What to Demand in a Contract Repository
When contract systems don’t embrace the next generation of digital contracting, it leads to massive disorganization and inefficiency. It’s important to demand the right features in a dynamic contract management repository that will save you time and redesign your entire workflow.
All past and present contracts and agreements are in one place, which makes them immediately searchable by project codes or metadata. With the right contract repository, you can even create binding agreements without lawyer review.
What is a contract repository?
A contract repository provides a space for the storage of files, as well as the various versions created over the life of the project. A contract repository secures all of your contracts, agreements, and documents in one place, giving them a flexible, searchable, and dynamic life of their own.
Why contracts are more data than documents
Today, contracts are more than just documents because not only do they contain voluminous amounts of contract data, they also require platforms that bring all your contract versions, conversations, redlines, and emails together when negotiating between parties.
A dynamic digital repository supports all types of contracts including,
- HR: Streamline employment offers and engagement letters
- Sales: Optimize insights and cycle times
- Legal: Fast track contracts with speed and accuracy
- Marketing: Accelerate funnels through evolving channels
- Finance: Gain real-time financial visibility over contracts
- Procurement: Align contracts with invoicing
In addition to what’s in the contract itself, a digital contracting platform can expedite every process required for contract generation, negotiation, approval, signature, and storage.
The more data, tagging, and project codes you can put into a dynamic contract repository, the greater the benefits will be. As opposed to Contract Lifecycle Management, a truly dynamic repository uses cross-integration to stay connected with internal systems and external stakeholders.
The importance of capturing contract metadata
Manually tagging metadata on individual documents is a thing of the past. Those traditional methods have been eclipsed by the speed and accuracy of instantly capturing metadata using cross-system integrations and AI.
Any document executed through Ironclad immediately collects metadata. Older contracts can also be brought into the repository using an auto-digitizing system. This can include all your third-party and legacy documents as well.
A contract’s metadata contains basic information such as:
- Type of contract
- Value of contract
- Names of the signatories
- Expiry date
- Renewal dates
Using this data, reminders and auto-renewal dates can be set without the necessity for unreliable memory prompts or tickler files. In addition, having this structured information keeps everyone in the loop at each stage of the process and allows participants to effortlessly:
The hidden opportunity of contract data
Contract data is a significantly underutilized source of business intelligence. Once data is collected, process automation can break down barriers and drive your business forward with unparalleled accuracy and productivity.
Contract metadata properly collected can gather critical information on every contract, workflow, and approval. For example, some of the information can include who’s in charge, what items are up for renewal, where regions are represented, total time in contract, which clauses are accepted, even time needed to secure signatures.
Ironclad employs a variety of self-help guides, user manuals, and online webinars to walk you through the hidden opportunities that a dynamic contract repository can have on your business and its fundamental demands.
Give contracts a life of their own
Cross-systems integrations boost productivity and lead to intelligent decision-making. Every contract has a life of its own, answering critical questions such as, who signed it, what it covers, who are the parties in question, what the terms and considerations are, the responsibilities of each party, waiver and liability, and payment structure if applicable.
A dynamic repository can also answer more abstract questions, like: What happens if I don’t do X? What are the results if I use X? Who is affected by changing X? What are the probable outcomes of using X? Manually searching for these outcomes leads to inefficiencies.
In terms of reviewing the same contracts multiple times and with multiple people and teams, a dynamic repository does away with those added steps. As a L’oreal executive recently noted, “Ironclad facilitates the signatures, the review process, the redlining, and negotiating—it really is seamless.”
Prevent revenue leakage
A dynamic repository can alert you to renewal dates coming up for each contract, if applicable. With this smart prompting, you will no longer lose valuable time and potential business by not being aware that a deadline is approaching or that a contract is up for renewal.
The importance of powerful security integrations
Contracts are the life-blood of every business and need to be secured and protected. Demand that your contract repository applies encryption to all data and uses powerful permissions to ensure that people only see what is needed. Ironclad has been SOC 2, Type II certified since 2017, and the cloud-based deployment using Google Cloud Platform for production servers enhances security at all levels.
Features that work with data repository
Reimagine and redesign workflows
The future of digital contracting has been working toward designing workflows that can be fast, easy, and simple. With already populated fields, standardized clauses, and straightforward drag-and-drop features, a contract repository can help users redesign workflows and create systems that work.
Ironclad’s Workflow Designer requires no prior coding or technical expertise. Instead of taking weeks or months to create contracts, users now have the power to build and launch contracts in minutes, including automated approvals and business processes.
Contract workflow creation can be as convenient as uploading a template, tagging the fields that need to be completed, and adding the people who will serve as approvers on the contracts and ultimately sign the completed document. Depending on the information elicited through questions, conditional contract clauses can be included upon demand.
Standardize contract clauses
Standardized contracts aim to shorten contract negotiations; for example, a contract that once took a week to complete now takes three to five business days. By utilizing standard contract clauses, the focus can be on the potential changes that need to be made. For example, suppose a clause relating to governing law needs to be swapped out. In that case, there is a standard response that can apply, and a contract repository can accommodate those changes instantly.
Accommodation is critical because contracts vary for each specific situation. It can be a challenge to capture all those variables in a single system. A dynamic repository solves that issue with innovative, proactive methods to capture data.
In one case study, the legal team at Mastercard adopted Ironclad to make its contracting process more practical and productive. By doing so, the company employed all available tools, trackers, and redesigned workflows to significantly free up time and increase capacity for its lawyers and generate more business overall. The managing counsel for Mastercard recently noted that contracts requiring 48 hours suddenly only needed 24 hours, something that could not be achieved without a dynamic contract repository.
Work on the most recent and correct version every time
The dynamic contract repository can generate multiple document versions while always keeping accuracy and speed at the forefront. For example, using various standardized clauses related to terms, conditions, and variables, as well as detailed multiple-choice questions to account for minuscule differences, a company can draft a suitable contract for any case it might encounter.
All these different variables mean that it is essential to work on the most recent revision of a contract. You don’t want to spend time editing a contract, only to find out that it wasn’t the most updated document. A dynamic contract respository can make sure you are always working on the correct version of the contract.
Save valuable legal time
Imagine creating and negotiating binding legal contracts while avoiding the expense of a legal department, team, executive, or partner taking the time to review all contracts. For one such company, by developing a three-step process consisting of the initial contract launch, a counterparty form where the party could agree or disagree with terms, and finally, the signature page, it was possible to mitigate legal expenses significantly.
Ironclad’s Workflow Designer also assists companies by ensuring that contracts are in legal compliance as well as organizational compliance, all without the cumbersome requirement of manual review. Working with the knowledge that there is only one place where all contracts are stored, users can access the most up-to-date templates and generate contracts with the confidence that their documents are 100% in contract compliance.
Ask the right questions
Multiple-choice questions can be used to guide business users through the process of creating their own contracts. It is also useful to ask questions that elicit as much customer information as possible. Questions can inform stakeholders and set expectations for a user. For example, a question could signal that a contract becomes valid five days after signatures.
Help your future self by answering contract questions now so you can pull that information when needed, perhaps for things you haven’t even thought of yet.
Ironclad received the award for Contract Lifecycle Management For All Contracts, Q1 2021 from the leading independent analyst publication, The Forrester Wave™, in 2021. Ironclad was also named one of the 20 Rising Stars on the Forbes Cloud Top 100 Companies.
An Ironclad digital contracting platform with a dynamic contract repository can connect your data with the people and processes needed to launch contracts forward into the 21st century. Digital contracting enables you to unlock the critical business intelligence that lives within a contract with a searchable, dynamic repository that is centralized and designed to help answer questions in mere seconds. Ironclad is the key to operational efficiency and cross-functional collaboration. Give it a try today with a free demo.