Last Updated on October 27, 2020
Are you a contract manager for a large corporation? Or are you perhaps the owner of an SME (Small Medium Enterprise) that deals with customer and supplier contracts? Has your company implemented SaaS-based contract management software, or is it still a paper-based system?
There are many advantages to using contract management software, including cybersecurity, centralized storage, automated workflow process driving the contract signing, and access to the contract from anywhere in the world.
The salient point is not to answer the “why” questions; rather, it is to help you choose the best contract management software 2020.
Therefore, let’s look at the following tips to help you choose the contract management software application that best suits your company’s requirements.
1. The software must be SaaS-based or hosted in the cloud
SaaS or Software-as-a-Service is defined as subscription-based software that is hosted in the cloud. Subscribers pay a monthly or annual license fee based on the anticipated usage. Subscribers can upgrade or downgrade their monthly subscription based on real-time use. SaaS software is flexible in this regard.
Because the software is based on a cloud-computing model, it offers several benefits such as user access from anywhere in the world via secure login details, a centralized document or data repository, and the implementation of cyber-security best practice hardware and software solutions.
2. Secure data center
As described above, cybersecurity best practice methodologies are essential in the post-COVID-19 age.
The World Economic Forum published an article on their site, noting that a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s digital nature has increased the risk of cyberattacks. One of the most common cyberattacks plaguing the online world is what is known as ransomware.
In other words, a victim’s computer gets infected by a trojan or virus that encrypts the files on the hard drive. The only way to get this data back is to pay the ransom or money that the hacker is asking for in exchange for the other half of the encryption or the decryption key.
Hackers do not only target individuals and small companies. They also target large corporations. Garmin is the latest example of a multinational company hit by a ransomware attack on 23 July 2020. This affected the aviation industry, as well as Garmin sports watch users. In summary, all “website functions, customer support, and user applications were affected.”
These hackers did not steal the information they found on the Garmin servers. They encrypted it and offered to exchange the decryption key for a large sum of money. Garmin allegedly paid $10 million (USD) to these hackers.
Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the contract management application you sign up with has a secure data center and prioritizes the continual implementation of the latest cybersecurity hardware and software.
3. Usability and user experience
Another essential element to consider is how easy it is to use. Is the Graphical User Interface (GUI) intuitive and usable? Or is it challenging to navigate your way around the system when trying to perform the simplest tasks?
By expanding on this point, let’s consider the definitions of usability and user experience within the constructs of the contract management software application.
User experience (UX)
In summary, the user experience is defined as the result of an individual’s use of particular software, website, or product.
Let’s describe this concept further by assuming that you are testing a web-based contract management application. Therefore, your user experience translates into how you felt while interacting with the app’s GUI. Was the application easy to use? Did the different processes like the creation of a contract flow smoothly? Was it intuitive?
The answers to these questions are your user experience. If it was bad or negative, then the software designers and developers have to fix it. On the other hand, if your user experience was great, you would be more likely to use the software to manage your contract creation process.
Usability and user experience are closely allied to one another. However, they are also different. Usability is described as the “capacity of a system to provide a condition for its users to perform the tasks safely, effectively, and efficiently while enjoying the experience.”
In other words, a usable application results in a positive user experience.
4. Customizable or not
There are two primary schools of thought in the software development industry.
An organization’s business processes must adapt to fit the software model. In other words, the software model is based on a generic application of the problem. Therefore, the contract management software is designed and developed to fit a general contract management company. And companies must adapt their unique features to fit the available model.
The software is highly customizable to fit an individual company’s unique processes. Each business’s unique value proposition takes priority over the software’s contract management processes.
Note: The cost of a highly customizable product is likely to be substantially higher than the non-customizable product. But the ability to adapt the software model to the company’s business processes might outweigh the additional cost. It is really up to the individual company to determine which method suits its business model.
5. Real-time alerts
Contracts vary in size and monetary value. They also can include multiple interim deadlines that must be met before the contract concludes; ergo, the more complex the contract, the greater the risk of missed deadlines.
Missed deadlines usually translate into specific penalties. For example, if a construction company is contracted to build a new high-rise luxury hotel, payment for the world is traditionally spaced out, based on the completion of certain parts of the hotel, leading to the project’s completion. If the construction company misses a deadline, the hotel’s opening date will be delayed.
Juxtapositionally, if the hotel’s owner misses a payment, the builders will halt construction work while waiting for payment. Again, the hotel’s completion and opening date will be delayed, costing all the contract’s signatories time and money.
Therefore, it is in everyone’s best interests to ensure that all deadlines are met. And the way to achieve this is to check if the software you are thinking of using has a real-time alert function that notifies you that a deadline is coming up.