A Closer Look at Contract Management Software Deployment Options
When it comes to contract management, nothing is more dangerous than a one-size-fits-all approach.
The benefits from switching from paper-based contract management systems to digital ones are undisputable. However, this doesn’t mean that your enterprise should jump into the first contract management software that it discovers. While there are several criteria to consider for evaluating vendors, deployment should be among the top two.
In this article, we will discuss some useful guidelines to evaluate deployment options from contract management system vendors.
Considering SaaS Implementation
Cloud computing is much more than just a buzzword, it is a way that companies can have considerable savings in IT costs. When it comes to contract management software, cloud computing allows the delivery of the platform as Software-as-a-Service or SaaS.
There are three main benefits from a SaaS deployment:
- Client doesn’t have to make any costly, upfront investment in servers or worry about continuous maintenance tasks.
- Client doesn’t have to worry about system upgrades and patches, and she can rest assured that she is working with the latest software version.
- Client can access software from virtually any computer as long as it is connected to the Internet.
When evaluating a contract management system, ask your vendors about cloud-based solutions. This will help you have a full picture of your options.
However, this doesn’t mean that SaaS is for everybody. All types of cloud-based deployment have a level of data virtualization, which means that all or part of your company data or applications lives on the servers of the vendor.
Certain industry regulations or company policies may make a SaaS deployment unrealistic. For example, if your company has proprietary data or applications that are unique, it would be difficult to sell the idea of having that hosted somewhere outside of company premises.
Under those circumstances, a Web-based application or a Windows-based application running within your infrastructure would be a better approach. Both of these deployment options leverage your enterprise’s firewall to ensure the highest level of data security and seamless operation with other corporate systems.
Planning Total System Integration
According to the Institute for Supply Management, “the average amount of current contractual files is between 20,000 and 40,000”. This is a 20% increase since 2009.
This statistic simplifies the importance of planning ahead for system integration, regardless your preferred type of software deployment. Your solution needs to not only be able to effectively process a big amount of data, but also “talk” with other systems as well. For example, you contract management software may draw client info from a contact list from a client management system.
This is why you should let a representative from all your departments take a look at your vendor proposal. They may have an unique insight that you may not have considered.
Avoiding Vendor Lock-In
This last criteria is key for the future of your company. When evaluating a vendor, you should consider:
- A company that can adapt to your company needs. The service needs to be scalable as your company grows remember that the number of contractual files is ever-growing.
- A company that already has experience in integrating additional systems. For example, Contract Logix embeds Sertifis electronic signature software within its system to providing customers with a complete on-demand e-signature solution for automating the contract through its entire lifespan. The more experience a company has with these type of integrations, the more likely that it can work with other vendors in the future.
- A company that doesn’t hold your data hostage. Make sure that your legal team reviews the fine print of your contract before you sign it. The contract should spell out that your data and applications belong to you and will continue to belong to you, even when you part ways with a vendor. If the company is not willing to modify or include this type of clause that is a red flag.
The benefits from an enterprise contract management system are clear. When evaluating a vendor, consider if SaaS makes sense for your enterprise, plan for total systems integration across departments and external third parties, and take steps to prevent vendor lock-in.