An unexpected prevalence of contract management systems

How contracts are managed by legal departments is one of the topics covered by Exari’s white paper, Corporate Counsel Contracts Survey Report, Dec. 2011 at 12. A column chart shows the results from approximately 100 legal departments. Given four choices regarding the percentages of the techniques they use to manage contracts, the departments reported the following: paper filing (45% checked it), network drives (52%), spreadsheets (17%), and “contract management systems” (about 30%). The numbers add up to more than 100 because, I presume, respondents were allowed to check more than one and they use more than one technique.

As scanning becomes more routine, I assume paper filing will diminish. Even so, for years to come companies will want to keep the original of important signed contracts.

What struck me from this data is that contract management software appears to be more common in legal departments than matter management software (See my post of March 1, 2011: estimates something like 2,500 out of 25,000 US legal departments use such software.). Perhaps the term “system” implies something broader than a software program. Some people use the word system to convey an entire organizational process with an array of integrated tools and methods and practices (See my post of Feb. 5, 2012: list of 39 contract management offerings sent on request.). Perhaps the respondents who completed the survey were predisposed toward contract management.

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