Migrating all your contracts to a single repository is a critical step for your business. Whether you need to merge legacy systems together or you have recently gone through a merger or acquisition, it streamlines how you do business. Many business owners, however, worry that they will face unnecessary downtime and other problems during the migration process. With the appropriate planning, you can protect your business and migrate your contracts to a single, highly effective repository. This will help you meet your contract management goals.
Set Up a Separate Contract Migration Project
Migrating your contracts to a single repository is its own project and should be treated as such. It can be complicated, whether you’re migrating several contract repositories at the same time or you’re migrating a single existing contract repository to a new system. Set up your contract migration plan as a separate project and treat it accordingly. You may need to:
1. Assess the Scope of the Contract Migration Project
Just like when you take a look at a project for a client, you need to take time to assess the scope of your contract migration project. How big of a project are you looking at? How many contracts do you need to move, and how many systems are you bringing together? Take a solid look at what you expect to happen during your contract migration. This includes any potential obstacles that may occur during the contract migration process. Be honest about how long you expect the project to take and just how big a project it is to handle. With this precaution, there’s less risk that you will face unexpected challenges later.
2. Evaluate Your Team
Once you have a clear view of the scope of your project, take the time to evaluate your team and their skills. Ask:
- Who on your team will be responsible for managing the contract migration process? What role will each team member play?
- Do your team members have the skills needed to help? This includes migrating those contracts, identifying and removing duplicate records, and checking data integrity.
- What does your team’s schedule look like? Do you have time to factor in your contract migration?
- Do you need to bring in additional help to aid with the contract management process? You may want additional help if your team doesn’t have enough time in their schedules to properly handle the project.
Also, evaluate the system you’re moving to and the challenges it may present, as well as the ability of your team to meet those challenges. Determine what customer service and assistance the contract management system’s internal tech team will provide during the migration process. Then, you can get a better idea of what skills your team members may really need to accomplish that migration.
3. Create a Timeline
Just like when you put together a project for a client, your team needs to know how long they have to complete the contract migration. Consider:
When do you need to have your contract migration completed?
You may have a very specific timeline in which to complete your migration. For example, you’re using a legacy system that will no longer be supported after a certain date. Alternatively, you might be dealing with a subscription service that you don’t want to renew again. You may also find yourself restricted by an upcoming busy season. That means you need to have all your contracts in the new system and everything up and running smoothly.
How much time do you have to dedicate to your contract migration project?
Your contract migration project will require employees, resources, and time. Look at how those needs fit into your schedule and what you need to do in order to effectively manage your migration and prevent it from interfering with other projects, especially those related to your clients.
How long is the project likely to take?
Consider factors like both the system you’re transferring data to and the system you’re transferring data from, since these can put limitations on the speed of your project. Do you need to manually check for data duplication? Do you have automated processes in place that will need to run before the migration is complete? Make sure you have a solid timeline in place that will let you know how long it will probably take to migrate your contracts to the new system.
Design a Plan
Once you have evaluated the full scope of your contract migration and set it up as a project within your system, you need to design a plan that will help keep you on track throughout the migration. Ask:
What is the goal of this project?
Like any other project, you need to have a clearly defined goal for your contract migration. In this case, it’s to have all of your contracts contained within one contract repository so that you can easily access the information you need when you need it. Secondary goals might include:
Ensuring the data is clean and undamaged.
You may need to start by creating a data backup as you prepare for your project. Then, you will have clean copies of your contract data to refer back to if something fails to migrate correctly to the new system.
Creating a clear organization system that will establish how contracts are stored.
You may need an intuitive naming system as well as a storage method that makes sense to every member of the team who must use that system. This is essential if you’re migrating over data from different companies.
Maintaining security both during and after the migration.
You do not want to lose valuable data or leave it vulnerable to hackers, who may choose to use it for their own purposes.
Aligning your contract storage system with your company’s other goals and plans.
Your contract repository can help streamline many of your business practices and make it easier to ensure compliance and full implementation of your contracts. It can also help your company up with billing and other critical financial matters.
Setting up workflows and reminders in the new system that will keep business flowing smoothly.
Your business needs to flow as smoothly as possible during the transition and afterward. Make sure that your reminders, workflows, and alerts are set up in the new system before you finish the migration.
What risks does the contract migration present to the company as a whole?
When you migrate your contracts, you may face some risks. As you design a plan to migrate over your contracts, make sure you carefully consider those risks and take steps to mitigate them as much as possible ahead of time.
Does your current contract repository pose a known security risk?
If you’re using legacy systems or outdated contract software, you may find that your existing enterprise contract management system poses a substantial security risk to your business. Migrating to a new, updated system, especially one that already has vital security in place, can help mitigate that risk.
Do you have a risk of unexpected downtime during the migration?
If you plan to move all your contract data over at once, you may have a period of downtime. You can control this downtime, to some extent, by planning your migration for a time that works best for your company. You may not want to schedule a migration for the busiest part of your day or for a time when you know you can expect increased amounts of business.
What resources will you need to accomplish your contract migration?
Put together a list of all the resources you will need in order to fully accomplish your contract migration. This includes the time, manpower, and the physical resources you may need to accomplish your migration. Consider:
How many people you will need in order to accomplish the migration.
Clearly designate which team members you will need to have and what responsibility those team members will need to complete. You may need to block out those team members’ schedules during the contract migration. Alternatively, you may need to designate a chunk of time each day to work on migration-related tasks.
How long you anticipate the project taking.
You already have an estimate of your timeline for contract migration completion. Make sure to include this as part of your plan so that you can schedule the right employees at the right time.
What machines you will need to use during the migration.
You may want to designate a particular machine or machines to handle the data migration. You may not be able to use this computer for other purposes while you’re handling your migration to the cloud. If you currently store your contracts on an in-house server, you may need to dedicate that server to the contract migration process. Make sure to check with your IT team to learn what load those machines can handle and how it will impact the rest of the company.
What virtual space you will need to handle the migration.
Consider elements like your network security as well as upload speed. Do you want to conduct your contract migration over a separate network from your usual processes? This can help increase upload speed as well as providing you with an additional layer of security, since you can more easily monitor exactly what devices are connected to that network throughout the contract migration process.
Are there any additional resources you will need to complete your contract migration project?
Consider all the details of your project and what resources you may need to finish it effectively. If you will need to work after hours or on weekends, consider what resources will need to be made available to your team in order to maximize efficiency.
Create a clear budget for your contract migration. Make sure you establish what that budget is intended for. Also, leave some room in that budget for overtime if the migration takes longer than intended.
How do you plan to set up training?
As part of your contract migration plan, you need to clearly establish how you will handle training the employees who need to know how to use those systems. Many legal contract management systems work in similar ways. But there’s always a learning curve when you transition to a new system. Ensure that your employees know how to use all the features built into the system. You have several options when it comes to training.
See what training your new enterprise contract management system provider offers.
The provider may work directly to train key members of your team or may have a policy that allows you to bring all your employees in for training. In others, the contract management system itself may offer clear alerts and easy-to-use help guides. Make sure you fully understand what the system offers.
Train each department all at once.
Provide each department with comprehensive training concerning the resources they will use on the contract management system.
Train key members of each department, then allow them to train the rest of their departments.
If you work in a large company, then you may want to slow that training process down. This can help ensure that everyone has the chance to have their questions answered.
Make sure that you schedule training well before you migrate your contracts to the new system. Ideally, your employees should already have a solid understanding of how to use the system when you install it.
How do you plan to communicate with team members throughout the project?
Communication is a vital part of any major project within your company. You may need to:
- Clearly establish migration dates.
- Let employees know how it will impact them.
- Notify employees about when they are expected to move over to the new system.
- Provide information about any challenges or problems along the way.
You don’t just need to communicate with team members who are directly involved in the migration. You may also need to communicate with employees outside your team who are impacted by the new contract management system. Establish:
- What system you will use for communication, whether you post information on the company intranet or send out emails or other types of communication.
- What information employees need to know and when you should schedule reminders.
- Who is responsible for sending out that information.
Contract migration can be a major project. By establishing a clear plan to manage that project ahead of time, however, you can better prepare your business for the process. Ultimately, you’ll set your migration up for success. Try ContraxAware today for a contract management system that fits all of your contracts’ needs.