If you heard my interview with Joshua Lenon of Clio on my podcast, you’ll recognize this concept: contract management. Also known as the exact job description of a significant number of legal service professionals.
With the help of PC Magazine, I can now tell you the names of those contract management systems that are coming for your precious contract work. Trust me, they’re impressive. Here are 8 Top Contract Management Systems that Want Your Job:
What They All Do:
All of these contract management systems replace legal service professionals for drafting and maintaining contracts. Even the worst of the models does all this:
- Index your contracts, by parties, date, category, key elements; specific clauses;
- Generate profiles for individuals and companies for quick importing into new contracts;
- Keep contracts divided and organized by business department;
- Draft and edit complete contracts, including complex clauses and terms;
- Search all contracts on the database for keywords and tags, or by a simple word search;
- Generate reports analyzing some or all of your contracts, exportable into numerous different file types.
And just like when you purchase a new car, if you’re willing to splurge, you can get a whole lot more. The top contract management systems would probably walk your dog if you paid for the extension.
The Top Tier of Contract Management:
Price: Enterprise – $2,700 per year (5 users); Cloud-based – starting at $45 per user, per year (5 users minimum). Offers free service tier.
Killer Feature: Customization. Nearly every part of this system is customizable, including the price. Options include asset management, insurance certificate tracking, complete audit log of all changes made to any contract, and a 90-day unconditional money back guarantee. Oh, they also have complete integration with DocuSign, and have multiple languages for multinational needs.
Weakness: Doesn’t (yet) come with it’s own Top 14 Diploma in a designer frame.
Price: $69 per user per month (decreasing with more users, to $29 for users after 26).
Killer Feature: User friendly. Adapting to GCD, or learning new features, is incredibly easy thanks to numerous pop-up help windows and other available guides. Alerts tied to documents are easy to create and modify. Customization features, of which there are infinite combinations, are intuitive. The dashboard and calendar offer a quick, easy overview of your contracts, and integration with Microsoft Word and Outlook are huge.
Weakness: While negotiating a contract, GCD is not yet able to entertain you with anecdotes about college sports.
The “Not Top-14″ Contract Management Systems:
Price: Enterprise – $5,000 per year (five users); Cloud-based – $59 per month per user.
Killer Feature: Free trial. Seriously, they’ll let you try it out for free. We’re not talking a free consultation here, either. A totally free trial! There are also other nice things, like customizable modules designed for specific industries, like purchase order management or SalesForce connections. Oh, and the ability to take the metadata from a current contract and use it for drafting a new contract.
Weakness: The template feature will never give your contracts a “human touch” by failing to include standard data or forgetting to remove the name of the last person it made a contract for from your document.
Price: Pro – $100 per month (5 users); Business – $500 per month (15 users).
Killer Feature: Small business-friendly. Yep, this is a service a small business can actually afford! When was the last time you could say that about a business law firm? It handles everything I’ve listed above, includes a dashboard for reviewing your contracts, and it’s fully integrated with SalesForce.
And did I mention that small businesses can actually afford it?
Weakness: It’ll never give you that “I may be paying through the nose, but at least I enjoy a really pretty office for negotiations” feel like an over-priced law firm.
Price: “Essentials Edition” – $20,000 per year (unlimited users); additional editions available.
Killer Feature: Automation. Create workflows around contract review and creation to automate the approval process for new contracts, create a checklist of to-do items attached to contracts, and generate templates pre-populated with specified data. Gimmal also offers significant resources under its Reference tab, including guides for templates, training videos, and online customer support is available.
Weakness: Won’t suggest that it’ll keep your $20,000 in a trust account just in case not all of it gets used… then tell you three weeks later that it’s gone.
Price: $125 per user per month.
Killer Feature: Flexible Interface. From start to finish, nearly every element of contract creation and review is customizable. The main dashboard is composed of different widgets that can be configured to display anything from upcoming/past due actions, active tasks, and what contracts are about to expire. You can even adjust the color scheme of the dashboard! The Contracting Process Status section allows the enterprising user to fully automate some workflows.
Weakness: Endless customization options will make you long for the one-size-fits-all approach of your old BigLaw Firm.
Price: $1,200 per month per app (unlimited users).
Killer Feature: Customer-driven design. Onit’s system closely resembles the app environment of a mobile OS. The apps you use will depend entirely on your needs, allowing you to avoid paying for things you don’t. And, if the right app for your needs doesn’t exist, you can actually make your own. Nearly unlimited capabilities exist due to the massive amount of potential service integrations.
Weakness: Feeling resentful about the limitless options because sometimes you want to be told what to do, dammit.
Price: $125 per user per month (decreasing with more users, to as low as $22 per person).
Killer Feature: Interview-Based Approach. UpDraft takes a unique approach to contract drafting, actually asking you about important terms of the contract, rather than a template-like approach. A sleek design and “exceptional” ease of use give away that it’s marketed to lawyers, rather than general business use.
Weakness: Reminiscent of your meetings with your lawyer, your nostalgia trip ends when you realize your responses to the “interview” questions are actually used in your new contracts.
Title image credit: Photo by winnond.