95% of organisations don’t have full visibility of contractual obligations.
Often, it’s because they don’t have a contract repository which leads to difficulty locating or tracking agreements.
If this lack of visibility resonates with your organisation, it could be vulnerable to:
- In-house teams spending valuable hours looking for contract information
- Missed renewals or contracts expiring without your knowledge
- Duplicated contracts paired with an inability to control version history
- Poor vendor performance which goes unnoticed
- Non-compliance with regulations or legislation
- Poor contract outcomes as a result of terms not being fulfilled.
By failing to have a single source of truth when it comes to contracts, businesses make themselves vulnerable to financial, compliance, relationship and reputational risk.
In this article we explore:
- What is a contract repository?
- Why businesses use a manual contract repository
- Traditional contract repository risks
- How to centralise your contracts with a VCLM platform
What is a contract repository?
A contract repository, or contract repository software, is a centralised place where agreements are stored. It can also be referred to as a document repository. Whichever name you know it by, it gives businesses a single, secure database where they can upload, track and manage all of their vendor contracts.
Whether a business uses a traditional or modern contract repository is often dependent on their level of vendor and contract management maturity.
A traditional contract repository involves a manual combination of filing cabinets, Excel spreadsheets, email, Google Drive or Sharepoint. A modern repository is automated, cloud-based and often included within a Vendor and Contract Lifecycle Management (VCLM) platform.
Why businesses use a manual contract repository
Manual, self-built contract repositories such as Excel spreadsheets, emails and shared drives offer a convenient solution to businesses trying to stay in control of their contracts.
A traditional contract repository offers:
- Accessibility: Excel spreadsheets and emails are typically already installed on most devices
- Usability: Teams don’t require training to be able to use them for vendor and contract management
- Cost-effectiveness: Excel, emails, and other platforms don’t require a significant amount of financial investment that grows based on the number of users
- Security: Some businesses may feel that passwords and two-factor authentication required on spreadsheets or emails are an adequate way to secure contract data.
A manual contract repository gives businesses a simple, cost-effective way to store the crucial information they need, including key contract dates, vendor contact information and contractual obligations.
If your business is prioritising a traditional repository, such as Excel, our template bundle below will help you gain even more value from your contract data.
After all, it’s better to store your contract data in one place - whatever that looks like - than in no place.
However, be mindful that using options such as Excel spreadsheets as a document repository does have its limitations.
traditional contract repository risks
Traditional contract repositories may well be suitable for small businesses. They can also be suitable for businesses managing straightforward contracts, or those that don’t have multiple functions influencing or reviewing the contracts.
But the pitfalls of manual contract tracking and management begin to outweigh the benefits when your business grows in size, complexity or regulatory requirements.
Relying on a manual repository can result in:
- A single point of failure if the individual responsible for data entry and upkeep leaves the business, puts in incorrect information or forgets to keep it updated.
- High levels of administration as they typically require a lot of time and effort to maintain
- Disparate data as manual methods are inconsistent and data can be stored all over the place
- Compliance risks as it can be more challenging to track changes and maintain accurate records
- Hidden costs because although not investing in contract management software may seem cost-effective, the cost of missed renewals can soon add up.
- The inability to scale as a manual process that works for 10-50 contracts can easily become unworkable if a business grows to 500+ contracts.
If your business is already showing signs that its manual approaches aren’t working effectively, then it’s likely time to invest in a Vendor and Contract Lifecycle Management (VCLM) platform.
How to centralise your contracts with a VCLM platform
Gatekeeper’s Vendor and Contract Lifecycle Management (VCLM) platform offers an innovative solution for centralising contracts, streamlining processes, and reinforcing the three pillars of visibility, control, and compliance.
Watch our webinar below to find out more about using our contract repository.
Here are four key ways in which this platform transforms contract management:
1. Create a single source of truth
The foundation of effective vendor and contract management is having a unified and accessible repository. Gatekeeper’s VCLM platform allows your business to migrate legacy documents and add new agreements to a centralised contract repository.
Leverage AI Extract technology to ensure that all input data is accurate and current. This allows you to save time from manual data entry, reduce the risk of human error and eliminate poor version control."
Confidently navigate through different contract versions, ensuring everyone is referencing the latest and most accurate agreement. This level of clarity and control is vital for making informed decisions, negotiating better terms, and maintaining strong vendor relationships.
2. Increase vendor contract searchability
Ctrl + F, or spending hours digging through emails, will only get you so far. And chances are by the time you’ve found the contract you need, it may be too late to join in on critical conversations. A significant amount of time in traditional contract management is lost in locating specific contracts or clauses.
A VCLM platform uses advanced OCR (Optical Character Recognition) search technology to help you swiftly locate any contract or specific information within a contract."
This increased visibility and instant access to records allows your business to reduce administrative hours significantly.
By freeing up this time, staff can focus on more strategic activities, adding value to the business rather than getting bogged down in manual, administrative work.
3. Set Access Permissions
Unlike basic data protection methods (like password-protected Excel sheets), a VCLM platform with a contract repository tool offers a more robust way to manage data security.
It allows your business to set detailed access levels, determining who can view, edit, or share vendor records and contract data. Setting permissions adds another layer of protection to sensitive data.
This granular approach to access control not only enhances data security but also ensures that the right people have the right information at the right time, facilitating smoother operations and decision-making.
4. Set Alerts for Key Dates
One of the strategic advantages of using contract repository software is its ability to automate alerts for key contract dates.
Your business can stay ahead of contract reviews, expirations, and renewals with automated reminders.
This proactive approach ensures compliance, protects the bottom line, and maintains a clear understanding of how vendors and contracts perform against agreed obligations.
It eliminates the risk of missing critical deadlines, which can have financial or legal repercussions. A contract repository, within a VCLM platform, gives you greater levels of control.
A contract repository is more than just a central place for storing contracts and related documents; it's the foundation of an effective vendor and contract management strategy.
Without a centralised repository, maintaining visibility, accessibility, and accuracy becomes challenging. It ultimately hinders control over the full contract portfolio.
To unlock the full value of your business agreements and advance beyond the limitations of traditional repositories, consider using a VCLM platform.