Contract lifecycle management (CLM) can be a pain. With documents flying here, there and everywhere, things can get messy. Yet it’s not something you can file in the too-hard basket – after all, contracts make the business world go round.

No wonder that organisations are on the look-out for ways to streamline the process of managing contracts. And, according to new research from Forrester, it’s little surprise that well over half (60%) of organisations intend to improve the way they manage contracts within the next year.

What is surprising, though, is how may organisations still manage contracts using an ad-hoc combination of Excel, email and even trusty old post-it notes.

Using the Forrester report as our guide – which surveyed over 800 people involved in contract management in companies of 250+ employees – let’s take a look at where organisations stand and where they hope to get to with contract management.

The biggest challenges in the contract process

Getting people to sign on the dotted line remains the biggest challenge for contract managers, with 53% of survey respondent stating that approvals are their main headache. However, the good news is that obtaining approvals is less of a “big problem” than last year.

This was followed by clause management (33%) and workflows (27%) – both of which point to issues that people have with the systems they use to manage contracts. Within many organisations, people are simply using the wrong tools for contract management (here’s looking at you, Excel). Only 27% of respondents are using a contract management tool.

With all this manual to-ing and fro-ing, time is wasted and employees’ energies are diverted from more value-adding tasks. In fact, a typical contract takes 30+ hours to negotiate due to all the versioning and modifications.

What’s more, a staggering 94% of respondents say that human error impacts the contract process. In the face of mistakes, could organisations be missing out on valuable new business opportunities?

On the bright side, there’s clearly room for improvement.

How technology is changing the game

According to the Forrester report, people who deal with contracts day in, day out, are turning to technology to ease the burden of contract management.

AI is shaping up to be a game-changer – with 61% stating that they believe AI will help eliminate all that human error that is currently occurring. Blockchain is another interesting one, with 65% saying they believe this technology will make their lives easier when it comes to contract management.

Clearly, organisations have new technologies on the radar to help ease the burden of contract management. Astute businesses have already switched on to CLM tools like DocuSign CLM that automate everything from preparing to signing, acting on and managing contracts; and inject new levels of reliability and security into previously flimsy processes.

Want to learn more about the state of play when it comes to contract management? Download the eBook now.

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