Contract Repository: What It Is & Why You Should Implement One
Businesses without a digital contract repository often struggle to maintain an effective organization system, leaving documents and vital information scattered across multiple locations and inaccessible. Contract repository software resolves these issues by centralizing your agreements, allowing you to store, view, track, and manage everything in one place. This method offers far more benefits than traditional storage means, such as Excel.
Traditional vs. modern contract repositories
Manual contract organization methods that rely on papers and emails are inefficient in this day and age. This method of tracking prevents stakeholders and legal departments from having access to needed key insights and information when they need them. Due to the ineffectiveness of conventional repositories, or lack thereof, many companies are transitioning to a smart contract repository, meaning that their documents will be securely stored on the cloud for easy access.
Let’s compare some of the differences between traditional and modern contract repositories:
When a business lacks intelligent contract repository software, they often opt for less efficient solutions for document management. For instance, it’s common for companies to file their important documents in cabinets, binders, and folders as a means of storage. Another common storage method is to use digital storage options that were not designed to be used as a repository. These include email attachments, digital PDFs and other files, Microsoft Excel, and Google Sheets.
The consequences of using traditional contract storage:
- Limited access to contracts
Traditional storage practices mean that your documents will take a long time to locate if you’re even able to locate them at all. Many contracts that aren’t stored efficiently end up lost because you can’t remember where the file was located or it was accidentally picked up by someone else.
- Lack of visibility and insights
Agreements can’t be interrogated for visibility into vital contract data such as obligations, service levels, and deadlines. Furthermore, you miss out on the ability to utilize insights from across your portfolio.
- Important benchmarks are missed
Organization is fundamental to a contract’s performance. When your documents are scattered across multiple locations, it’s difficult to manage them accordingly. As a result, your business will miss contract KPIs and other benchmarks because they aren’t performing as well as they would under effective management and storage practices.
- The risk of not meeting obligations
When you lack oversight of your portfolio, it becomes almost impossible to keep track of all of your obligations. When obligations aren’t tracked, they’re easy to overlook, resulting in fines and reputational damage.
- Inability to track contract amendments and versioning
When you lack visibility into contract versions, you will lose track of amendments. This means that your team may create several versions of the same document leading to confusion and disruption of workflows.
Modern contract management software comes fully equipped with an optimized contract repository to store all of your vital documents. These documents are stored securely on the cloud, offering advanced management capabilities for your contract portfolio. Since your past and existing contract data is in one location, you can easily access critical information anytime you need it.
How to implement an automated contract repository system
When you switch to a smart repository system, your business must locate its existing contract documents to migrate them into the centralized location. This involves dedicating resources to extracting and uploading critical data while ensuring that everything uploaded is the most up-to-date version. Depending on the complexity of your portfolio, this can be a time-consuming process. Luckily, contract management software speeds up this process while improving accuracy by helping you digitize documents and automatically extracting contract data.
Features to look for in a contract repository system
There are several vital elements to look for when comparing contract repository tools. When you implement a solution with the right features, keeping your documents organized will be a breeze, saving you time and money.
Here are some of the features you should look for when choosing a central contract repository solution:
- Native document viewer
A native document viewer capability gives you the ability to view any document format without having to switch between systems. For example, you can pull up a PDF and WordDoc file on the software without having to use Adobe or Microsoft Word.
- Hierarchical permissions
You may not want everyone on your management team to be able to view and edit all contract information. Hierarchical access controls ensure that only individuals with the correct permissions can access sensitive data that’s stored in your repository.
- Extraction capabilities
A contract repository solution should extract much more than just standard metadata. A smart platform can pull out information such as obligations, key terms, service levels, financial data, etc. all from your uploaded portfolio.
- Smart data analytics
Along with data extraction, your repository should convert the data into actionable insights. The best platforms analyze this information to create data visualization charts and customizable dashboards, making it easy to understand.
- Advanced search functions
Search capabilities allow you to look up keywords and identify matches across your entire portfolio. Search features can also lookup contracts according to vendors, location, date, etc.
- Business solution integrations
To maximize its potential, you should be able to use a contract repository with your pre-existing business solutions. Integration capabilities allow you to consolidate contracts and related data stored across your business platforms for easy access.
The benefits of having a secure contract repository solution
A smart contract repository is the foundation of any strong contract lifecycle management process. In today’s ever-growing business world, it’s important to ensure that your data is looked after accordingly to prevent damaging mistakes. With smart storage solutions, you can effectively reduce the amount of manual labor put into recording and tracking agreements which mitigate risks and ensure that you meet your KPIs.
Here’s how every business can benefit from investing in a digital repository:
- Access all contracting information in a single place
- Quickly locate critical data through search capabilities
- Achieve oversight of all third-party engagements
- Reduce time spent on manually completing administrative work
- Easily prepare for audits and reports by keeping all data on hand
- Improve your sensitive data security levels