5 Reasons to Use Forms for Intake of Contract Data

Email is among the top two alternatives to contract lifecycle management (CLM) software used by organizations across several industries. In the manufacturing industry, 79.64% of respondents to a Contract Logix survey indicated they used email for contract management processes. In the business services industry, the percentage of companies using email for contract management is even higher at 84.10%.

While email is indeed a useful way to gather contract data from clients and third parties, it can leave your organization exposed to risk. Here are five reasons why it is important to use forms instead of email for data intake.

  1. Clients Hate to Read

Have you ever wondered if your clients actually read your emails? Sometimes it seems as if they are purposely ignoring information. Well, they are.

According to several studies, individuals only read about one third of the text on a digital screen. One study from Microsoft even puts that statistic at 28%! Spending several minutes to an hour in a very detailed email chock full of instructions isn’t a good strategy because clients won’t read most of it.  A better approach is to provide a link to a form that clearly spells out the information you need to gather from them.

  1. Emails Are an Obstacle to Data Extraction

In the business services industry, 64.3% of respondents to another Contract Logix survey indicated that the inability to extract key data from contracts at least somewhat challenged contract management processes at their companies. A similar percentage of companies in the manufacturing industry pointed out the same issue.

The problem with emails is that communication can take several rounds. How many emails do you have with “Re:Re:Fw:Re:Re:Re:Re” as the subject?. Emails can also be spread out among several team members. Think of a “reply all” chain that eventually ends up as a two-person conversation. A great way to effectively centralize the data is to leverage customizable data intake forms that directly deliver and store the responses into your CLM software.

  1. Portability Matters

Across the world, more and more individuals report having a smart phone and using it as their main device to access the Internet. For example, 89% of Americans who use the Internet report owning a smartphone. That percentage is even higher in other nations, such as Canada, South Korea, and Australia.

With so many individuals using smartphones to access the Web, chances are your clients are doing it as well. Instead of mailing paper forms, waiting for your client to fill them, and receiving them back via snail mail, you could send a customized online form that will render appropriately on any screen size on any device with an Internet connection. Not only will your clients have the convenience of providing you information from any device such as a smartphone, but you will also reduce the leadtime to execute contracts.

  1. More Visibility of Contract Processes

Given that U.S. workers spend 6.3 hours a day checking email, anything that your organization can do to lower that number or empower your employees to get the most out of it is critical.

With your CLM software you can customize contract lifecycles to include tasks for data in-take and assign them to specific workers. The task will be assigned automatically and, once complete, it will trigger an automated notice for the next task. This saves your employees time of having to email another with “Did Mr. Smith provide the information?”, “Not yet”, or “Yes”. Another option is to create an alert on the dashboard of your CLM software that keeps track of this and other types of contract processes.

Greater visibility of contract processes is in high demand across all industries. In the manufacturing industry, 63.60% of U.S. individuals who are responsible for the creation, editing, and/or management of contracts indicated that scattered contracts created a challenge for their companies. By automating data intake with forms, you’re making the process more automated and visible.

  1. Security is Key

You will be hacked. Never think that your organization is too small or unappealing for cyber criminals. For example, the servers of Hawaiian Electric Industries operations were probed 60,000 times just in September 2016. That’s 2,000 times a day on the average!

Using forms for data intake increases the integrity of your contract information because the transmission of that data is encrypted. This way your employees don’t hold the risk of storing sensitive information on their email accounts and the data arrives directly to the database of your CLM software. This is just one of the many ways contract management software increases the security of your contracts.