Managing Contracts Remotely During COVID-19
Contract management systems have shifted online during the present COVID-19 pandemic. What does it look like to manage contracts effectively while working remotely?
How can we adapt contract management systems to this new, and constantly changing, environment while optimizing efficiency and productivity?
Pandemic-triggered business changes
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies around the globe to rethink business operations as millions of employees are working remotely. Travel, conferences, in-person meetings, consultations, and interviews have all been suspended.
Contract management helps businesses work and conclude contracts during COVID-19 with:
Real-time communication features
Communication and collaboration have proven to be a challenge during the pandemic. With the increase in remote work from COVID, it was nearly unfeasible for teams to work together on company projects. However, thanks to contract management tools, teams can now communicate with one another and work on contracts together from the safety of their own home.
It can be difficult to manage deadlines and obligations when you’re not in the office. The pandemic has also been an era of chaos and confusion, with many things to distract you from your important business commitments. CLM systems allow you to send and receive notifications about upcoming deadlines, renewals, and obligations, so you never lose touch with what matters.
Data and analytics
Many businesses took a hit from COVID and remote work, seeing a decrease in profits and efficiency. However, when you efficiently manage your contractual data and analytics with a smart platform, you can keep your company’s performance on track. With contract management software, you gain insight into your KPIs, overall risk level, number of agreements, and profit margin so you can keep track of your business relations.
Cloud-storage has seen a huge increase in the post-pandemic business world. It allows every user to access the cloud-data anytime and anywhere. This means that even though your team is working from home, they can still view and edit contracts and other documents to keep your business going during the pandemic.
How the pandemic has already affected business
The pandemic has affected businesses of all scales, from freelancers to small family-owned businesses to multinational corporations. The future is uncertain, as it is unclear when international travel can resume on a “normal” scale and pandemic regulations vary greatly by region and country.
While the changes due to COVID-19 were not necessarily anticipated or welcome, businesses must creatively adapt in order to succeed. Accordingly, the developers and users of contract management tools and contract management solutions must adjust in order to thrive in this new environment. Change, even unprecedented change, can also provide opportunities for growth and innovation.
Digitization is indeed the future, and the current pandemic has made digitization necessary on a grand scale.
No business owner was expecting to have to shut down their operations or shift their workforce online, meaning that many companies were ill equipped to handle the changes that came along with the pandemic. Because of this, many businesses suffered more losses than they should have during this difficult time. This means that many companies closed down, or had to significantly cut down their operations to avoid closure.
Some of the business changes due to COVID-19 include:
- Declines in product and service demands
- Supply chain interruptions
- Supply shortages
- Government-mandated closures
- A shift to online operations
- Reduced hours and wages
- Significant layoffs, and furloughs
These are just a few of the challenges that modern businesses faced due to the pandemic. However, these challenges have paved the way for new business solutions that allow companies to boost their efficiency and streamline their operations, even after the pandemic. Having the ability to adapt to these significant changes and work remotely has saved many businesses from closing due to profit losses. Technology has made it possible for the market to slowly shift back to normal.
One of the most beneficial tools that has seen an increase in popularity since the start of the pandemic is the contract lifecycle management system. Contracts are the backbone of businesses, so teams had to find a way to manage them during the pandemic to avoid significant losses. CLM allows companies to resume their contract management operations by providing the means to collaborate, track, edit, and store contracts on a single technology-driven platform.
Accordingly, today’s contract management systems must operate a completely digital process and offer users flexibility and transparency. The companies who do this best, and in a proactive manner, will be the ones to succeed moving forward and will be poised to the contract management innovators of the future.
How to manage contacts remotely during COVID-19?
As we all know, remote work poses challenges to regular business practices, including contract management. Complications may arise in terms of collaboration and communication.
Colleagues who are accustomed to face-to-face meetings and processes that occur in a physical office space must adjust to video meetings and more time spent online and tied to electronic devices.
The process of managing contracts remotely during a pandemic
There may also be challenges regarding access to resources; not everyone has a private, functional home office that contains the necessary IT tools and capacities to operate various aspects of contract management systems. In fact, not everyone has guaranteed childcare during the pandemic.
Additionally, basic access to the internet is not a given, thus the pandemic exacerbates pre-existing social inequalities. This leads companies to ask what are fair and reasonable expectations for employees during the pandemic, and afterward?
What conclusions need to be drawn?
Contract management users may also experience additional delays, inaccuracies and even issues of non-compliance as both processes and employees adjust to the new reality. However, necessary adaptations can result in future benefits.
For instance, contract management systems must now include multiple ways for clients and for colleagues to communicate on digital platforms.
Ensuring that multiple effective avenues of communication exist will only strengthen contract management systems in the long-run. Time differences, childcare, home environment and health factors must all be taken into account; therefore, the contract management systems’ workplace is, out of necessity, more inclusive of everyone’s needs.
Strengths that CLM tools should accord to
Of course, contract management tools must still meet the needs of clients and of companies, even amidst the pandemic. Especially as the situation continues, clients will look to the companies offering flexibility and adaptability when it comes to contract management tools and solutions.
These strengths need to be communicated simply and directly. For instance, offering multiple modalities of connection is highly recommended. Clients should feel they have a choice, and a voice, in terms of the manner and frequency of their communication with contract managers.
Unexpected Pandemic Remote Effect
Whether meetings shift to video calls, digital “walk-in” hours are added, chat functions expanded, or workspace collaboration tools are developed, contract management systems must meet clients in a plethora of ways.
While working completely remotely, and in isolation from clients, is new for many employees, adjusting to this reality will reap rewards after the COVID-19 pandemic passes. In fact, many businesses are finding that their workforce is more efficient and more agile during the pandemic than expected.
For some, productivity has increased during remote work as opposed to regular operations. Contract management systems can take advantage of this productivity and continue to be innovators in the field.