editing simplifies and streamlines the negotiation process. 

Contract management software also provides real-time review and approval so appropriate representatives can authorize and execute the contract. For example, you can access legally binding electronic signatures through one of Ironclad’s seamless integrations, including HelloSign, DocuSign, Egnyte and Adobe Sign. 

Contract Execution Through Completion

After contract execution, a contract administrator or manager will follow the contract to evaluate performance and modify as needed, adhering to project milestones and heeding renewals or completion stages. 

As a contract administrator or management team, finding contract management software that securely stores contracts may not be a challenge — but quickly searching and sorting contract data could be impossible. With Ironclad’s Dynamic Repository, Legal teams can quickly unlock data in real-time using filters and categories to sort information and make crucial decisions.

Learn more about our secure contracting solutions.

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