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Back to Basics: Contract Automation 101

Your business is growing – and that’s a mixed blessing at times. With growth comes more paperwork and more complex contracts. Reviews, approvals, and sign-offs of agreements are complex and tedious, with organizations having little control or security over the process.

Facilitating contract negotiations through technologies with inadequate oversight increases the risk and fear of executing the wrong version of a contract, which can come at a high cost to your business. Fortunately, organizations of all sizes and scope are turning to a new tool to handle this otherwise labor-intensive undertaking: contract automation.

 

What is contract automation?

Contract automation is simply the process of developing, managing and storing legal agreements online between you and anyone who does business with your organization. That may not seem important given everything else on your plate, but contracts are at the core of your firm’s growth and stability, and anything that can simplify their creation and maintenance is crucial for your company’s long-term prospects.

 

How does contract automation work? 

Contract automation software takes control of the entire process, allowing you to execute contracts faster and build better relationships. Streamlining the contract process shortens the contract cycle by putting the process on autopilot through automated tasks, easy collaboration with potential partners and end-to-end visibility. You’ll deepen your relationships with customers and vendors by making it easy to do business with you. Additionally, contract automation software enables your internal stakeholders, such as Legal and Finance, to more easily manage risk for the company.

Contract automation has applications in a variety of industries and teams, including: 

  • Sales
  • HR
  • Operations
  • Finance
  • Legal
  • Procurement
  • Healthcare
  • Real estate

 

9 benefits of contract automation

1) Faster processes
There’s a time element involved in making any contract. You know there are other options out there for what you’re providing, and the other party likely has similar concerns at their end. If the essential details are in place, you likely just want to get an agreement in place and move on to the next task. Every business owner knows that time is money, and every minute wasted in creating a deal means a longer delay in taking in the revenue that keeps things going.

Contract automation with OnTask expedites that by having everything readily accessible online. There’s no emailing copies back and forth – or even mailing them, which can be cumbersome and create confusion over the various versions being shared. The current version is on the screen and ready for review, making redlining easy.

 

 

And, online automation is a huge help to the process of drafting agreements. The parties involved can markup a proposed deal with comments and suggestions. All suggestions are tracked and then can be accepted and/or rejected. No more swapping emailed versions or waiting for snail mail. Plus, with legally binding eSignatures you can negotiate and close with one process, in one platform.

2) Reduced chance of error
Getting rid of paper documents and reducing back-and-forth emailing significantly lowers the opportunity for mistakes in filling out the contracts and sending them. With auto-populated information and required fields, there is less of a chance for costly errors and missing information in your contracts. 

3) Reduce risks with increased visibility
Visibility is probably the most obvious benefit of refining the drafting and implementation of contracts, but its importance can’t be overstated. All relevant details of an agreement between you and someone transacting with your organization are plain for everyone to see. With end-to-end visibility and tracking, your stakeholders will always know where the contract is in the process and can quickly see all contract activities and contract versions.

The increased visibility means your team will always have the most up-to-date version and won’t accidentally send out the wrong contract. With all contract activities completed on one platform, bottlenecks and delays can easily be identified. Thankfully, the days of “What’s the status?” type emails are gone. OnTask provides organizations with all relevant data, providing insights into the overall contract process.

4) Increased security and compliance
The ability to set roles and permissions allows you to control who can and cannot manage each asset, reducing error and increasing security. In addition, eSignatures on forms and documents are legally binding and secure.

OnTask holds the latest security and compliance standards for contracts, including: 

  • eSign Act 
  • UETA
  • SOC2
  • HIPAA
  • FERPA

Whether your contract is in the healthcare industry, sales, or higher ed, your data is safe and secure.

5) Never miss a renewal or deadline
With automated notifications, it’s easy to alert people of important dates such as contract renewals and deadlines. You can also provide reminders by reassigning, resending and generating custom links. And, escalations allow you to make sure your contract workflow doesn’t get stuck with one reviewer, making your work quicker to be completed.

6) Integrate with current IT infrastructure
OnTask can integrate with your other IT systems so that you can start and end your contract with your record of truth. The process is also an important part of any organization’s customer relationship management (CRM) and document management strategy. Integrating contract creation into an existing CRM system, such as Salesforce, makes life easier for your salespeople, since they don’t have to duplicate data entry and have access to the latest executed contract. Integrating with your current document management system ensures that all of your contracts are automatically warehoused in the appropriate file system.

In addition to open APIs and integrations, you can connect your systems to OnTask with webhooks. Creating a webhook for OnTask in Zapier opens up 200+ available application integrations, including Trello, Smartsheet, Airblade, and more.

7) Improve relationships
An inefficient, time-consuming contracting process wears the patience of your customers and vendors. A smooth-running, streamlined contract automation solution, on the other hand, shortens contract cycles and lessens the time investment made by customers and vendors, just as it reduces the risk of mistakes ending up in the agreement. All of this, naturally, builds the value of your organization’s brand. This becomes a key competitive advantage, one that creates strong relationships over the years and boosts sales and repeat business.

Customers and vendors aren’t the only ones who will appreciate an automated contract process – your own employees will love it, too. Internal stakeholders can forget about chasing down signatures and digging through a bloated inbox for updated contract versions and statuses. They can always see where a draft agreement is in the process and have set reminders to ensure all finished contracts are signed on time.

8) Automate approvals
It’s easy to set up approval workflows that decrease back-and-forth communications and chasing down signatures. And, with conditional logic, including if/then branching and parallel branching, you can set up different options for who approves which contracts. 

9) Build a repeatable process
Once you’ve set up one contract automation workflow in OnTask, it’s easy to replicate the process for other contract workflows that you need. This makes repeating processes for different clients simple, especially because our flexible integrations allow you to automatically pull in company data. 

 

OnTask: Your Contract Automation Workflow Solution

OnTask makes contract automation easy. With templatized workflows, flexible integrations, and dynamic deliver methods, you’ll get contracts signed faster and make your clients happier.

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