How Contract Redlining Software Simplifies Contract Management

Contract redlining requires lots of patience and close attention to detail. You need the right technology on your side to make sure your changes or comments are accurate. But you can’t take too long ⁠— a lengthy contract review process costs your business money. Large organizations lose an average of $215,000 each day during the contract process. 

Important initiatives, or the work of entire departments, may be put on hold just because a contract negotiation is still ongoing. It’s crucial that you not only speed up workflows but have the right tech tools to help you do it. Otherwise, you may be missing out on opportunities to boost your bottom line.

Using a red pen on a hard copy is cumbersome, and so is using a tracking function on a digital word processor. These methods can open your company up to security risks, and it makes collaboration a headache. Even while these may be the more traditional and familiar methods of contract editing and redlining, they’re out of date and make the process unnecessarily complicated.

Contract redlining software provides much greater flexibility than hard-copy redlining. Using a software solution will improve your workflow and help you complete negotiations faster. These programs have been built specifically to assist with redlining, so they take into account the intricacies and roadblocks that legal departments face when managing and redlining contracts, including communication, organization, collaboration, ease of use, accessibility, and much more.

So what are the specific ways that contract redlining software helps improve the review and management processes? What is a redlined document? And what does it mean to redline a document? In this article, we’ll cover the top contract redlining challenges‌ when learning how to redline a contract, and what the right software can do to improve the contract management process.

Contract redlining challenges

Efficiently managing and redlining legal documents require smooth workflows. When the organization is able to handle contracts quickly and efficiently, the legal department isn’t always forced to play catch-up. 

One report found that between 60% and 80% of business transactions are governed by contracts, and 18% of the sales cycle is consumed by contract processes. So, streamlining contract management will impact many other business functions ⁠— not just the legal department.

When you start redlining a contract, you might be tempted to grab a red pen and a hard copy, or to open up Word. Redlining contracts requires careful focus so that legal teams can make comments and suggestions directly in the document for review by other parties. But there are some issues with the traditional processes. Here are things you might find yourself dealing with:‌

  • Coordination: Logistics can be a major headache. There are multiple departments and team members across companies involved in contract negotiations.
  • Decentralization: Storing contracts in multiple locations, whether they’re physical or digital, makes it hard to know which version is final. Decentralization also runs the risk of losing important redlines or overlooking critical language when storing and sending contracts.
  • Compatibility: Companies involved in negotiations probably won’t be using the same tools or devices when redlining documents. That means it can be challenging to ensure that comments and redlines will be transferred properly when exchanging files. For example, is all the work done through Word’s Track Changes going to show up on Google Docs for iPhone?
  • Editing tools: Some legacy team members within your company may be drawn to redline contracts the old-fashioned way—with pen and paper. While this may be going out of fashion, if members of your team prefer hard-copy redlining, you have to worry about printing supplies and actual red pens. You have to know where these physical tools are to do the work. The more you work, the more supplies you’ll need. And printing and mailing can take up lots of extra time the team just doesn’t have.
  • Clarity: When a document is redlined to death, it can quickly become challenging to actually read the changes and comments. It’s easy to overlook mistakes or issues when this happens.
  • Security: Sometimes you need to secure a contract document to protect it from any further changes. If you’re using basic text editors like Word, it’s pretty easy to bypass these protections — it can be as simple as copying and pasting the locked content into another document.
  • Contract sharing: One of the most precarious parts of contract management is document sharing. Using email to share contracts can quickly cause changes to be lost forever. Redlines may not be visible. Comments may be overlooked.
  • Accessibility: Often, redlined contracts need to be referenced and accessible in a moment’s notice. If something goes wrong with a deal or a team member needs to know what rights they have, contracts need to be readily available to those who need them. Instead of having to dig through a filing cabinet or email across departments to get a copy, legal teams need a solution so that they can find and access contract documents quickly.

These are the top challenges that companies across industries deal with when trying to negotiate and redline contracts. Fortunately, there’s a simple answer: using a contract redlining software that handles all these issues for you.

How Contract Lifecycle Management software improves the process

New technologies are introduced every day that improve office workflows. From artificial intelligence to machine learning to automation, processes can be streamlined like never before. Digital platforms are being released and improved every day that aim to make office life easier and more efficient. 

Better processes and systems mean more productivity, and more profit, so many businesses are investing in upgrades to their old ways. From HR to IT, from Sales to Legal, companies are automating and improving like never before.

Contract management is no exception. There are now redlining tools that help you collaborate, communicate, and negotiate more efficiently than ever before. Contract automation allows you to streamline and improve practices by eliminating time-consuming tasks that were taking up too much employee time, like data entry, document review, or spelling and grammar checks.

Let’s walk through some of the key benefits of using a contract redlining software like Ironclad when you go to redline legal documents:

  • User-friendly interface: No matter what tools contract negotiators are used to, Ironclad Editor is easy to master. There are no steep learning curves ⁠— everything is intuitive and straightforward. These tools make it easy for all team members to improve review and management, regardless of experience level.
  • ‌Integrations with other tools: Ironclad’s contract redlining software easily pairs and integrates with your other business tools, including Microsoft Word. You no longer have to worry about losing information or comments in document transfers.
  • Tracking capabilities: Ironclad’s software allows you to track each and every change you make to a contract, just like Track Changes. But with Ironclad, there’s only one version to keep tabs on, since the document isn’t saved on personal devices or desktops.
  • ‌Shared platform: Collaborate with colleagues and departments by sharing one tool to redline contracts in Ironclad Editor. All they have to do to see the most recent version of a document is use the shared platform.
  • ‌Tagging capabilities: With Ironclad, you can tag colleagues in comments or changes so they can see them right away and respond in moments.
  • ‌Real-time updates: Any changes you make to an agreement are instant, and anyone looking at the document can see them in real-time with the Workflow Designer. You never have to worry about someone editing or referencing an out-of-date version.
  • ‌No version confusion: When the living document is the only version of a contract to manage, there is no confusion about which redlines are old or new. Everyone is on the same page, literally.
  • ‌Import and export Word docs: With a DocX-native software like Ironclad, you can upload Word documents and start editing, and then export them again as Word documents.
  • ‌Cloud-based: Cloud storage and collaboration are becoming the norm for modern companies. When your colleagues are working remotely, the cloud offers much-needed flexibility. They can access company information from anywhere with an internet connection and on any device.
  • ‌Facilitate signatures: Finally, you can redline the contract, accept all changes, and send the document for signatures, all in one place. You don’t have to worry about converting a file and uploading it to a signature tool—this is all done for you in the software.

Get the right contract redlining software with Ironclad

Ready to improve the way you approach redlining a document? Ironclad is a comprehensive contract management platform used by major companies like L’Oréal, Staples, Fitbit, Mastercard, and many more.

We recognize that, to run an efficient and successful business, you need to speed up the contract negotiation, redlining, and coordination processes. Our software does just that. With the right tools at your fingertips, redlining a contract has never been easier.

Ironclad is the only software out there that can handle any type of contract you’re working on, whether it’s an NDA, a new sales contract, or new hire paperwork. We help you leverage the right technologies to improve and enhance your workflows. 

The Ironclad Editor helps you collaborate, keeping all your team’s information in one place that you can access from anywhere. 

Sign up for an Ironclad demo to learn more about how we help companies cut contract processing time by 80%.

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