Henry Ford is rumored to have said of his Model T automobile, “If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” If you asked a corporate legal team what they need to handle a sprawling portfolio of contracts, they’d tell you, “single a do-everything contract management tool.”
And they’d be just as wrong as Henry Ford’s hypothetical focus group of horse enthusiasts.
Most contract management tools are designed to optimize one of three steps in the contract “lifecycle.”
- Pre-signature contract drafting
- Multi-party electronic contract signature
- Post-signature contract analysis and management
Now, there are a number of contract management software solutions that handle two or even three of these steps, but no one has developed an end-to-end contract management solution that is “best of breed” at all three aspects.
It’s hard to be great at everything. To return to the automobile analogy, there isn’t a vehicle out there that’s the best high-performance sports car but is also the best at hauling cargo and great for shopping and camping and soccer games and that still gets excellent fuel economy with seating for eight. And any car that tried to be all things to all drivers would end up looking like a Simpsons gag.
So it goes with contract management software.
When evaluating a contract management solution, you need to identify which phase of the contract lifecycle that the software is designed to excel at. It’s fine if the solution dabbles in the other steps — after all, even full-sized SUVs still have some luxury trim levels to feel like more than just soccer mom-mobiles — but each contract management solution will have a clear area of emphasis, just like every automobile is clearly a sports coupe, sedan, SUV, or truck.
Choosing the right solution for your legal team requires knowing what your biggest legal headache is.
Is your biggest bottleneck turning out novel, customized contracts quickly and correctly? Then you need a solution that emphasizes pre-signature contract drafting.
If your biggest hurdle is getting multiple, disparate parties to sign shared agreements in a timely fashion, you need an electronic signature tool.
And if your biggest legal challenge is collecting, cataloging and quantifying the risks and opportunities of a sprawling contract portfolio, then you need a post-signature contract analysis and management tool.
The latter case is the most common, and the most inevitable, because if you get good at generating and signing contracts, eventually you’ll need a solution for storing, managing, and analyzing all those agreements. No matter what combination of contract solutions you employ, or what the relative strengths of each solution are, everyone needs a good post-signature contract analysis tool.
LinkSquares is building the premier post-signature contract management solution on the market. By leveraging advanced artificial intelligence, LinkSquares can actually parse, categorize, and identify risks in your entire contract portfolio at software speed.
If you’re ready to get a handle on every obligation and opportunity hidden in all your legal agreements — and address the most important phase of the contract life cycle with the best tool for the job — contact LinkSquares today.