Easing Contractual Uncertainty: How to Propel Your Processes into a Place of Stability
COVID-19 is far from over, and uncertainty continues to reside within the collective consciousness of the business community. But many companies are beginning to approach – or at least consider – a phase of slow, steady recovery. It is within this space that uncertainty can further magnify, especially when we bring high-risk areas like contract management into the conversation. Carving out an effective risk mitigation strategy that will enable your business to effectively manage any contractual issues that rise during this recovery period may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be – not when you have the right tools on hand.
To reduce some of the ambivalence surrounding contract management in a post-COVID world, Open Windows would like to share the following insights with you.
Technology can help – but only to an extent.
Having access to a centralised, automated database of your contracts is one thing – and a handy thing, at that. But to facilitate proactive, ongoing risk management, your contract management system should make your contractual terms and documentation readily accessible and allow you to swiftly identify and tackle any associated risks.
Without these elements, your digital database remains just that – a database filled with volumes upon volumes of contracts. Finding specific contracts and their associated, numerous terms and clauses becomes unachievable, and accessing data that helps you track where the risk lies in each contract is impossible. By defining these requirements now, rather than waiting until you have implemented a solution that fails to deliver what you need, your efforts can be redirected to matters of strategy rather than mundanity.
Resist the urge to rush.
Effectively implementing a new contract management system requires careful, considered, collaborative planning.
Resist the urge to snap up the first automated solution you see. Do your research. The right technology is easier to implement and more cost-effective than you might think – go for the SaaS provider who will offer you more value and far less ongoing maintenance than the global provider, at a fraction of the cost. Meanwhile, communicate with your team and find out what they require in order to constructively contribute to this recovery period. This will mark the first step towards collaborative planning, which will go a long way in easing post-COVID uncertainty.
Support your team with more than lip service.
Evidently, the right technology will facilitate the development of an efficient, competitive and adaptive contract management process. But ultimately, it is your people who will help this process bloom.
Beyond regular communication and reminders that they are welcome to discuss any concerns or struggles with you, ensuring that each team member involved in the contract process has access to a system that suits their unique needs will go a long way. In theory this seems unfeasible – can a single contract management system really cater to all needs? In practice, the answer is yes! There are contract management systems out there that provide end-to-end functionality for procurement teams completing high-risk, high value activities, while facilitating a simplified, swifter platform for users who do not manage contracts as their primary role. The Open Windows CONTRACTS module and its Simple CONTRACTS custom feature, for example.
This bears repeating: communication with your team is crucial. Find out what your team needs and deliver it to them in the form of an appropriate, cost-effective contract management system. The heady combination of a productive, engaged team and agile, user-friendly software will propel your business into a far more stable place.
Featured image by Dusan Smetana via Unsplash.