Oracle 10g/11g Data and. You must have the IMP_FULL_DATABASE role in case you are planning to. This is the most common way of loading exported spreadsheets.
Most business relationships begin with a contract that spells out how business will be done. It could be a formal contract, like the one drafted by a team of lawyers, or an informal one, such as the agreement between a customer and an e-commerce retailer. Contracts spell out how revenue will be generated, and what each party's recourse will be if expected outcomes don't happen. Yet, even though contracts are so important, it is still surprising how many companies manage their contractual processes by using a clumsy combination of emails and printed documents. The files could all have different document formats or even be stored in multiple locations, many of which are only known to those directly involved in the business relationship.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms have revolutionized this process, having created today's contract management industry. Contract management software unifies all of the parties, contracts, and versions involved in contract negotiations in a trusted medium in which all parties see changes and can track the timeline of a contract from inception to signing. The best platforms, like many of those included in this review roundup, also provide detailed reporting and analytics, intelligent notifications, and a wealth of ongoing management and workflow automation features to boot.
These digital services also range in complexity. Some platforms have broader applicability and can be completely customized depending on an organization's needs. Others hone in on simplicity, servicing a few select contract management use cases and business verticals. In this review roundup, we've included products on both ends of the spectrum. Depending on your organizational requirements and contract management needs, any one of these platforms has the potential to transform the way your business handles contracts.
In the past, contract managers often kept all of their documents in physical file cabinets and maintained lists or spreadsheets of an entity's different agreements, with a few key terms and dates noted.
This style of contract management can lead to a host of problems. Contracts could be misfiled or taken from the cabinet and never returned. The contract manager could leave the organization after implementing a system that does not make sense to future managers. Audits could paralyze the manager with extraordinary amounts of work. Records could be too numerous to effectively manage. This could result in costly, unintended renewals to automatically go into effect or certain intellectual property (IP) rights to lapse.
The heavy burden of contract management—and the risk that purely human management poses—has led many entities to implement contract management systems. These services often promise time savings for managers, long-term reduction in costs, increased auditability, future stability, and reduction in risk.
In response to the increase in demand, a host of contract management systems have entered the market. Hundreds of contract management systems now exist. They all offer services that help distinguish them from their competition, while ensuring that the core needs of a contract manager are met.
In today's market, contract management systems can take many forms. Some are for the sole proprietor who is trying to keep track of the few core contracts that keep his or her business afloat. Others are for large teams who are maintaining the thousands or even millions of contracts that accompany multinational corporate behemoths. Financial and legal departments are, unsurprisingly, the most prevalent users of contract management software. However, these solutions extend into a number of other business scenarios as well.
Sales teams might integrate a contract management system with their customer relationship management (CRM) platform to manage sales contract renewals and negotiations on anything from manufacturing contracts to car leases. Businesses might employ contract management software in the supply chain to handle supplier and distribution deals with vendors or tie into all of the contracts that keep inventory stocked and retail operations smoothly running.
All contract management systems help departments tied into their enterprise resource planning (ERP) operations to manage agreements with third parties. A company's human resources (HR) department might integrate its HR Information System (HRIS) with a contract management platform to automatically handle employment contracts, terminations, and employment and benefits agreements. The use cases go on and on. Contract management is useful just about everywhere in a business.
At its most basic, contract management often centers on four key functions: contracts must be stored, key provisions must be tracked, a system must exist to find a contract based upon specific criteria, and information contained within or implicated by the contracts must be understandable or reportable. The abridged version: Contracts must be stored, tracked, searched, and reported.
These core functionalities are often what drive the features of the different contract management systems on the market. Nearly every system offers an extensive repository that holds copies of contracts (often remotely) in virtual file cabinets so the documents can never be lost. The systems often offer the ability to input data related to the contract in tags and key terms so that information can be quickly discovered and alerts can be set to warn managers of impending, important events. The data added to the system for tracking purposes usually also serves an additional purpose: to facilitate the finding of particular contracts or groups of contracts that meet certain criteria. Lastly, that contract data can be aggregated in numerous ways to help give a bird's-eye view of the state of the entity's contracts.
For the contract management systems we reviewed, the greatest emphasis in each review was placed on these core functions. All of the following questions helped guide the review process in order to provide a common core upon which to evaluate. Namely:
However, beyond these core functions, contract management platforms have evolved a great deal since the first time we tested these products. These platforms have become full contract life cycle management solutions. More advanced contract management features they now have include rich editing, formatting, and document management capabilities as well as customizable templates for repeatable contract creation. Many of the platforms feature more polished user experiences (UXes) with drag-and-drop functionality, action-based triggers, and automated logic to facilitate smarter workflows and notifications. Plus, many offer granular access control for various users and parties.
Auditability and dynamic multi-party collaboration are also key and included in many of these systems. The best contract management software gives both internal users and external parties permissioned ability to make changes to different versions of contracts, chat and comment on specific provisions to negotiate terms, and go through the signing and execution process—all in one place. To do this, however, a full audit trail is required. This audit trail should include inline change management and annotation, version control, and a full transaction log that shows every change made to every single contract and by whom.
We found how each platform tackles electronic signing can also vary. Some solutions offer native e-signing within the product while others offer integrations with services such as Adobe Sign and DocuSign. Still other vendors offer both options and let the organizations choose the e-signing option that works best for them.
Poor contract management could be costing your business money. According to a report from SpringCM, 64 percent of companies say that contract approval processes are causing deals to stall. The biggest barrier faced by companies, according to the survey, is the lack of processes to manage and move along contracts. Sixty percent of companies are using email to manage contracts while only 32 percent of companies are using a contract management tool. Six percent of companies say they have no contract management process in place at all.
SpringCM surveyed 1,409 respondents, 32 percent of whom are from companies of fewer than 100 employees and 16 percent of whom are from companies of more than 8,000 employees. Ninety-two percent of contract management errors are attributed to humans, according to the respondents. Therefore, the more automated your contract management system is and the more aspects of the end-to-end contract life cycle it can oversee, the less chance there will be for a snag that holds up the approval process.
The length of the typical contract cycle for survey respondents was between one and two months (33 percent). Twenty-two percent of respondents say their contract cycle lasts longer than four months. Twenty percent of respondents say that using contract management software has saved their business money.
Image credit: SpringCM
The elephant in the contract management room is blockchain. This distributed computing technology provides an immutable foundation upon which a new generation of systems is being built. It gives all parties in any type of digital transaction an equal playing field. Everyone agrees upon the rules. Plus, every single asset or transaction on that field has a unique cryptographic signature that's stored across a worldwide network. Within this network, everyone sees the same proof of what happened. Every transaction includes the immutable history of what came before it.
Think of blockchain as a sort of distributed operating system (OS) for data: a historical fabric underneath everything you do online. On top of this OS are blockchain's killer apps: smart contracts. Smart contracts are a set of rules evaluated by an automated system in which all parties agree to a common rule set. They are a computerized version of an English-language paper contract, with a level of automation that essentially provides Adjudication-as-a-Service.
Blockchain and smart contracts have not yet reached mainstream adoption. However, in the next several years, this tech has the potential to completely upend how contracts are managed and executed. Uses cases for smart contracts include identity management, recordkeeping, complex multi-party agreements, and transactions from mortgages, land titling, supply chain management (SCM), and auto insurance. The current contract management landscape and the products reviewed in this roundup do not currently support blockchain infrastructure or smart contract functionality. However, in the next few years, the entire legal industry—contract management vendors included—will be dealing with how smart contracts have transformed the construct of a digital agreement.
Image credit: Capgemini Consulting
There are a number of contract management solutions that offer highly customizable, feature-rich systems. Some of these systems can be scaled to smaller groups but they provide systems and features that can be better utilized by large entities. Not to mention that the price tag that will likely be involved can often be better handled by groups with deeper financial pockets. On the other side of the contract management market are those solutions that are more refined in the services they offer. These options often address a particular issue faced in contract management. In general, these systems often come with more manageable costs for smaller groups that have fewer users.
The systems in this roundup were chosen in order to review a diverse sample of the products on the market—from long-established services to startups, and from those trying to provide a product for everyone to those trying to solve an issue for a specific type of company. As a living and breathing document, some of the tools listed in this review roundup today may not be listed in a year, as scores may change and new products may be added to the roundup. As you try solutions, check in with us to see if any new software has been added to this roundup.
Pros: Extensive customization. Advanced contract life cycle management features. Detailed reporting and analytics. Granular user access control. Helpdesk and Workflow BPM modules included. Salesforce integration. Easy-to-use wizards and Help resources. Free plan for SMBs.
Cons: Unlimited customization can be daunting.
Bottom Line: Agiloft is the most customizable and arguably the most feature-packed contract management platform we tested. Whether you're a small business or a large enterprise, Agiloft is a chameleon that can adapt to your needs.Read Review
Pros: A genuinely unique, guided contract creation process based on a tailored interview-based questionnaire. Native, electronic signature. Solid reporting and analytics. Task management. Strong email alerts. Offers online contract drafting portal that doesn't charge for external users.
Cons: Requires more involved initial setup and implementation than other tools. User interface outside the interview process can be a bit clunky.
Bottom Line: Updraft is a powerful contract management platform with a natural, questionnaire-based contract creation process that stands alone in its ease of use, making Updraft an Editors' Choice for legal departments looking for an efficient contract creation platform with comprehensive admin oversight.Read Review
Pros: Intuitive, Gmail-like interface. Rich contract authoring and formatting editor. Strong contract collaboration and negotiation features. Track changes, version control, and full contract audit history. Native eSigning. Custom user groups and granular contract access.
Cons: Customization is limited. Lacks deeper workflow automation. Analytics and reporting are serviceable, not spectacular.
Bottom Line: Concord is an impressively well-designed Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) app that handles the contract management lifecycle with ease, combining excellent contract authoring and collaboration with deep auditability and a user experience that's second to none.Read Review
Pros: Best-in-class contract life cycle management. Native collaboration and contract negotiation. Audit trail and transaction histories. Solid reporting and contract analytics. Extremely customizable with a plethora of integrations.
Cons: Expensive. No contract authoring.
Bottom Line: Onit Contract Administration and Contract Review & Approval is a feature-packed, customizable platform for managing, negotiating, and executing the end-to-end contract lifecycle.Read Review
Pros: Simple user interface and contract storage. Unlimited users and alerts. Strong search and OCR capabilities. Comprehensive security and granular permissions.
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Cons: No contract authoring or built-in editing capabilities. No workflow automation. Limited collaboration and reporting.
Bottom Line: ContractSafe is a contract management platform that's simple by design and focused on secure storage, search, and tracking of contracts with deadline-oriented alerts.Read Review
Pros: In-depth, commerce-driven reports and analytics. Intelligent optimization recommendations. Audit trail and version control. Strong contract collaboration and negotiation functionality. Granular search, contract filters, and user access controls.
Cons: Narrow focus on spend management and procurement contracts. Only available component of a larger enterprise subscription. Expensive solution not geared toward small business use.
Bottom Line: Coupa Contract Lifecycle Management is a specialized contract management platform designed for enteprises overseeing complex spend management and procurement operations. It's a feature- andt offer contract authoring or any collaboration, negotiation, or e-signing features. No approvals or workflow automation. User experience somewhat dated. Additional user licenses for large organizations can get pricey. No Mac support. No direct integrations.
Bottom Line: For organizations preferring a locally downloadable option, Blueridge Software Contract Assistant is an easy-to-use and dependable alternative to cloud-based contract management services. It provides good storage and search features plus a high degree of customization.Read Review
Pros: Intuitive mobile-optimized user interface. Easy contract storage and tracking. Unlimited users and alerts. Drag-and-drop approval workflows. Document collaboration and sharing. DocuSign integration.
Cons: No contract creation. Categorization is limited to basic folders and custom fields. No native contract viewing or OCR search. No recurring notifications.
Bottom Line: Contract Hound is a well-designed and simple-to-use contract management platform with some nifty features such as drag-and-drop approval workflows. It's a great alternative to heavy-duty enterprise tools for straightforward, no-hassle contract storage and tracking.Read Review
Pros: Easy to use. Unique tagging and template categorization for contracts. Strong document storage and security features. Native eSignature. Granular user access controls. Audit trail.
Cons: No contract creation. Not focused on contract negotiations. Reporting features are somewhat sparse. No version control or workflow automation.
Bottom Line: ContractWorks is an intuitively designed storage, tracking, and signing platform for securely managing contract documents. It's not a solution for the full contract management life cycle and it's not trying to be.Read Review
Pros: Offers a highly customizable and feature-rich solution. Full-featured free trial.
Cons: Customization can be burdensome to set up and manage.
Bottom Line: CobbleStone Systems Contract Insight is a highly customizable contract management system available as an on-premises solution or as a managed cloud service. Its plethora of features, however, can be complex and difficult to navigate for some.Read Review
Pros: Very user-friendly. Easy to learn. Offers helpful pop-up guides. Provides the core functionality expected of a contract management system.
Cons: The cloud-based system does not have unlimited storage at all levels of service.
Bottom Line: Mitratech Getting Contracts Done (GCD) offers a great balance of customization and ease of use, and It provides all of the core contract management functions needed for most small to medium-sized organizations.Read Review
Pros: Highly customizable and easily navigable system for core contract management functions. Includes plenty of extra, helpful features that allow for automation of business processes.
Cons: Price could be steep for smaller organizations. No trial is available.
Bottom Line: Gimmal Contract Management provides a solid though expensive service that customers can tailor to their needs via extensive customization and a wide breadth of features.Read Review