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Last updated on January 31st, 2019 at 06:13 am

A cloud-based contract management system can help you improve your workflow efficiency, increase automation, and make it easier to collaborate with your strategic partners. 

However, before making this transition, you need to make sure all of your current contracts and templates are organized. You will not be able to take full advantage of the new system if your files are a mess.

Preparing Your Files

A new contract management system will only work as well as the data you import into it.

You needto address questions, such as:

  • Where are your contracts currently stored?
  • What naming conventions do you currently use?
  • Do you have templates you plan to use?

If you do not have a consistent naming convention, take the time to create one before you upload all of your existing files to the new system. Update all of your old contracts with the new naming convention. Double check that you know the current digital location of all of your contracts.

Dealing with Your Metadata

In addition to dealing with your contracts, you also need to organize your metadata. Many organizations use Excel to keep track of information such as critical dates, parties to the contract, location, and type of contact.

You will be able to import all of this metadata into your cloud-based contact management system. However, you need to make sure that the metadata is complete and consistent for each contract.

For best results, you want every date in the metadata to be formatted mm/dd/yyyy. You also want to make sure that details like state and postal code are entered for each contract. This make sure that your contracts and metadata are importedcorrectly and that your contracts are easy to find in the new system.

If you have metadata fields missing, the new system may automatically insert a placeholder that can cause confusion when trying to run reports or perform searches. You can always correct metadata after the new contract management system has been implemented, but it will faster and easier to correct your metadata before you import everything.


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Consolidating Your Contracts

Before implementing contract management software, you need to consider the most effective way to store your contracts so that they are secure and accessible. The more organized your contracts are, the easier it will be to upload everything to the new system.

Consider tagging documents with keywords relevant to the information in the files. This will make it easier to search for specific contracts in the new system.

File Format

If you plan to move all of your contracts over to your new contract management system, be sure to convert them into a file format that is compatible with the new software.

Typically, PDFs are optimal. You will get more out of the new contract management system if all of your contracts are in PDF format. Taking the time to convert all of your contracts to the same compatible file type will payoff once the new system is in place. 

Gather Templates

Gather all of the contract templates into one place and update them before you implement the new contract management system.

If you don’t have templates, consider creating contract templates for common types of agreements in the new system. This will improve your efficiency and make all of your agreements with vendors, customers, and others more consistent.

Training

Training your team for the adoption of new contract management software is the most important step to ensure a seamless and efficient implementation.

You should be sure that all employees understand how to operate the new software and that they are familiar with any new storage or naming procedures that are being established. Moreover, you need to establish a clear workflow that employees can easily and effectively follow. This could involve delegating specific tasks to certain individuals and designating a few employees as leaders who can answer questions regarding the new software.

Rollout

In addition to training, you need to consider how you plan to roll out your new contract management system.

It will likely take time for your team to become familiar with the new practices and procedures. Make sure that you are prepared for a core group of employees to use the new system while the rest of your team learns the ropes.

Do not allow employees to use the legacy contract management system for new contracts. This can lead to contracts getting lost. While there may be a short period that your organization will be using two different systems as you make the transition, the sooner you can get everyone on board with the new system, the better.

Implementing new contract management software is a great way for your firm to become more organized and experience increased productivity. Taking these steps to prepare for the adoption of a new system will help make sure that the transition is as easy and efficient as possible.

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