Contract Management and the protection of Personal Information Acts

As a result of the large amounts of information being shared around the world, there are now are various pieces of legislation that have been put into place to protect personal information. The level of protection and the information protected varies depending on the Country or state, or groups of Countries as in Europe – these laws dictate user sharing of information as well as how companies and organisations can hold and use that information.

The fundamental obligations on organisations where legislation already exists can be summarized as:

  1. Only collect information that is needed for a specific purpose
  2. Apply reasonable security measures to protect it
  3. Ensure it is relevant and up to date
  4. Only hold as much as you need, and for as long as you need it
  5. Allow the subject of the information to see it upon request
  6. The subjects have the right to request, on demand, the erasure of the information, including any copies, links or replication.

Practically, any organisation that has paper based systems will find these requirements very difficult to uphold. In our research and consulting work, merely finding contracts and documents can be a challenge – let alone knowing where all the underlying information exists. And for those organisations that work in silos and are regionally dispersed, it would take a herculean effort to find it all, organise it and make the information visible.

Digitising the processes, from collecting the information, to storing it in a structured database, and then tracking and auditing the use of it, encrypting it, and then using it to contract or communicate, all falls within the ambit of a mature Contract Management System capability.

So if your organisation is struggling with the requirements of storing and keeping your customers information (individuals or organisations) in line with legislation, either existing or upcoming, we would like to open up a discussion. Contact us today so we can discuss the effects of these laws and digitization on your company, and how we can help you become part of the Digital Revolution.

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Digitising and automating the contract management process

Practically, let’s step back and take a look at how most organisations manage their contracting cycle. To do this, we will be using the sales process as an example.

Each organisation has a sales force. Typically, the sales team go out in the field with paper-based contracts covering a large geographical area, travelling long distances to see and sign up clients (although, with new technology and people more readily buying online, the travelling salesperson is already under threat). The team then return to their regional offices days (possibly weeks) later with the signed contracts. The contract details are captured by the admin departments, which then send the details to accounts for billing. Once this is completed, then only are the goods or services distributed. Thereafter, the contracts are filed, administration draws up reports on sales volumes, and someone tries to manage the information on an Excel spreadsheet, in an attempt to track key dates or tasks.

Let’s now go through this process for an organisation that is digitally aware so that we can understand the impact technology can have, while assuming a sales force still exists. The sales person, with his tablet, smart device, or laptop, visits to sign up new a new client. This is now done online with a contract that is automatically generated (using background office processes if required). The contract is signed digitally, and the contract data is automatically sent to the regional offices. Administration can now manage the data, accounts can process the billing and operations can send out the goods and services quickly and efficiently. This saves time, paper and additional costs required to manage a paper-based contracting process.

We can now asses how this affects management. The data is stored in a Contract Management System – alerts, notifications and reporting will be instantly available to managers. No more excel spreadsheets, incorrect data capture, and mismanaged controls resulting in lost revenue. To further improve efficiency, integration occurs into CRM, ERP and other systems, so that only one version of data is used.  Security, rules and delegations of authority exist, with built in audit trails exist. And because that data sits in a structured database, it’s accessible, secure, and valuable, with analytics and business intelligence tools sitting on top.

And what industries can benefit? Since all industries and Government organisations enter into contracts, it affects anyone who transacts with another organisation. The contracts or interactions can be in the form of purchase orders, quotes, standard terms and conditions, or more complex large negotiated contracts – all of which can pass through a contract management system.

Aberdeen Research reported that through an automated contract management approach, and organisation can expect to book an additional 1 to 2% of revenue, and for most organisations that represents a fair amount of money. Unfortunately, however, due to a lack of efficiency in process management and digitization, many organisations suffer a loss. Through an implementation of a digital contracting system at any level, companies can save time, money, resources and minimize risks. Contact us today if you would like to learn more about how your company can join the Digital Revolution through digital contracting.

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What is Contract Management? | Request a Demo | Contact Realyst