Using the Cloud to Match your Contract Management Growth
A recent article in the Indianapolis Business Journal reports on the expansion plans of DTM Real Estate Services LLC — an expectation of growth that’s matched by (Small and Medium Businesses) SMBs throughout the country.
The 12-year-old DTM is focusing its growth strategy on managing and leasing foreclosed and distressed properties, and that initiative will require it to build new business relationships in that area of the market.
And that means DTM is going to be handling a lot more contracts.
DTM’s situation is hardly unusual. Most companies that are planning for fast growth also need to plan for the management of a rapidly increasing number of contracts.
So what can DTM and enterprises in a similar situation do to keep control over their contracts as they grow, without exploding their budgets?
Matching Cost to Growth
An SMB such as DTM that’s anticipating a growth surge probably realizes that it needs to expand its contract management system as it grows, particularly if it’s still using paper-based contract management processes. But that realization doesn’t mean that the company is able — or willing — to incur the upfront capital expense of investing in the hardware and software necessary to have a state-of-the-art enterprise contract management system.
And an SMB in DTM’s position may be understandably wary about committing capital expenditures before the growth actually occurs. After all, the best-laid plans can sometimes go awry.
The answer for these SMBs lies in the cloud. The SaaS model is ideally suited to the contract management of growing enterprises because an enterprise only pays for what it uses. If business — and the resulting contracts — start rolling in, a SaaS contract management solution can easily keep pace with that growth. But if expansion doesn’t occur as rapidly as expected, the cost of the software will likewise not grow as fast. Inherently, cloud-based contract management gives an enterprise just what it needs — no more, no less.
SaaS also means that the software is always the latest version — there’s no need for recurring upgrade costs.
Staying on the Same Page as Customers
Scalability isn’t the only benefit of a cloud solution for enterprise contract management. Using the cloud means that all a company’s employees, customers, vendors, and suppliers have 24/7/365 access to contract information that’s always up to date, no matter where they’re located. This visibility works to eliminate miscommunication, mistakes, and confusion.
This improved efficiency also fosters better customer relationships. In fact, with the ubiquity of cloud-based services, the lack of a cloud solution for the contracting process can leave customers dissatisfied — thinking that any company that’s not advanced enough to provide an easy-to-use, web-based portal for contract negotiation, modification, and signing very well might be behind the times in other critical areas.
In the business world of today, where digital collaboration and e-signature capabilities are commonplace, business partners and customers expect to conduct business electronically rather than with paper, and if that expectation isn’t met, a company has a marketing problem as well as a contract management problem.
Managing Contracts More Efficiently
As DTM and companies like it grow, the increased complexity and volume of their contracts can lead to costly mismanagement of those contracts if there’s not an adequate automated contract management system. But with such a system, the company can gather data to make better decisions, be sure to claim all allowed revenue, and avoid costly mistakes.
These internal efficiencies can be realized with on-premises software, but with far more risk to the company. Using SaaS contract management, a company can have a cutting-edge contracting process ready to accommodate growth without having to commit significant resources before that growth occurs.