Digital Contract Management: The Covid-19 pandemic gave a boost to digitization in companies, which also drove the trend towards digital. When the home office was at the top of the political agenda with the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, companies first had to maintain communication among their employees: Tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams or Zoom experienced a boom when they went to complete replacement for face-to-face communication in the office. A year later, it is clear that the trend towards home offices has come to stay. And it is by no means sufficient for employees to be able to communicate digitally or exchange documents. To digitize companies in the long term and, above all, efficiently, completely different processes such as contract management must be brought from paper into the world of bits and bytes.
Digital Contract Management: Contract Management – The Last Step
There is still great awe of the signature: When we think of a signature, we usually automatically see pen and paper in our mind’s eye. Stacks of signature folders piling up on the desks of absent executives. Before the Corona crisis, it was perhaps just manageable to wait a week or two for a signature (albeit very inefficient). Still, since the beginning of the problem, the physical signature has become a business risk: How should the same contract from several employees be signed by hand if the teams are geographically dispersed?
No matter how big or small, every business is based on all sorts of forms of contract. Contracts set up a company and keep it alive through agreements with customers, suppliers or insurance companies. Without signatures, funds cannot be released, and projects cannot be implemented. Not a single new employee can be hired without signing an employment contract.
Digitization Of Processes Simplifies Collaboration
In increasing digitalization, it is indispensable to get such basic processes out of the familiar, analogue waters. The advantages are clear: thanks to the digitization of the techniques, contracts can be sent from one employee to the next within seconds, regardless of whether they are in the home office at the other end of the city or perhaps even in a completely different country. This not only makes it easier to work with your teams but also opens up entirely new areas of business for companies.
Through the simplified cooperation with customers and partners in other countries and continents. Because digital also means: faster. Sending a contract by post can take days or weeks; it is not uncommon for documents to get lost on the way or to be forgotten in growing piles of mail in the recipient’s office. These processes cost enormous time and money – deadlines can pass, and project teams often work idle while waiting for approvals or payments.
Defeat Fear Opponents Legal Security
Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) providers such as DocuSign create a legally secure basis for this type of digital collaboration with their software solutions. The cloud-based applications can be combined with more than 350 applications and adapted to the legal regulations of more than 180 countries worldwide. This means that the system knows that a contract in China, for example, is only valid if the signature is combined with a company stamp. The software will only recognize a signature as reasonable if the signatory also sets his digital company stamp.
In Europe, the legal equation of electronic signatures with manual ones has been regulated by the so-called eiders regulation since 2016. It defines the conditions that providers must meet to be able to classify a eSignature as legally valid. All signature offers from typical providers meet at least the eiders standard. Those who want additional security can quickly check the identity of signatories using qualified procedures such as video ident.
Contract Management: E-Signature For Secure Processes
“Even a simple e-signature is more secure than a handwritten one. Imagine sending a contract by post. Two weeks later, the signed document comes back, including signature. In theory, however, nobody can guarantee that it was you who signed. Anyone else in her office could have done that, anyone with access to the document that has come a long way through the mail. A real black box,”
“With an e-signature, only one person has access to the document, and that is via their email address. As an additional safeguard, the system also checks the IP address of the device on which the signature was made and the exact time. In this way, the entire process can be checked and traced at any time in case of doubt,”. Another important safety factor is the so-called hash value, which the software calculates in the background. A kind of mean value from all contract components (letters, numbers, text length, etc.) must always remain the same over the entire process. If the hash value does not change, it is guaranteed that none of the parties involved made any unplanned changes to the contract’s content.
Into The Future: Artificial Intelligence In Contract Management
But digital contract management or CLM is already much more than just signing and sending. With modern AI solutions, providers can solve much more complex problems. DocuSign, for example, offers “Analyzer”, a tool that creates an automatic risk analysis while contract content is being drawn up. The user can then see which clauses are incorrect or represent real pitfalls on a risk scorecard. He will then automatically find the alternatives that are suitable for him in the stored clause library.
Similar systems also exist for the time after the completion of a contract. “DocuSign Insights” makes it possible to intelligently search through already filed agreements and analyze their components concerning external business data. A modern CLM can use artificial intelligence to create entire contract databases and relate a wide variety of documents and information to one another. It has long since ceased to take over the signature process but also thinks independently for the contract holder – from creation to filing and beyond.
It can be integrated into a large number of existing platforms. DocuSign, for example, builds all of its solutions to be compatible with standard CRM tools, including market leaders such as SAP and Salesforce. E-signatures can be made via email, SMS, or even messaging services like Slack. In this way, digital contract management fits seamlessly into the diverse range of applications for digitizing corporate processes and, in many cases, forms the last piece of the puzzle for completely paperless process management.