7 steps to digital contract management

A man sits in front of a computer screen where he works with digital contract management and can handle, sign and monitor contracts.
Tips on how to start using digital contract management

Ready to manage your contracts digitally? Here we give some tips on how you can start working completely digitally with your contracts.

We look at what cloud-based file storage services can solve, and what a contract service gives you if you choose that path. The text is primarily aimed at you as an entrepreneur and if you read this as a private person, you must filter out what is company-specific.

There are a variety of file storage services and you are probably already familiar with some of them. Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox and Apple iCloud are examples. The services are offered to both individuals and companies - where the company variants have more functions. The same applies to the market for cloud-based contract services.

Upload contracts

If you have the contract on paper, you first need to scan it. Either to an image or PDF (ie an image inside a PDF). If the contracts exist as attachments to an email, you first need to save the files on the hard drive.

Then the procedure differs slightly depending on the solution.

• Upload a single contract. Most file management services have clients that allow you to synchronize parts of your hard drive to the cloud. This allows you to use the appropriate folder on your hard drive as a drop-off point. Cloud-based contract systems also offer web-based upload interfaces, as do file management services.
• Upload a contract with attachments in separate documents. Contracts with appendices, you want the opportunity to stick together in one and the same logical unit when handling contracts digitally. The equivalent for paper contracts is a folder or similar where all documents belonging to the same contract are saved. The easiest way to keep a contract together in a file management service is to create separate folders for each contract. So that contracts with appendices end up in the same folder. Another way is to use a common prefix in the name of each file. Then you can continue to use both file synchronization and web-based upload. A third option is to label the files with any attribute that binds them together. Some, but not all, contract systems fully support annexes. If it is missing, you may fall back on naming or perhaps folders if such a structure is allowed.
• Upload many contracts at the same time. The major file management services have good support for uploading files in bulk. Some contract systems also have it. If this is an important feature - first check what support your solution gives you.
Regardless of solution, you should make sure that uploaded images / pdf can be interpreted into text. Without it, you will not get free text search.

Tag contracts - add metadata

To illustrate different types of information that can be linked to a contract, the picture shows some examples of this.
There are many different types of information that you may want to relate to contracts

Certain contracts or contract types you probably need to supplement with extra information. It can be keywords, comments, terms of the contract, parties of the contract, etc.

• File management services often handle optional attributes on the files. At least when you upload or manage files via the web interface. How well you can synchronize attributes from / to a local hard drive depends on the vendor and the local computer's operating system.
• If you choose the contract service, it should give you the opportunity to mark contracts with any amount of data. Also pay attention to which so-called data types that are supported. If you enter a date, it is saved as date or as text. It affects how you can perform searches, filter results and set alarms
• If attributes do not work, then consider whether it is an option to manage metadata in a separate file related to the contract. A digital variant of the post-it note. Simple - and maybe good enough.
• The contract systems have an advantage here in that they solve a specific task, and have been adapted for it. Therefore, you can count on there being support for managing metadata such as the contract life cycle, validity periods, contract owners, contract parties, etc.

Access control

More than you who need to upload and access the contracts? This is solved by file management services through shared folders. It also works well for syncing to the local hard drive. Of course, you also solve it with the web interfaces, regardless of the choice of platform.

• When it comes to security (restricting access), the answer depends entirely on what your requirements look like. File management services can manage users' rights at the file level and often support a role-based security model (also called RBAC).
• Does your company use identity management? If that system can be integrated with the provider's identity and access management system, it will be much easier to manage role-based access. The same applies to contract systems. Contact your intended supplier to find out if you can get the access rights as you wish.

Decide how search shall work

Digital contract management systems with support for free text search and monitoring have different possibilities in searching and finding contract information and it is important to understand what differences there are and what requirements your company has.
A system for digital contract management that enables free text search and monitoring simplifies

Search is closely related to access but deserves its own headline.

• File management services often have a web-based interface for free text search of files. Examine the possibilities you have to search for file attributes, as it affects the usefulness of how you can manage metadata
• If you choose to have your files synchronized to the local disk, you can use the computer's search functions. Then it is the computer's operating system that sets the limits.
• Cloud-based contract services have of course search and filtering adapted specifically for contracts.
.Regardless of the solution - be aware that searches must be security filtered based on how you have set up access rights. If a contract is available to a user, it should also be possible to search. And if not - then a search result may not be displayed either.

Create workflows

Some contract flows tend to affect several different disciplines in a company. A customer contract may need to pass both the sales, finance and delivery organization.

• File management services have a very limited support to offer - but it is possible e.g. to use "share" in the services to create simple workflows via email
If more structure, support and traceability is needed, you should investigate which contract services offer such functions.

Ensure GDPR and Schrems II

If the company's contracts are to be digitized, you also need to familiarize yourself with WHAT is stored, and WHERE and HOW it is stored. The topic is too extensive to handle here.

Regardless of which platform you choose - read about how the supplier complies with the regulations. Contact them with them your questions.
Do you want access to a white paper with information on how Avtalsbanken's web service for digital contract management can be used to fulfill data subjects' rights under the GDPR? Fill in your details in the contact form and we will email you.Show me more

Choose solution

The choice of technical solution is facilitated by you first mapping which functions that are requirements, nice to have or not important for you. As a private person, it is an uncomplicated task. If you do it for a company, there are many mistakes to avoid with good preparation.

For more information, see the article 'Things to consider when choosing contract solution'Show me more
Would you like to contact us for more information? Email questions to sales@avtalsbanken.se or fill in your details in the contact form and we will get in touch.Show me more