Defining Enterprise Contract Management and Why Your Business Needs It

Defining Enterprise Contract Management and Why Your Business Needs It
by Sarvarth Misra

Do you represent the legal, financial, or technology division of a mid- or large-sized business? Then, solutions for your enterprise contract management (ECM) – otherwise known as enterprise contract lifecycle management (CLM) – are well-suited to your needs. They ensure that your organization’s agreements are:

  • Discoverable by those with access privileges, whether they were “born” digital or physical
  • Stored securely – safe from those outside your company – except other parties to your contracts
  • Enhanced by technology like artificial intelligence (AI) during smart contract creation, review, tracking, and assembly
  • Published with terms, clauses, and language that minimize business risk
  • Available for digital signatures and analytics via integration from complementary business applications like Salesforce CRM
  • Aligned with automated workflows, such as triggers for business processes like approvals or renewal notices

Of course, it’s important to distinguish enterprise contract management software from various point solutions.

There are several focused document and E applications, which only address a few of the benefits listed above. Point solutions like these may address a specific business need for a time. But generally speaking, successful businesses that implement component solutions will find that they need to address all of the functions above.

An integrated contract lifecycle management suite, on the other hand, offers a far superior user experience. It empowers professionals across departments, like IT, legal, procurement, sales, and operations, to be far more effective in their role.

Now, let’s explore how these all-important business segments benefit from ECM in the real world.

1. YOUR IT DEPARTMENTIt's important to distinguish enterprise contract management software from point solutions

Many businesses implement a mix of point contract management software, file management systems, a workflow platform, and a standalone reporting engine. They either task their application development and technical staff to integrate all of the pieces or pay a third party to do the same. Though paying a consultant might seem viable, all of the applications in this puzzle require individual maintenance. And not all integrations are equally successful.

But by implementing an integrated CLM suite, with a “baked in” ECM strategy, you can generate substantial revenues and see operational cost savings. Many IT departments already run business-critical applications on Microsoft Azure, and gather business performance insights with Power BI. Choosing an ECM solution, which runs on the former and supports the latter, further ensures application reliability and faster time to ROI.

It’s important to distinguish enterprise contract management software from point solutions.


Let’s say that your in-house legal team is not aware of pending or ongoing contract negotiations until they are asked to approve the agreement. Would they be prepared to support their cross-functional colleagues, or would they be too bogged down with reviewing other documents, or addressing other legal matters?

Because most attorneys are risk-averse in the first place, you should not expect them to drop everything to review, redline, and recommend changes to a contract at the very last minute. That represents a failure to manage commercial opportunities against legal responsibilities.

Instead, consider implementing a CLM solution that provides your legal staff with visibility into contracts in the pipeline, an AI-powered contract review, and a pre-vetted terms library. Then, augment the works with a metrics-based dashboard, which enables your legal department to track its unique results against their business goals. The tension in your legal office will most certainly decrease.


Your buy-side and sell-side contract management processes are critical to reducing costs and maximizing revenue intake and profitability. In fact, some organizations search in vain for a customizable and integrated contract management system (CMS), which can handle procurement and sales contracts equally. This is especially true when they want a platform that has alerts for approval requests, workflow agility, and virtual contract analyst capabilities – those only offered by select ECM solutions. Sales agreement auto-renewals, in particular, are lucrative sources of profit and can keep account managers focused on winning new business from an existing customer base, in addition to new clients.

Compared to the inefficiencies, risks, and lost opportunities for manual contract creation, review, and distribution, intelligent contract lifecycle management suites are more affordable than you may think. Buyers and sellers can both benefit from secure, accelerated contract negotiation through online “deal rooms” and quicker review cycles. Sales executives can sign off on payment terms with e-signatures. Also, contract managers have better visibility into upcoming renewals or can take advantage of cost savings through multi-year agreement terms.

4. YOUR OPERATIONS TEAMSChoosing an enterprise contract management solution which runs on Microsoft Azure ensures application reliability and faster time to ROI

In its 2019 research report, predicted that by 2024, the global contract management software sector will grow from USD $1.5 billion to USD 2.9 billion. Operational departments, like finance, research and development, and HR, all must manage commercial contracts effectively or suffer the consequences of mismanagement: fines or reputational damage.

According to the IACCM, ineffective contract management costs organizations an average of 9 percent of the contract value.

Plus, billions of dollars are spent on consulting services, implementation, maintenance, and support worldwide.

But instead of creating each agreement from a blank Word document, contract managers can create contracts from pre-approved templates and clauses in their enriched library. Organizations save tens of thousands of administrative person-hours and millions of dollars by automating or streamlining contract processes this way. Enterprise contract management platforms, however, must be highly adaptable to an organization, business, or law firm’s unique business processes.

Choosing an ECM solution that runs on Microsoft Azure ensures application reliability and faster time to ROI


Clearly, enterprise contract management is well suited for many types and sizes of organizations. Consequently, businesses that have around 1,000 employees are adopting an ECM or CLM solution at a rapid pace. They range from regulated banks and pharmaceutical manufacturers to government entities, law firms, and financial services providers.

So, remain competitive and efficient, while ensuring that your information workers are engaged and empowered. Request a demo with ContractPodAi today, and discover your onramp to next-generation CLM software.

Sarvarth Misra

 Sarvarth Misra
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