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Does your day involve high volumes of contract administration, dealing with the consequences of missed deadlines, and the dreaded hunt for misplaced documents?

If the answer is yes, your approach to contract lifecycle management (CLM) needs modernising. Poor CLM processes can drain time, resources, and morale. At their worst, they cause non-compliance, financial penalties and business disruption. For regulated businesses, this is a nightmare. In this article, we’ll look at what contract lifecycle management is and how the right approach, supported by the right technology, can benefit your business.

What is contract lifecycle management?

At its core, CLM is the systematic management of contracts throughout their entire lifecycle from creation to renewal or closure. By centralising and automating these processes, contract management can be streamlined and optimised at each lifecycle stage - so your business can focus on achieving the best outcomes. Effective contract lifecycle management can be achieved when your business implements dedicated CLM software. It offers multiple benefits that will help your business to restore visibility, take back control and safeguard compliance. 

CLM benefits for Regulated businesses

1. Complete visibility of a single source of truth 

Businesses in regulated industries must have a clear understanding of contractual obligations and whether they’re being fulfilled. 
CLM software provides your organisation visibility into its agreements via a centralised contract repository. Combined with version control capabilities and an auditable history of any changes, your business can build a single source of truth. Restoring visibility of contract statuses, milestones, and key performance indicators (KPIs) fosters informed, proactive decision-making and risk mitigation. Having a clear line of sight over your portfolio is the foundation of all successful contract management processes. 

 

2. Standardised processes achieved through contract workflows 

Siloed operations can hinder collaboration, impede progress and increase risk. By integrating disparate processes and automating tasks, your business can drive internal efficiencies and improve collaboration between departments.CLM software digitises, automates and standardises manual processes through best practices contract workflows. If you prefer to start from scratch, choose a platform that offers customisable workflows. These can be tailored to align with the specific requirements of your regulated industry while promoting agility and efficiency.Eliminate bottlenecks, accelerate time-to-value and use alerts to prompt stakeholders to take timely action when risks are identified. Contract management software reduces administrative risks, ensures consistency across contract processes and helps your business to achieve better outcomes. 

An example of a regulated business using automated workflows to create credit checksAn example of a workflow within Gatekeeper

3. Increased contract governance & audit-readiness   

Maintaining robust contract governance is essential for ensuring compliance, mitigating risks, and upholding organisational integrity. Spreadsheets and emails can’t help you to establish accountability and ownership throughout your organisation. They also leave gaps in your data integrity and could contribute to non-compliance. 

CLM systems offer role-based access controls, demonstrating a clear chain of custody for all contract data. All actions taken against an agreement are automatically recorded - along with a time, name and date stamp to drive accountability. 

This auditable history can be easily retrieved, simplifying preparation for audits and ensuring compliance with regulators who demand detailed record-keeping.

4. Reduced regulatory risk via improved data integrity  

Human error in spreadsheets can lead to data inconsistencies, breaches and even total data loss. Emails, shared drives and filing cabinets are susceptible to lapse data management too. These can all increase the risk of falling non-compliant, as most regulated industries mandate strict data security protocols. 

Data breaches can be catastrophic for your business, leading to financial losses, regulatory fines, and reputational damage.

Choosing a SOC and ISO-certified CLM provider simplifies compliance by ensuring the system meets these established security benchmarks. These certifications indicate the CLM provider has robust controls to prevent such incidents. This helps you to stay on the right side of compliance.

An image of ISO and SOC badges to evidence that Gatekeeper prioritises data integrityGatekeeper's security certificates 

how Gatekeeper delivers CLM benefits

AccentCare, a growing healthcare company, struggled to manage its contracts due to a lack of centralised storage. This made it difficult to integrate new businesses and understand existing commitments.

To regain control, they sought a solution offering:

  • Support for its future growth
  • A single source of truth for all contracts

Gatekeeper emerged as the perfect fit, meeting their extensive list of desired features and offering valuable expertise for long-term success.

"The Gatekeeper team added tremendous value throughout the process. They advised on best practices relating to items such as data structure and other areas that we hadn’t even thought about. They did all the heavy lifting, which freed up my team to work on delivering other initiatives." - Scarlet King, Sr. Director, Strategic Sourcing

Shannon Smith
Shannon Smith

Shannon Smith bridges the gap between expert knowledge and practical VCLM application. Through her extensive writing, and years within the industry, she has become a trusted resource for Procurement and Legal professionals seeking to navigate the ever-changing landscape of vendor management, contract management and third-party risk management.

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