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White Paper Automate Contract Workflows



Contract Management Software white paper

Contract Management Software white paper



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White Paper Automate Contract Workflows Document Transcript

  • 1. Automate Your Contract Workflows With Contract Management Software — Reduce Operational Costs 75% Annually. The practice of allocating more and more labor to relieve paperwork bottlenecks is becoming antiquated. More and more, organizations are beginning to automate their contract workflows through technology. In the past, this technology was expensive and time-consuming to implement and manage. The contract management software market has been revitalized with powerful technology that is affordable, rapid to implement and provides a compelling return on investment.
  • 2. CONTENTS Cover l Automate Your Contract Workflows With 8 l Abandoned documents Contract Management Software — Reduce Operational Costs 75% Annually 8 l The bottom line 1 l Automate your contract workflows - save 9 l Agreement Express by Recombo™ — The time and money Fastest Way to Automate Your Contract Workflows - Saving You Time & Money 1 l What is “contract management software” and how does it differ from “e-signature” 9 l Contract handling technology? 9 l Creating digital contracts 1 l Is contract management software right for you? 9 l Distributing and monitoring digital contracts 2 l The toxic impact of paper on our global environment 10 l Storing completed contracts 2 l Why are companies transitioning from 10 l Retrieving completed contracts paper to contract management software? 10 l Electronic signature enabler 3 l Step one: Contract preparation 10 l Authentication 3 l Step two: Distribute the contracts 10 l Workflow engine 3 l Step three: Business process — route 10 l Contract routing the contracts 10 l Business rules 4 l Step four: Correct errors 10 l Supporting documentation 4 l Step five: Store the contracts 11 l Rapid integration engine 4 l Step six: Retrieve the contracts 11 l Hosted Software-as-a-Service 5 l Return on investment — Insurance broker case study (SaaS) architecture 11 l Front-end integration 5 l Process improvement calculations 5 l Data-entry cost 11 l CRM integration 6 l Distribution cost 11 l Web-site integration 12 l Summary 6 l Data error-checking cost 7 l Filling and retrieval cost
  • 3. Automate your contract workflows - save time and money Business contracts are the foundation upon which businesses are built — whether they are legally binding terms and conditions between business partners, customers and suppliers, exchanges of promises between internal departments, new employees and employers, or informal approvals. Often individuals or entire departments are dedicated to administering contract workflow — creating, publishing, routing to signatories, data-correcting, filing and retrieving paperwork. The accepted paradigm — paper-based contract workflow — is a waste of resources. It is clumsy, time-consuming and expensive. By automating your contract workflow process, you not only reduce your carbon foot-print, but also realize the cost and time savings in eliminating paper from the process. This white paper highlights strategies and best practices for you to optimize your contract workflow that includes creating, distributing, signing, storing and retrieving business contracts for the purpose of maximizing financial and operational performance. What is “contract management Is contract management software” and how does it software right for you? differ from “e-signature” The benefit of contract management software is technology? to drive down costs by automating the repeatable “ aspects of creating, distributing, signing and storing ...But Automating Workflows E-signature technology enables users to paperwork. It is not well-suited for processes place a digital signature onto a contract. The Delivers The Value. The where the bulk of the time is spent negotiating capability is certainly a component of improved the terms of the contract and where the sign-off signing process is the keystone efficiency — but it is just a start. A complete process is simple. Two examples of this are of the execution of a legally contract management software system eliminates mergers and acquisitions or settlement contracts. or administratively binding waste by automating the entire workflow. The agreement. However, as central significant technical break-through is that it Contract management software is best suited enables users to control not just contract images, for organizations with high volumes of similar as it is, the signature itself is only but also the data elements within the contracts. transactions with a complex signatory routing one part of the overall document The ability to manage at the data level opens up process. The case study used in this white paper or business process life cycle; new automation possibilities. For example, you deals with insurance application forms, but there the true value to an organization can import and populate contracts from a variety are innumerable situations where automation lies in replacing all paper-based of sources (Customer Relationship Management, can quickly eliminate wasted resources. Some Sales Force Automation, Excel spreadsheets, ERP examples of this are: securities broker new processes with electronic ones systems, etc.), move the data into other contracts account openings, employee pay stubs and and securely automating as many relevant to the particular transaction, verify benefits statements, account transfer forms, previously manual steps and data-entry at the time contracts are filled-in, map merchant card service on-boarding, and so on. ” procedures as possible. contract data fields into internal systems, and much more. Forrester Research, Inc. January, 2010 Market Overview: E-Signatures in 2010 Recombo | White Paper 1
  • 4. The toxic impact of paper on our global environment Paper consumption is costly to the environment; • 2 barrels of oil (84 US gal or 320 l) it makes up the largest component of solid waste by weight. In the U.S. alone, over 40% of municipal • 4,100 kilowatt-hours (15 GJ) of electricity — solid waste is paper — about 71.8 million tons each enough energy to power the average American year; enough to build a 12-foot high wall from New home for six months (Wikipedia). York to California. Choose totally chlorine-free (TCF) paper. This is environmentally preferable to “elementally The process of producing paper requires huge chlorine-free” (ECF) paper, which is bleached with amounts of water and electricity. To make paper chlorine derivatives that produce toxic chlorinated white, it is bleached; the most common bleaching compounds. There are also many websites that agent is chlorine that can find its way into our offer information on this type of paper; Google waterways. The plastic from toner cartridges search “totally chlorine-free paper vendors” to discarded into landfills takes more than 1000 years learn more about this type of paper. to decompose. Recycle toner cartridges. Many retailers who sell Ninety-five percent of business information is toner may offer a trade-in value for a new one. still stored on paper… There are also many websites that offer cash for There are some options for organizations that wish used cartridges; search for keyword “recycle toner to make environmentally friendlier choices: cartridges” to learn more. Recycle your paper. Recycling 1 short-ton (0.91 t) Reduce your use of paper. The most of paper saves: environmentally sound decision is to use less paper. Digital agreement workflow technology • 17 mature trees offers the opportunity to drive costs down and increase productivity, while making a lighter • 7 thousand US gallons (26 m3) of water environmental impact. • 3 cubic yards (2.3 m3) of landfill space Why are companies transitioning from paper to contract management software? A paper-based contract life-cycle process is clumsy, time-consuming and costly. It requires human labor to create, arrange for distribution, follow-up with signatories, error-check, file and retrieve. It is prone to errors every step of the way, often uses expensive, time-consuming courier or mail services, and offers little control over the status of distributed contracts — have signatories received them? Have they looked at them yet? Are they lost in transit? Or is the signatory shopping around for a better deal with a competitor? Contract management software optimizes every step of the process from contract creation, through distribution, completion, and application of business rules, to filing and retrieval. It improves profit and cash flow by dramatically reducing the number of people required to administer contracts and by speeding up the approval process. To understand how organizations are benefiting from this advancement in digital technology, we need to take a closer look at each step of the contract workflow process. Recombo | White Paper 2
  • 5. Step one: Contract preparation The first step is to create a contract. Using a desktop word-processing solution (Word, Google docs, PDF, etc.), an administrator populates the contract with relevant data for each transaction, such as names, dates, dollar values, and so on. This is time-consuming, expensive and susceptible to data-entry errors. Contract management software reduces the possibility of errors, by enforcing rules about the format and type of data that is entered into each field. Furthermore, it is no longer necessary to manually enter data. Costs can be driven down by: • Automatically populating contracts with data Step two: Distribute the Routing from internal systems such as Customer contracts Imagine an insurance broker accepting new Relationship Management (CRM), Sales Force applications. First, applicant information has to Automation (SFA), Enterprise Resource Shipping paper has a number of shortcomings: be completed; it goes to the broker for error- Planning (ERP), and others. • Costly: Arranging for distribution, couriers, mail, checking, then on to the underwriter for approval, • Integrating contracts with web sites offers two and so on. then back to the individual for final sign-off. At this benefits. The first, is that it enables customers point, a number of supporting documents — void to enter data into contracts in a self-serve • Slow-moving: Physically shipping paper to and check, automatic withdrawal approval, and so on, model. This effectively eliminates internal from signatories, chasing signatories to correct must be attached. Then the package goes to the data-entry costs. The second, is that integrating errors, and supply supporting documentation, broker for storage with a copy to the underwriter. contracts into web sites provides signatories and so on. All this routing uses up valuable human resources with a guided form-filling process. This is and is prone to error. Contract management Contracts distributed by courier, e-mail or fax important for revenue-centric contracts where software automates this entire process — not only have the additional problem of lost visibility. the customer experience is critical in keeping driving the human resource cost down, but also Once contracts are sent, the publisher has no abandonment rates as low as possible. providing a superior customer experience that idea of their status. Are they in transit to or helps to reduce the number of transactions that Business contracts often require follow-on from signatories? Are they sitting unsigned on are abandoned. documents that need to be signed. Insurance someone’s desk? Or has the prospect moved on to application forms may require an authorization a competitor? Business flow rules for the individual to submit to a medical test, an Contract management software eliminates authorization to take automated withdrawals from Contract routing can be further complicated distribution costs, and accelerates completion the bank, a void check, and other documents. by business rules. For example, the insurance rates. It provides visibility into every step of the These need to be assembled into a package and application may go to an internal employee with process, so bottlenecks can be identified and the prepared for distribution — usually by standard a pricing matrix, but if the characteristics of the appropriate action taken. mail or courier. individual are out of the norm, the application may need to go to a different department for Contract workflow management has the ability Step three: Business process special pricing. to package together the relevant forms and — route the contracts contracts, capture data once, automatically Once again, this causes unnecessary costs and populate relevant contracts, and instantly Many companies in industries such as merchant delays in processing the application. Contract distribute them on-line or via e-mail. This drives card services, securities brokerages, insurance management software reduces costs by automating distribution costs down and eliminates errors. brokers, etc., publish high volumes of contracts the process. every week. Manually routing contracts to the correct signatories, in the correct order, and re-directing as required, by any other business rule is labor-intensive. Recombo | White Paper 3
  • 6. Step four: Correct errors Step six: Retrieve the In the middle of the routing process, contracts can contracts get bottlenecked when the client returns them It is inevitable that completed contracts will need with incorrect or missing information. to be retrieved. Paper contracts have limited indexing options, which can make it cumbersome Contract management software can: or even unrealistic to compile reports. An a) Enforce rules on data fields to ensure they are equipment leasing company may choose to file completed correctly, and contracts alphabetically by customer. This causes a problem when the leasing firm wants to assemble b) Ensure that correct supporting documentation a group of leases signed between a certain date is present and included with the package. range, asset type, or risk category. Step five: Store the Managing data within contracts is a paradigm shift, that offers unlimited file-indexing options. contracts Users can retrieve individual or groups of contracts by any data variable within the contracts Does your company consider contracts to be such as names, dates, dollar amounts, addresses, a critical business asset? Do you know where signatories, and more; or by characteristics such specific contracts are at this moment? Storing as published, viewed, completed, contract creator, paper contracts makes them susceptible to publisher, and more. misplacement, wandering eyes, loss, or even theft. Digital contracts are never lost, can be easily secured, and are always available. Furthermore, completed contracts or the data fields within the contracts can be automatically mapped and stored in back-office systems. Recombo | White Paper 4
  • 7. Return on investment — Insurance broker case study Businesses exist to grow profits. Regardless of how well a new technology improves a business process, the decision to implement it must be justified by a significant positive impact to the bottom line. For the purposes of analysis, this section uses the following case study: • Company type: insurance broker • Agreement project: individual insurance; new applications • Volume: 300 applications per month; 3,600 per year. Process improvement Contract management software has three levels of data-entry options, each with greater levels of calculations automation: 1. Using the technology natively, employees can Data-entry cost rapidly fill-in a pre-built contract template. Assuming that each insurance application takes 2. Via integration with internal software a data-entry administrator twenty minutes and systems such as Customer Relationship labor expense is twenty dollars per hour, the total Management (CRM) or Sales Force annual cost of this activity is $24,000 per year. Automation (SFA), contracts can be populated by a single click. 3. The technology can also be integrated with web sites so that data-entry can be off- loaded to external signatories (customers, partners, and so on) effectively eliminating data-entry cost. Number of insurance applications per year 3,600 Employee cost per hour $20 Time of labor to enter data in to contracts (minutes per contract) 20 minutes $6.67 TOTAL COSTS OF DATA-ENTRY $24,000 Recombo | White Paper 5
  • 8. Distribution cost Contract management software distributes contracts via e-mail, completely eliminating The two costs associated with distributing paper courier and standard mail costs. Additionally, the contracts are labor and shipping. Assuming 75% technology can be integrated with web sites and of these insurance contracts are shipped via other internal software systems to automate standard mail, 10% by courier and the remaining the distribution of contracts without using any by fax and e-mail, the total cost of distribution is labor. In our insurance example, customers fill-in $18,165 annually. applications on-line and click “send” when they are completed. The contract is then automatically launched into the signature routing workflow. Distribution Distribution Admin time Admin Shipping Shipping (%) (# of docs) (min.) costs cost extended E-mailed 10% 360 5 $600 $0 $0 Faxed 5% 180 5 $300 $0 $0 Standard mail 75% 2,700 10 $9,000 $0.75 $2,025 Courier 10% 360 10 $1,200 $14 $5,040 100% 3,600 $11,100 $7,065 TOTAL $18,165 DISTRIBUTION COSTS Data error-checking cost Contract workflow management provides data error-control in two important ways: After the insurance application forms have been 1. The data fields (dates, amounts, text, completed, a percentage will have missing or signatures, and so on) are very much like incomplete information (either data errors in the fields in a database. You can assign data- application, or missing supporting documentation, entry rules to them ensuring contracts are such as void checks or bank statements). Assuming filled-in correctly. that 25% need to be error-checked and each contract takes thirty minutes to check, chase down 2. You can set up the contract management signatories, and secure corrections and supporting software system to enforce rules for documentation, the cost of this task is $9,000 supporting documentation. annually. The combination of these two features effectively cuts data error-checking costs to zero. Number of insurance applications per year 3,600 Percentage of returned contracts that require error-checking 25% Amount of error-checking time per contract (minutes) 30 Employee hourly rate $20 TOTAL COSTS OF ERROR-CHECKING $9,000 Recombo | White Paper 6
  • 9. Filing and retrieval cost 3. Contracts can be maintained in both the platform and internal back-office systems Once the insurance contracts have been (the platform thereby effectively acting as completed and error-checked, they need to be back-up). filed. Furthermore, once they are filed, a portion Digital contracts are always available and secure. will invariably need to be retrieved at some point. They can be retrieved instantly by: We estimate filing and retrieval costs to be $8,400 per year. • Internal data element(s) in the contract(s) such as: signatory names, dates, amounts, percent- There are a number of filing options with contract ages, etc. management software: • Meta-data associated with the contract(s) such 1. By default, contracts are automatically filed as: publisher names, published status (opened, on the platform. unopened, signed), publication date, etc. 2. Contracts can be automatically filed in, internal back-office systems and deleted from the platform. Number of insurance applications per year 3,600 Employee hourly rate $20 Average time to file contracts (minutes) 5 $1.67 Percentage of contracts needing to be filed 100% 3,600 $6,000 Percentage of contracts needing to be retrieved 20% 720 Average time to retrieve 10 $3.33 $2,400 TOTAL FILING AND RETRIEVING COSTS $8,400 Recombo | White Paper 7
  • 10. Abandoned documents 3. Improved customer experience. By integrating with web sites, signatories can Contract management software helps improve be guided through the form-filling process, close rates in three important ways: making it effortless to quickly complete a document. 1. Immediacy. There is no waiting for documents to arrive. Once the data is filled-in, Let’s assume a 3% abandonment rate, and a value signatories receive them instantly. For of $840 for each completed contract. Let’s also competitive markets like insurance, securities, assume that more visibility and immediacy into and merchant card services, this enables sales the status of contracts coupled with a superior people to close new accounts quickly. customer experience can improve this number by 30%. The opportunity cost will therefore be 2. Visibility. Unlike paper documents that $27,540 annually. go into a black hole once they have been distributed, digital documents are always visible. As a result, sales people know when to make calls to ensure the documents get signed. Number of deals quoted per year 3,600 Percent of abandoned deals 3% Number of abandoned deals 108 Potential decrease in abandoned deals with contract management software 30% Potential additional deals 32 “ Value of abandoned deal $850 Cost And Flexibility Needs Are TOTAL OPPORTUNITY COST OF ABANDONED DEALS $27,540 Shaping The Market. Broadly speaking, realizing cost savings by eliminating the need to use, handle, and process paper and The bottom line If we assume the annual cost of contract management software for this project is using the Web to speed up the In our example, the combined cost to complete approximately $20,000, the total annual savings process of acquiring customers each application form is $16.54 for a total of for the insurance broker is $67,105 — a 335% and closing business are the two $59,565 per year. Add to this $27,540 annual return on investment. For organizations that revenue loss of abandoned applications, brings the pay per contract for their contract management main reasons that e-signature total paper-based cost to $87,105 annually. software system — the broker pays $5.55 per adoption has significantly contract as opposed to the current $16.54 — an ” accelerated in recent years. immediate 66% reduction. Forrester Research, Inc. January, 2010 Total Per Market Overview: E-Signatures in 2010 contract TOTAL ANNUAL OPPORTUNITY COST FROM PAPER CONTRACTS $27,540 TOTAL ANNUAL COSTS OF YOUR PAPER CONTRACTS $59,565 $16.54 $87,105 Recombo | White Paper 8
  • 11. Agreement Express by Recombo™ — The Fastest Way to Automate Your Contract Workflows - Saving You Time & Money Agreement Express by Recombo™ lets you rapidly automate the life cycle of your contracts, saving you time and money. You can implement Agreement Express in a week or less, to realize significant improvements in productivity. Agreement Express drives down your labor and distribution costs and delivers a return on investment in weeks, rather than years. It reduces or even eliminates labor costs across the entire contract life cycle process – preparing, distributing, routing, signing, error-checking, storing and retrieving. Agreement Express makes forms easy to complete, reducing abandonment rates, and helping you close more business. Agreement Express’ combination of four key elements make it an evolutionary leap forward in contract workflow automation: efficient contract handling, best-of-breed digital signature technology, robust workflow automation, and a rapid integration engine. Contract handling Once the contract has been loaded into Agreement Express, data elements such as dates, names, At the most fundamental level, Agreement amounts, percentages, text, formulas and signature Express enables organizations to efficiently blocks, can be easily dragged-and-dropped to the manage contracts as they flow through each appropriate locations in the contract. step required to move contracts through the approvals cycle: create, distribute, route, store Distributing and monitoring digital and retrieve. contracts Creating digital contracts Agreement Express documents are maintained at all times on centrally hosted servers in bank-grade “ Contracts (insurance application forms, employee secure facilities. When contracts are ready for In today’s highly-competitive debt offer letters, pay stubs, merchant on-boarding signing, the various signatories are invited by e-mail settlement arena, it is an essential applications, etc.) are typically created with to click a URL to review and sign them online. service to expedite the signing of desktop publishing software such as Word, Before signatories can sign an contract, they are agreements in a timely fashion. I PowerPoint, Excel, PDF, Google docs, etc. Once first authenticated using a method determined by a contract has been created, it can be easily the contract publisher (see the following section for would rank Agreement Express transformed into a fully-interactive digital contract more details on authentication options). as the #2 most prioritized in two ways: software application our sales From the Agreement Express dashboard, contract folks use (after our own • Browse for it on the desktop and upload directly administrators can visually monitor the status of to Agreement Express. contracts — which signatories have not yet opened ” CRM) today. their contracts, who has viewed but not signed, and • Use the Agreement Express Connector to who has completed the contracts. Steve Kwan upload it from the print menu in any of the Marketing & Project Manager above mentioned desktop publishing Freedom Financial Network, LLC software applications. Recombo | White Paper 9
  • 12. Storing completed contracts methods that can either be third-party validated or Contract routing company attested: By default, contracts are stored on Agreement One element of automating the approval process Express’ servers. They can also be downloaded • “Password-based” is for contracts with is to ensure that contracts get routed correctly. to the desktop or automatically routed into back- low-sensitivity or the signatories are well-known For example, contracts such as new account office systems. to each other. Authentication can be set to a contracts require information to be filled-out first simple password. by the potential client, then by the company for Retrieving completed contracts • “Wallet-based” is for contracts with moderate quotation, and then back to the client for final sensitivity. Prior to logging into Agreement signature. Final copies may need to be sent to Unlike traditional contracts that have limited the insurance or securities broker, client and Express, the signatory is asked a series of ques- indexing options — typically contract name, date underwriter, or other partners. Regardless of how tions, such as driver’s license number, partial saved, and type, Agreement Express enables users complex the contract routing is, it can be rapidly social security number, credit card number, etc.. to manage contracts at the data level. Individual automated with Agreement Express. or groups of contracts can be rapidly retrieved • “Credit based” is for highly-sensitive contracts. from the Agreement Express server by any Prior to logging into Agreement Express, the Business rules characteristic of the contract: contract type, date signatory is asked a series of questions pertain- range, dollar amounts, names, percentages, and ing to credit history, such as the bank where The approval process may require that contracts more. you do business, mortgage amounts, monthly be routed by decision-tree business rules. For payments, etc. instance, a new customer application may contain Electronic signature Additionally, a full audit trail of activity is maintained a question about payment method. If the customer chooses “direct withdrawal,” then the automatic for each contract, so that no contract can be enabler fraudulently altered. withdrawal contract form needs to be completed and routed, as required. Agreement Express is designed to optimize contract workflows that need formal or Workflow engine Supporting documentation informal approval. Approvals usually (although not always) require a signature. As such, A paper-based contract workflow wastes Contracts often require supporting documentation. Agreement Express includes best-of-breed resources. Agreement Express can effortlessly An insurance application will likely require a copy digital signature technology. automate even the most complex contract of a void check. Agreement Express ensures that workflow. This automation is driven by three upon contract completion, this type of supporting Authentication key elements: routing, business rules and documentation is uploaded (by fax or scan copy), supporting documentation. and included in the contract package. When contracts are published, the various signatories receive an e-mail with a web link that connects them to the appropriate contracts. Each signatory is authenticated by one of the following Recombo | White Paper 10
  • 13. Rapid integration CRM integration engine A fast way to populate a contract with accurate data is via integration with your CRM or SFA. Because of its hosted architecture and rapid Rather than populate sales proposals manually, integration engine, Agreement Express can be with SFA integration, sales people simply open implemented in a fraction of the time — and at customer records to launch the data-entry process a dramatically lower cost — than has ever been automatically. For companies who publish large possible before. volumes of contracts, this can have a dramatic affect on employee costs and efficiency. Hosted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) architecture Web-site integration Unlike traditional software that is installed and Agreement Express provides a flexible, open maintained at the customer’s premise, Agreement API that enables you to rapidly integrate digital Express is hosted at a central location and is contracts into web sites. This enables you to improve maintained by Recombo. You do not install or the user experience, by providing guided form-filling, maintain software, you simply click a link and login. thereby improving contract completion rates. As a result, you can begin to create and distribute Additionally, offloading the form-filling process to digital contracts soon after you sign-up for external signatories effectively reduces data-entry the service costs to zero. Agreement Express’ integration engine also provides Front-end integration the capability to store contracts on internal back- In addition to manual data-entry, Agreement office systems. Users can choose to store completed Express’ rapid integration engine provides two contracts on either or both of Recombo’s servers, automated data-entry options — front-office and internal back-office systems. integration and web-site integration. The advantages of storing on Recombo servers include multi-indexed contract retrieval and secondary back-up of contracts. Recombo | White Paper 11
  • 14. SUMMARY Agreement Express by Recombo™ is the fastest way to automate contract workflows, enabling organizations to rapidly tap into immediate cost-savings. In the past, organizations who wished to automate their contract workflows had to pay steep prices to install, maintain and customize heavy technology. All that has changed with Agreement Express — an affordable software service with a rapid integration engine, that automates contract workflows in less time — than ever before. To learn more about Agreement Express, call us today at + 1.877.AGREE.XP (247.3397) or visit us at http://recombo.com Agreement Express is a registered trademark of Recombo Inc. All rights reserved. Recombo | White Paper 12