The Role of Training in Contract Management Processes
Implementing contract management software leads to numerous benefits, such as shortened contract life cycles, negotiation support, lower processing and legal costs, increased revenue collection, and protection against expensive mistakes. Spurred by the increased availability and affordability of software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers of contract management software, enlightened companies are hastening to take advantage of these many advantages.
But before these benefits can be realized, enterprises must properly train staff and plan the execution, including integration with existing internal or cloud-based systems. Haste in this step will make successful implementation more difficult and lengthy in the long run.
Contract Management Training Required
For enterprises that have relied heavily on paper-based contract management — or who have been managing contracts through multiple, uncoordinated networks, applications, and hardware — making the switch to contract management software involves a significant adjustment. Proper contract management software training shortens the learning curve, helps prevent costly errors, and encourages employee buy-in to the change.
IT staff and end users will need general training on how the software works, as well as on how it will specifically impact the way each of them does their job. This focus on process change makes implementation go much smoother. To aid in this user-oriented training, first-rate providers of contract management SaaS offer online and on-site training solutions that can be designed for specific business uses and for users at all stages of adaptation.
As part of the effort to facilitate ongoing process improvement, the SaaS vendor also should consistently provide responsive and efficient customer support to supply guidance as IT and end users learn and fine-tune.
Integration Makes It Work
In an April 2012 blog post, Saurabh Sharma — a senior analyst with Ovum Ltd., a leading international IT market-research and consulting firm based in London — concludes that: “An often neglected consideration is the integration of SaaS applications with other on-premise and SaaS applications, and the need to avoid additional silos that can further increase the complexity of application integration. IT management must understand the details of SaaS integration before making a shift to the SaaS model of software delivery.”
If IT doesn’t have a clear, detailed plan for integration, the move to contract management software is likely to create new problems that require costly attention and that prevent full realization of the software’s potential. SaaS solutions make utilization of contract management software easier than ever, but careful consideration of technical details and feasibility remains critical.
However, integration is not only about avoiding problems with implementation — it also involves achieving synergistic benefits by aligning contract management software with applications used for other key business functions, such as customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, accounting, and human resources. By integrating the data collected by contract management software into these related systems, even more value is gained.
Enterprises should select contract management software that is flexible and easily customizable to expedite integration, as well as to accommodate changing needs. Top contract management SaaS providers also offer customized integration solutions for specialized situations.
Guidance Aids Change
For many enterprises, training and integration for cloud-based contract management software will be relatively straightforward and can be directed internally. But solid customer support and innovative solutions from a quality client-focused provider help speed and streamline the process. The vendor’s skill and experience can be put to use on the client’s behalf.
In more complex situations, a SaaS provider can provide essential consulting to ensure that functionality, training, and integration are all aligned with business objectives.
In all cases, companies should seek out a SaaS provider that is devoted to using its expertise to prepare clients to realize the maximum ROI from contract management software.