Moving Contract Management to the Cloud

Cloud computing – software as a service – (SaaS) is revolutionizing the way businesses access and pay for software. The 2012 Cloud Computing Survey released on April 2 by the tech media company IDG Enterprise, found that “63% of organizations plan to increase their IT budget allocation for cloud computing initiatives over the next 12 months.” IDG projects that, within five years, one out of four organizations will be performing the majority of their IT operations on the cloud.

That move to the cloud is spurred by another fact uncovered by IDG’s survey: “The majority of organizations (63%) agree/strongly agree that there will be long term savings” from utilizing cloud solutions.

Contract management software usage is no exception to this trend. Indeed, contract management software is ideally suited to benefit from SaaS solutions, and it can be even more effective in terms of performance, as well as cost, when utilized via the cloud.

Ready Availability of Current Data

Enterprise Contract management software on the cloud allows anywhere/anytime access to data; all it takes is a browser and internet connectivity. This level of availability facilitates contract management because it allows for contract negotiation, completion, and updating “in the field.” Contracts can be managed on the go, without risky costly mistakes due to lack of the right information. Data centralization on the cloud ensures that all stakeholders in a contract are working from the same, always up-to-date contract versions — no matter where they are physically.

Secure, Speedy Control of Access

Contract management software on the cloud allows for centralized, consistent management of data access. When contracts are shuttled between parties across different platforms, access control for sensitive documents can too easily be compromised. When all permissions are managed through the same application and SaaS provider, access control can be more effectively enforced. Access can also be granted faster.

Cloud contract management essentially changes a contract from a document that’s being constantly transferred (with all the inherent risk in that) to a document that’s always “at home” and always protected from the wrong eyes.

Rapid Scalability

With a cloud solution,¬†enterprise expansion will not unduly stress the Enterprise contract management system. No additional hardware or software investments will be required in front of anticipated growth. With the cloud’s “pay as you use” pricing, the contract management resources an organization needs are delivered just-in-time.

Reliable, Cost-Effective Backup

Using the cloud eliminates the need for costly and logistically challenging in-house data backup. Contract data can be secured on fully redundant cloud servers, freeing IT staff from time-consuming data-backup responsibilities and opening up data-center space for other uses. Cloud data backup also enables quicker, more-reliable disaster recovery.

Reduced Electrical Use

The use of SaaS for functions such as contract management lowers electrical costs because of the reduction of in-house servers. (In addition to the savings, lowering electrical use also is a “green” strategy.) Pike Research, a clean-energy market research firm, projects in a recent report that “much of the work done today in internal data centers will be outsourced to the cloud by 2020, resulting in significant reductions in energy consumption, associated energy expenses, and GHG emissions from data center operations versus a business as usual (BAU) scenario.”

Takeaway

Many of the motives for using cloud-based contract management software are the same reasons SaaS makes sense for so many applications. But contract management is a particularly good fit for cloud solutions because of the need for constantly updated, easily accessible, and secure contract data. Organizations not already taking advantage of the cloud such look closely at doing so with their contract management.