Cloud computing has emerged as a disruptive option for organizations that want more agile contract management tools and processes. Globally, research indicates that the contract management lifecycle (CLM) market is poised to nearly double between 2019 and 2024, reaching almost $3 billion by the end of the forecast period. During this timeframe, artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud-based CLM platforms will become more of the norm for U.S. companies, as organizations seek solutions that deliver increasing accessibility and faster contract updates.
A cloud architecture enables organizations to satisfy their increasing data needs. Rather than hosting applications and information on in-house servers, which require rigid manual updates and technical knowledge, the cloud allows your organization to avoid the time, energy, and resources needed to maintain your infrastructure — all while improving access to data and company-wide collaboration.
For security, a cloud architecture is also more effective than maintaining an in-house infrastructure. By using a trusted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) vendor for your contract management needs, you don’t have to worry about maintaining security updates or issuing patches to mitigate against vulnerabilities — the SaaS provider handles all of this for you.
If you’ve struggled with antiquated CLM processes and outdated tools, cloud-based contract management offers numerous advantages as they relate to your contract lifecycles.
1. Enhanced Security of Your Contracts
Your contracts include highly sensitive information that, if exposed, could lead to financial, relational, or brand reputation damages. A cloud-based CLM offers heightened enterprise security measures compared to standard contract management systems, or worse, paper-based record-keeping processes by offering:
With documents available through the cloud, your team can leverage real-time collaboration, making each stage of the contract process not only efficient, but also transparent. Every edit, download, or change to your contracts are tracked through a clear audit trail. Cloud CLM software also includes user permissions to ensure data governance and visibility into who is accessing the contracts.
SaaS providers run security protocols 24/7, ensuring that any security upgrades that occur don’t disrupt your service.
SaaS vendors are responsible for maintaining security compliance to protect customer data and minimize risk exposure. Otherwise, they’d be quickly out of business. Cloud-based CLM software providers backed by Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 compliance are certified both from a security standpoint, but from a reliability perspective as well. SOC 2-certified vendors must follow information security policies and procedures to ensure customer data is safeguarded and remains private.
2. Scalability for Your Contracts
If your organization has depended on an internal IT infrastructure to operate up to this point, you undoubtedly understand the complications associated with scaling your business. This same challenge also applies to your contract management processes. As more contracts come through the pipeline, your IT infrastructure will also need to adapt to store these documents. With cloud-based CLM software, you don’t have to worry about storage. SaaS-based models enable storage to be scaled up or down depending on the business needs at that particular time.
Cloud-based CLM software’s cost-effectiveness also shines when storage is involved. Rather than having to pay for expensive on-site servers and storage systems, including those that may not ever be fully utilized, your organization can leverage a flexible platform that is tailor-made to your contract needs.
The flexibility of a SaaS model is especially ideal for supporting your company’s future growth. With a cloud-enabled contract management platform, such as IntelAgree, your organization can take advantage of unlimited storage, templates, users, and e-signatures. SaaS platforms are also equipped with numerous third-party integrations, allowing your teams to utilize their favorite software, systems, and platforms to support their CLM processes.
With a cloud-based solution in place, your team will be more than ready to handle a surge of contracts that come through the pipeline and remain productive in any scenario.
3. Centralized Data
Contracts constantly evolve, and older versions of documents are ideal reference points to review how past negotiations have fared. With new contracts entering the fold, your team needs a way to search any document with the click of a button. They shouldn’t have to sift through stacks of paper or endlessly click through generic CLM software to track down individual contracts—that just wastes valuable time and resources.
Cloud-based CLM software provides a foundation to create a centralized, searchable contract repository for your team to access anywhere at any time through a connected device. This data accessibility is ideal if your organization has offices dispersed across the country. With a cloud-hosted contract management system, all team members can easily compile all data, find contracts, and share documents without any hassle.
It’s also no secret that the cloud is a more affordable option for data centralization. Without needing to manage the infrastructure, licensing, maintenance, and provisioning yourself, your company can reinvest these savings into other mission-critical objectives to grow your business. For legal teams, data centralization also offers numerous contract management efficiencies. Teams can achieve better contract visibility and are able to access real-time contract data to accelerate processes and decision-making.
4. Remote Access to Your Contracts
Technological advancements make it possible for employees to be connected and productive outside of the office. Whether they’re home or on the road, the cloud brings new meaning to data accessibility, especially during this period of extended remote working. This capability is ideal if your organization’s team members are constantly away from the office and need to access or sign a contract without limitations.
Cloud-based CLM software not only empowers your team to access data remotely, but it also enables real-time data capture. If your employees are located in different offices or time zones, they can easily collaborate on contracts, regardless of their physical locations.
Another critically important feature of a SaaS contract management solution is its disaster recovery features. If a catastrophic event were to occur at your physical location, would you be able to maintain productivity? With a cloud-based CLM platform, you’d already have your contracts stored in a safe place and readily accessible if your employees couldn’t work from the office for an extended period of time.
As the current period of social distancing has proven, your organization must be prepared for any situation. If you haven’t digitized your contracts yet, now is the time to do so.
5. Better Organization for Your Contract Management
Lastly, a cloud-based CLM solution can help your teams become more organized. With a SaaS CLM platform, your employees can classify individual clauses within your contracts into a standardized clause library, assign contracts by type (e.g. NDA), and organize your contracts by their respective categories. What’s even better is that most SaaS vendors continuously innovate their solutions and deliver regular software releases. Any new features and enhancements will be implemented directly to the CLM application, so your team won’t have to lift a finger.
What your employees used to perform manually in-house can now be offloaded to a trusted SaaS provider. If your company has had disparate contract management processes that have impacted productivity, the cloud makes efficiency, scalability, organization, and security all possible through a single platform.
Start Your Cloud Journey Today
There are plenty of options available that can improve your organization’s contract management, but not every platform delivers the same functionality. You need to perform some due diligence when selecting the very best SaaS contract management solution. Key factors such as reducing risks, streamlining operations, and automating labor-intensive processes are just some of the considerations you should make when choosing your next CLM platform.
If you’re ready to put outdated CLM software in the rearview and look to the cloud to usher in your next era of contract management, schedule a demo with IntelAgree to learn how your organization can make this a reality.