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Updated: 19/11/2020

Third-party solutions for redlining contracts offer theoretical benefits based around having a wholly digitised contract negotiation and redline process.

These solutions take the accepted legal and commercial standard that is Microsoft Word and ‘Track Changes’ and attempt to replicate this feature-set in a web-based application.

However, the problem with theoretical benefits is that they are just that - theoretical. Once they’re tested in the real world, they often fail to deliver on the promises.

In our first article, we demonstrated why the adoption of these solutions is generally limited and why Microsoft Track Changes persists as the contract redlining solution of choice.

Track Changes from Microsoft Word

Taking a deeper look into third-party contract redlining solutions reveals a further range of problems. These include:

Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM)

A contract’s life doesn’t end at the signature stage - it begins. [Click to Tweet]


The problem with redline solutions is they focus heavily on the initial contract negotiation and eSign stage but have a little or no features focused on post-contract execution apart from some simple email notifications.

A company works hard to negotiate the preferential terms and these are secured within the contract but they need ongoing management to ensure these financial benefits are realised. In Protiviti’s 2017 Procurement Survey close to half of Finance Leaders stated that only 20% of negotiated savings hit the bottom line.

Only 20% of negotiated savings hit the bottom line. [Click to Tweet]


A contract should be a living document that is managed and updated. There is a host of contract obligations that need to be managed post-execution, including:

  • Contract variations that need to be negotiated and updated
  • Service Level Agreements that need to be monitored
  • Service penalties that may apply
  • Pricing tiers that need to be actioned

These are just a small sample of ongoing contract management obligations that are not supported by online redline solutions.

Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)


Buy-side contracts require a set of features focused on managing the Supplier Relationship to obtain and continue to drive best-value from the relationship. These features include:

    • Schedule Supplier meetings including Quarterly Business Reviews
    • A central repository of the organisational intelligence relating to the supplier (notes, messages etc)
    • Supplier Scorecards for performance grading and enhancement
    • Ongoing obligation management and scheduled events

This toolset is simply missing from online redline solutions.

So do we need to stick with a fragmented process using emails and no central management?

No. There is a solution. A solution that allows you to work with Microsoft Word and track changes natively. A solution that doesn’t even require login yet can still centrally manage and track the process.

eNegotiate-Generate-Contract-2-1Generate unlimited templates with Gatekeeper

It’s called eNegotiate from Gatekeeper. This contract redlining solution also allows your business to:

  • Generate unlimited Microsoft Word templates from contract records
  • Merge all required data from key fields
  • Self-service contracts from an approved boilerplate clause library
  • Automate the generation of compliant, pre-approved legal agreements
  • Build a visual audit trail that tracks all comments against contract documents and records. 

If you would like to see eNegotiate in action, get in touch with us today for a demonstration.

This article is part 2 in a 2 part series. You can read Part 1 here.

Patrick O'Connor
Patrick O'Connor

Patrick is CEO of Gatekeeper, with over two decades of contract and commercial negotiation expertise, predominantly in IT and Technology.

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