07 Mar 2023
With the increasing use of digital tools, managing contracts has become more efficient, and Microsoft 365 offers a range of features to help manage contracts and associated risks. In this blog post, we will discuss how Microsoft 365 tools and features can help to manage contracts and reduce associated risks.
Centralized contract repository
The first step in managing contracts and associated risks in Microsoft 365 is to create a centralized repository for all contracts. This will allow organizations to store and organize contracts in one location, making it easier to retrieve and review contracts when needed.
Microsoft 365 offers a centralized repository, such as SharePoint, to store all your contracts in one place. This feature helps to reduce the risk of contracts being lost or misplaced, and it allows for easy access to all contract-related information.
Set user permissions and track contract status
Once contracts have been stored in the centralized repository, organizations should establish policies and procedures for managing contracts. This includes identifying the roles and responsibilities of each party involved in the contract and defining the process for creating, editing, and approving contracts. With SharePoint, you can also set up permissions to ensure that only authorized personnel can access specific contracts, reducing the risk of unauthorized access.
It is also important to establish a clear timeline for completing contracts and any associated tasks. Organizations can utilize Microsoft Planner and other tracking features of Microsoft 365 to track the status of contracts.
This includes monitoring contract deadlines and keeping track of any changes to the contract. Unnecessary costs can be avoided from missed deadlines, tracking volume commitments, and unintended renewal of contracts.
Automate processes, workflows and manage risks
Microsoft Syntex's AI-driven contract analytics and risk management features can enable organizations to automate processes, and manage and secure contracts. With its natural language processing (NLP) and AI ability, users can instantly search, analyze, organize, and electronically sign (eSignature) contracts. Additionally, Syntex's ability to allow integration into business workflows also makes it easy to identify and analyze valuable information from contracts, enabling organizations to make informed decisions about their contracts.
Microsoft Syntex also provides risk management capabilities that allow users to identify and address legal and business risks associated with contracts. This helps organizations to meet security and compliance requirements by protecting their contracts – backup or restore and advanced contract management security features in Syntex.
Contract lifecycle management
It is important to manage all activities from the initial request of the contract to the end of the contract's life. Microsoft 365 offers a range of tools to manage the contract lifecycle effectively. For instance, organizations can use Microsoft Forms to create contract request forms, which can be automatically routed for approval, deadline reminders, and Power Automate can be used to automate contract approvals and renewals. Additionally, Microsoft 365 has a range of templates that allows the creation of legally compliant contracts, reducing the risk of errors and omissions.
Optimize contract processes through process mining
Process mining works with the existing Microsoft platform for organizations looking to enhance their operational efficiency and make informed decisions. Process mining using MS Minit can help to manage contracts through process simplification. Organizations can analyze data from the contract processes they create using process mining capabilities to identify process bottlenecks that can cause delays in contract execution and build standards to optimize contract operations.
Through MS Minit, organizations can also identify exceptions and areas of non-compliance that may lead to increased risk in their contracts processes. This can help to uncover hidden risks in contracts that may not be immediately obvious. Process mining can help to reduce the complexity in contract management processes, making them easier to manage and understand.
Identify potential risks through analytics and reporting
Microsoft 365 also offers a range of analytics and reporting tools that can help manage contract-related risks effectively. Organizations can use Microsoft Power BI to generate reports on contract performance, such as the number of contracts signed, the time taken to approve contracts, and the number of contracts up for renewal.
This will ensure that all mandatory contract data are captured efficiently. The report data captured can help identify potential risks and provide insights into areas that need improvement.
Monitor contractual obligations
Missing any contractual obligation like Service Level Agreements (SLAs) can incur serious penalties for organizations. Microsoft 365 can be used to identify and manage any contractual obligations that can have a significant impact on the organization's operations, such as performance requirements, termination clauses, and dispute resolution protocols.
Microsoft 365 tools like Teams, Outlook, Planner, SharePoint, and many more offer a range of reminders and tracking features, which makes it easy to maintain visibility into contracts and associated risks. This includes setting automatic reminders to review contracts and associated documents to ensure compliance with contractual obligations.
Organizations can track any changes in responsibilities to the contract in Microsoft 365 with reminders that could create additional risks and ensure that the changes are addressed promptly. This will prevent payment of any contractual penalties due to the effective visibility of contractual obligations.
Managing contracts and associated risks can be daunting, but Microsoft 365 offers a range of features to help streamline the process. By utilizing Microsoft 365 contracts management tools, capabilities, and automated solutions, organizations can reduce risks, save time, improve overall contract management efficiency, and increase profitability.
At Proventeq, our Microsoft 365 implementation service and expertise have enabled Microsoft's cloud-based content services and productivity tools for thousands of users across the globe. Speak to our experts to find out how we can leverage Microsoft 365 capabilities to enable your organizations to identify, manage and maintain visibility into contracts and mitigate potential associated risks. Book a free consultation for a 1:1 session today.
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