Whether you're talking about the advent of pop-up retail, the explosion of the sharing economy, the widespread adoption of cloud computing or a number of other big tech and work trends that have popped up over past few years, it's clear that there have been some big changes in how people work and play.
One big impact of these trends is that business is conducted faster than ever.
And while employees, companies and customers alike have undoubtedly noticed changes thanks to these new trends, there’s also been a big back-office development. It’s a change not so obvious to the end-customer, but it’s one that plenty of businesses are feeling; more contracts.
That's right, more contracts – and more detailed contracts; contracts that need to be viewed by more people, more frequently, across more different enterprises. And contracts that need to be stored securely while also kept conveniently available online.
This new contract management world is a big part of the story that's told in SpringCM's 2018 State of Contract Management Report. Companies at the larger end of the SMB spectrum-on-up through massive enterprises are having a realization -- the only way to achieve optimal efficiency managing contracts is through utilizing the right kind of automated contract management solution.
And what goes into the "right" contract management solution is one of the big questions our respondents are helping us answer in this year's Report. With input from 1,891 individuals – more than double the count two years ago – we've gotten an unprecedented look into the tools and the techniques that are allowing businesses of all sizes and across industry verticals to handle today's contract management demands.
So before you dig into the full report, here are a few key takeaways to give you a taste of the wide-ranging, actionable insights we've put together this year.
While in previous years the Report has indicated that sales team tended to dominate the contracting process, this year's results were quite different. While sales and sales operations still played a significant role, the legal department was the one that stood out as being most involved in the contract management process (with 59 percent).
Just as significant as the legal team’s expanded role was the fact that IT, the executive team and the finance department were all reported as having roughly the same amount of involvement in the contract process as sales. This appears to describe a business environment where people are realizing that contracts aren’t just a “sales thing,” and many departments throughout a given business are all impacted by – and have a hand in – contract management.
There's been a big buzz about the promise of AI across the tech world, and in contract management solutions it's no exception. Automating and streamlining bulky tasks is one of the big value propositions of a next-gen contract management platform, and businesses are bullish on AI playing a central role in making it happen.
Almost all businesses polled (97%) reported that they saw AI as having the potential to reduce human error, expedite the contract approval process or both. So the platforms that implement AI in their solutions correctly – and can demonstrate its efficacy – will be better positioned to give customers what they're looking for.
Making sure everyone is looking at the right version of a given contract is critical to reducing confusion and preventing having to backtrack. This year's Report demonstrates just how important it is that contract management platforms make document version-related tasks intuitive and convenient.
With almost 29 percent of respondents saying they go through more than five versions of a contract before its final, and 32 percent saying they go through three to four versions, it's clear that customers are in need of tools that allow them to compare contracts and easily distinguish between them. Reducing and eliminating the operational tangles (and employee headaches) that come with miscommunications over document versions should be a top priority for any contract management platform.
These insights show only a brief snippet of what's available in SpringCM's 2018 State of Contract Management Report. So as you continue to explore how companies are best making use of solutions to deal with their contract management challenges – and better understand how you can benefit from the right kind of contract management platform – make sure to download the full report.
For businesses operating at scale, it's no longer a matter of if they should implement a contract management solution, but which one to implement. And this year's report is the most comprehensive source of information, culled from real businesses using contract management solutions every day, about the hurdles companies are facing with their contracts and how they're overcoming them.
See how others are taking advantage of this world of process streamlining – and get started enabling the kind of operational efficiency that is key to doing business in 2018 and beyond.