More companies digitizing contracts to boost efficiency

April 24th, 2013 | Posted by Kevin Corley in Business Process Automation | Document Management | Information Management

As enterprises begin to realize negative impact from paper-based records systems, more firms are deploying electronic document management solutions to resolve inefficiencies. These systems can be especially beneficial for improving contract processes, which can be paper-heavy and demand the timely, accurate retrieval and exchange of information that new digital tools provide.

The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel reported that a recent Business Integrity survey found 46 percent of businesses are planning to automate their contract processes. The source attributed this largely to the fact that there has been rising pressure on legal departments to reduce costs while better meeting compliance and service expectations. When asked to rank the importance of contract management benefits, respondents cited increased law department efficiency, reduced delays, improved compliance and better collaboration between business and legal teams as major factors.

Still, the survey found that nearly half of respondents work for businesses that rely on phone and other antiquated methods to request contracts, according to Metropolitan Corporate Counsel. Only 11 percent had an online request form, and 7 percent of organizations provide a self-service option for people to automatically generate contracts. Respondents that rated their departments below average cited a multitude of issues, including contracts being misfiled, problems with quick retrieval and time-consuming, ineffective approval processes.

The news source noted that one company which has implemented this capability is SolarCity, a rapidly growing firm that designs, installs and operates solar power systems. The electronic contract creation and management system revolutionized the processes for a competitive advantage, the source explained.

Cutting time and costs
Business Integrity's study determined that automating the drafting of contracts can result in cost savings of nearly $100 per hour and as much as $1,000 of external spending per hour due to freed up staff time and reduced need for outsourcing. The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel reported that Life Technologies experienced annual savings that equaled the cost of five full-time paralegals with digital automation solutions. 

The Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal revealed that the County Commissioners Office has been leveraging electronic software to automate contract management. The source reported that in 2012, there were approximately 498 contracts plus amendments processed at the organization. An additional 1,984 copies were eliminated due to the new  technology.

"It has made our process more efficient, it has saved our department and the departments submitting agenda items a lot of money in paper costs and in time, and it is environmentally friendly," Commissioner Josh Brown said of the change, according to the Business Journal.

Companies that switch to digital contract management can benefit from automating all processes for quicker resolutions, enhanced staff productivity and considerable cost savings.

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