Your first reaction when you see reams of paper or contract document files on your computer is often “How do I get a handle on this?”  The typical answer that comes to mind is “Let me get a system that manages contracts.”

Then you start researching contract management systems vendors.

Yes, that is the ultimate way to get your hands around your contracts.  But, in order to choose a system that meets your needs, you first need to identify your needs.

We highly recommend you follow this 5 step process.

  1. Get a count of your active and inactive contracts
  2. Categorize them into the types of contracts (e.g. supplier contracts, partner contracts, etc.)
  3. Take the time and effort to go through a sample of them to find out what would you like to know from these contracts and make a list of all key data elements, by contract type.
  4. Write out some of the queries you would like to run on these contracts to make better use of them
  5. List out the feature set of the system.  Do you want to have workflow and authorization because many people contribute to the contract?  Do you want a collaboration room?  Do you want templates for contracts?  Who are the users? What does each of the users require?

Only once you have done your homework, and know what you want, would you be more successful in choosing and implementing a system that truly serves your needs.