24th December 2019
24th December 2019
By Amulya Dutta, Director of Technology at ContractPodAi
A smart contract repository is a complete database of an organization's documented agreements – enhanced with discovery, version control, and AI technologies. Unlike a standard agreements repository, it retains all agreement-related documents in one central source, making full contract details completely accessible. This is a major step forward for legal departments.
In my last article, I introduced the importance of creating a centralized contract database, where all contract data is stored. Setting up a contract document management system is just as important as the first step mentioned above. It will help the vast majority of companies out there today. Nevertheless, when undertaking this exercise, a general counsel would be wise to consider the next step: deploying a smart contract repository solution instead.
Having all of your electronic contracts and agreements in one place is important. It saves time and money, and makes lost contracts a thing of the past. It also reduces the length of your searches and the number of resources needed. After all, why spend the energy searching for the latest version of your supply chain or financial services contract when you can make sure that there is full visibility to them instead. Easy access makes both reviewing and approving simple and quick.
Any good end-to-end (E2E) contract management software will include an agreements repository. But a good E2E contract lifecycle management system, like ContractPodAi, provides you with smart contract repository technology. These sophisticated systems have the standard cloud-based contract management system capabilities, plus enhancements to make managing contracts easier.
Of course, electronic signatures, cloud-based access, and a full agreements management software solution are all nice to have. Still, legal departments need smart contract repository capabilities for the following three reasons:
Firstly, having a centralized agreements repository is good. And having one that acts as your system of record is better. But having one that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to extract data for agreement summaries is even better! With this capability, the smart contract repository reads the agreement data. It can then be used for reporting, overall analytics, workflow creation, and approval automation. This saves your legal team the cost and time of manual abstraction and summations. It also provides better governance capabilities and a greater consistency when it comes to recording accurate agreements information.
With your entire profile of agreements on one smart contract repository, you are provided with enormous search capabilities. In just seconds, you can search through thousands of contracts. And as part of the discovery element, this search ability helps you to uncover trends and report on key elements.
This is especially important when contract litigation cases arise. Working manually means hiring platoons of contact lawyers, paralegals, and contract managers to search for key information. And this journey is painstaking, subject to mass errors, enormously time-consuming – and quite costly for organizations. In comparison, a smart contract repository’s capability is a heavenly dream.
Version management and control is another key element of the smart contract repository. Not only do you receive the final, signed version of the contract in the system of record, you can track contract versions. You are also given a proper audit trail, which is a significant help to any general counsel. In effect, the smart contract repository provides all of the positive elements of today's blockchain technology.
We have often said that "contracts are the lifeblood of business." At a recent Financial Times forum, Tim Cummins, founder & president of IACCM, stated that "contracts underpin the social cohesion – of business." Clearly, contracts are important to organizations. Economies just cannot function without them.
Now, add to this the high volume of contracts that every company and organization handles every day. It is staggering.
As such, the first step to managing contracts is to have a single virtual location for them all. After that, another wise investment is using intelligent systems to help you manage them. Someone might argue that just having a centralized agreements pool is enough. But it is not. Additionally, legal departments need smart contract repositories to help them manage their agreements database. It is much better to have an intelligent database that can help you get answers quickly, cost-effectively, and hassle-free.
Looking for a smart contract repository like the one you read above? If so, connect with us for a pressure-free discussion. We are here to help, and this is our favorite subject!
Director of Technology
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