Digital contracts are a small way businesses can achieve ample growth. They function exactly like paper contracts but exist only as files and data exchanged between relevant parties. Due to their nature, they are easy to use and make contracting a more economical process; however, integrating digital contracts into your workflow is easier said than done.
What are Digital Contracts?
Digital contracting is more than just an eSignature, it includes the entire lifecycle of a contract. From conception to initiation, digital contracting and contract lifestyle management software (CLM) manage an organization’s contracts at every stage.
Digital contracting has substantial benefits for any business; they are efficient, streamlined, risk-managed, and easily accessible. Additionally, with the usage of templates and standardized clauses, new contracts can be quickly authored. The dynamism of digital contracts is, in part, what makes them so useful.
But implementing digital contracting in a secure and effectual manner requires forethought. We’ve collected the top five tips for organizations thinking about going digital.
Audit Your Current Contracting Process
If this process was perfect, you likely wouldn’t be trying to improve it. Running a top-to-bottom audit of your contracting process is the first step to identifying your organization’s needs and weak points. After data is compiled and interpreted, you should be creating style and language guidelines, eliminating or tweaking flawed steps in contracting, and determining the best practices for overseeing active contracts. At this early planning stage, it may be useful to consult with your business attorney to ensure you’re heading down the right path.
Identify a Project Manager or Management Team
Implementing new growth processes in a business is the most cumbersome and important task – but the rewards are congruous [can’t decide if that word is the right one]. Preparing your organization on the front end with a person or team who is trained in digital contracting and CLM and is guiding the implementation of the CLM can mitigate mistakes and clear up confusion; they are your staff’s support. Additionally, the project manager or management team must infuse the software with your proprietary data.
Add Role-based and Encryption Security Measures
In creating and storing digital contracts, not everyone in your organization needs access to certain digital documents. Creating internal data silos with role-based security measures can ensure only relevant parties have access to secure files. This feature of digital contracting makes it far more secure than its paper predecessor, which can easily be infringed upon.
Furthermore, data at every stage of the contract lifecycle should also be encrypted. Encryption encodes data; in security terms, the plaintext or original information is transformed into a ciphertext. With the use of an encryption key created by an algorithm, authorized users can decode the data and access the plaintext file. To keep digital contracts secure, encryption is an essential measure.
Utilize Secure eSignature
Digital contracts are so prevalent, you’ve probably signed your eSignature on a digital contract before. It’s an intuitive and fast method for signing documents and a cornerstone of digital contracting. But, there’s more to the eSignatures than just convenience – they are incredibly secure. Yes, like a paper signature, it is still a signature; but unlike paper, eSignatures contain traceable data (such as an IP address) that show who signed the document, when, and where.
Measure the Effects of Digital Contract Implementation
Enacting new processes in a business requires training and collaboration – it is not a miraculous overhaul with instant results, but the impacts can be measured. Businesses should be collecting data throughout a contract’s lifecycle and comparing it against the paper contracts’ data. Over time, as workers and clients become accustomed to the new processes, the data will indicate the success of secure digital contracting. For businesses owners, one of the most important metrics is profit, and digital processes lead to higher profits as they save time and resources.
Digital contracting is more secure and streamlined than old-fashioned paper contracting. They are a game-changer for businesses sagging under the weight of traditional processes. But implementing secure digital contracts the right way requires the assistance of a legal expert.
The businesses attorneys at Richards Rodriguez and Skeith are here to help. From auditing your operations to safely initiating new contract processes, the legal expertise of our business-minded lawyers may be the best way to safeguard your proprietary information while improving your organization’s effectiveness. Contact us today for more information.