A contract management system can provide four primary benefits:
(1) It serves as repository of executed agreements and allows users to search for them. Typically the contacts are stored as PDF files with a summary of their key information (name of the other party, type of agreement, business group that signed the agreement, date, expiration, as well as internal roles such as the responsible lawyer, client executive, controller, contract administrator, and contract signer).
(2) It may help generate agreements, such as NDAs and simple services agreements. This capability might come from a document assembly module (See my post of Feb. 26, 2008: document assembly with 16 references.).
(3) It keeps track of approval steps, most of which are driven by finance policies. It may be that 90 percent or more of approval authority depends on the amount committed in the contract. Ranges might start at $250,000 as the bottom tier where a single lawyer can sign off), $250-500,000 requires two attorneys, and so forth.
(4) It tracks and reports on follow-up dates and retention periods. This includes showing where the original, signed document is stored, such as in a corporate vault.
Law department managers can choose among a number of software packages that provide these benefits (See my post of Nov. 22, 2008: contract management software with 11 references.).