Tear Down the Silos that Keep Your Contracts Hostage
In this guest post, Zefort’s CEO Jussi Karttila discusses why you should not build walls around your contracts.
Love them or hate them, contracts are one of the cornerstones that keep businesses running. Signing that big new business deal, hiring a new employee, starting cooperation with a new partner or subscribing to IT services – contracts are everywhere.
In most companies, contracts are made and managed separately in each department. Sales keeps track of sales agreements. HR is responsible for managing the employment contracts. IT and procurement handle their own contracts. And so on. (By the way, far too often “contract management” is a fancy term for saving contracts on a network drive or hoarding them in your personal email folder.)
While this department-driven approach seems reasonable, it actually comes with a lot of problems. For instance:
- How can anyone get an overall picture of your organization’s contractual obligations? Or, is it at all possible to check all contracts (HR, sales, procurement…) related to a specific business area within the company?
- If contracts are stored in department-specific silos, where are the generic contracts managed? Contracts like NDAs, insurances, office space leases and so on?
- What about contracts that involve multiple departments at the same time? Say you are hiring a freelance consultant to develop your IT systems: should you store the contract in your IT silo, procurement silo or HR silo? Or in all of them?
When a company has built silos around its contracts, it is typical that some departments do contract management well and others potentially much worse.
When you spend time looking for contracts by calling up people in different teams and hunting files from email attachments, you know that there is room for improvement.
Path to better contract management
So, suppose you now see the invisible silos around your contracts. What should you do?
Get the big picture: set up a meeting with representatives from different departments. Clarify how contracts are being managed and who are the key people doing contract management.
Find a good contract management solution. Forget about shared network folders, there are good, modern contract management tools available. When benchmarking, prioritize ease of use, automation and team sharing features. Don’t be afraid to ask the service provider tough questions about your needs and requirements.
Get everyone onboard: Now that you have your solution, make sure everyone knows about it and starts using it. I’m circling back to the “ease of use” mentioned above because this is essential – it should be really, really easy and efficient to use your contract management solution, otherwise its adoption rate will not be very high.
After some initial groundwork, you’ll be tearing down your contract silos in no time!
Zefort is a zero-effort contract management solution. We help companies of all sizes to reduce their contract-related worries by providing a centralized, smart cloud archive for contracts. Our customers love us for ease of use, bank-level security and friendly customer service. Get to know us at www.zefort.com.