Federal contract management software can help your business manage government contracts with ease. It will help you keep track of them, assist with compliance and keep all parties involved on the same page. Federal Contract Management Software is a solution that every company should look into if they currently perform work with the federal government or plan to in the near future.
In this guide, we review the aspects of Federal Contract Management Software, local government contract management, benefits of contract management software, and pharmaceutical contract management software.
Federal Contract Management Software
Federal contract management software allows you to manage your government contracts with ease. It can help you keep track of them, assist with compliance and ensure that all parties involved are on the same page. This is why many companies are turning to it instead of using off-the-shelf solutions or doing everything manually.
Benefits of Federal Contract Management Software
- Automated workflows. Federal contracts require a lot of moving parts, and one of the biggest challenges for federal contract managers is keeping track of all the documents that need to be signed, sent and filed in order for a contract to be complete. With federal contract management software, you have automated workflows that take care of this for you so that all the information is where it needs to be at all times.
- Full compliance with the law. Federal contractors are tasked with meeting strict standards related to security clearance compliance and government contracting requirements like FAR 52-212 (the dollar threshold for small business subcontracting). Federal contract management software reduces the time spent coordinating legal issues between agencies by providing clear recordkeeping and automated notifications when anything needs urgent attention or action taken on it by someone outside your organization such as an auditor or procurement specialist from another agency who needs access to documentation related specifically to their review process.
- Collaboration between team members both internally as well as externally with other stakeholders involved in executing processes under each respective contract such as CPOs (Contracting Officers) who manage contracts directly through GSA portals like SAM (Systems Acquisition Management) or VA’s VETS system; subcontractors working under prime contracts which may also include vendors providing services based on cost reimbursement arrangements rather than reimbursable agreements; vendors selling products directly without involving third parties who act as intermediaries between sellers and buyers (often referred to “vendors” themselves); auditors conducting reviews during audits against certain laws pertaining specifically about small businesses being awarded contracts etc…
To give you a better idea of how federal contract management software can improve your company’s performance, here are some of the benefits that you can expect from it.
Federal contract management software can be used to increase your company’s productivity and efficiency, create a more streamlined process for managing your contracts, save time and money, foster collaboration throughout your organization, improve communication with government agencies and vendors, and help you meet compliance requirements.
Benefits of Federal Contract Management Software
- Increase Productivity & Efficiency
- Create a More Streamlined Process for Managing Contracts
- Save Time & Money
- Foster Collaboration Throughout the Organization
- Improve Communication with Government Agencies & Vendors
- Help You Meet Compliance Requirements
You may have heard of automated workflows. These are, in essence, a series of tasks that you can set up to run automatically when certain conditions are met and deadlines are approaching. They make it easier to manage your To Dos and deadlines while you focus on other priorities. You can set up automated workflows with iContractAhead in less than 5 minutes by following the steps below:
- Click on “Automated Workflows” from the left menu bar
- Select “Add New Automated Workflow” from the dropdown menu
- Enter a title for your new workflow (e.g., “New Contract”). This will appear as part of your workflow name on iContractAhead’s front page or dashboard so it needs to be descriptive enough that someone unfamiliar with the software could figure out what it does without reading all its details offscreen!
- Select which project this automated workflow should apply to by clicking on its name underneath “Project”. For example, if I’m creating an automated workflow for contracts under $10K/year then only contracts from Projects A through D would appear here since they’re all below that limit; but my next choice would be between Projects E and F because those projects had higher budget levels but not quite high enough for me to set another threshold at $50K/year instead!
Full compliance with the law
The law requires contractors to report any data breaches that affect more than 500 people within 30 days of discovery. Companies that don’t comply with this rule can be fined up to $1 million. In addition, the GDPR has strict penalties for violations: first-time offenders face fines of up to €20 million ($22.5 million), or 4% of global annual revenue, whichever is higher; repeat offenders face fines up to €40 million ($45 million) or 2% of global annual revenue—the maximum fine allowed under the law. The GDPR also outlines specific rules regarding what companies must do in the event of a breach:
- Within 72 hours after becoming aware of the incident
- Notify those whose personal information was compromised
- Provide notice about how the company will respond (e.g., credit monitoring services) and where victims can find more information on what happened and how it might affect them going forward
Collaboration is a huge part of being successful in the federal government. It allows you to share information and make better decisions faster, which is crucial when deadlines are looming and managers are breathing down your neck.
What does this mean for you? Well, it means that collaboration software can help you be more efficient when working with teams of people outside of your immediate organization. For example, if your manager asks for an update on a project that involves several agencies, it’s much easier to collaborate with those agencies through a program like SharePoint than it would be by emailing them back and forth.
Transparency and control over the contracting process
- The contract management software allows all parties involved in the contracting process to see the status of their requests. This provides a clear overview of the entire process and makes it possible for all parties to be involved at all times.
- You can see who is responsible for what, both on an individual level and as part of your team or organization. This helps you avoid miscommunications, while also enabling you to check back on past decisions and events if necessary.
Clear communication between all involved parties
For example, with federal contracting software, you can ensure that all parties involved in the contract are able to communicate with each other. This communication is streamlined and secure, making it easy to track.
Learn the benefits of government contract management software.
Government contract management software is a solution that will help you perform all aspects of the contracting process, while improving your company’s performance.
The benefits of using government contract management software include:
- Tracking and reporting on all contract information throughout its life cycle.
- Managing compliance with extensive federal regulations that apply to contracts.
- Reducing administrative costs associated with reporting, compliance, and budgeting processes by streamlining them into one system.
local government contract management
For local government managers, contract management procedures typically focus on the financial elements of the contract—payment of invoices, monitoring of the budget, timely invoicing by the vendor, and controls surrounding receipt of goods and cash disbursement. As a result, nonfinancial terms and conditions of the contract are often overlooked. These terms and conditions are typically associated with vendor performance and the quality of the good or service being provided to the government. Without this focus, it is challenging to discern whether or not the vendor has achieved the performance goals associated with the contract.
The contract management function should take a risk-based approach to monitoring nonfinancial elements of contract performance and assign these responsibilities to the appropriate party within the organization. A local government should perform this four-step process when determining the appropriate level of contract monitoring:
1. Identify and analyze pertinent risks.
Organizations typically have controls in place to address such financial elements of contract management as purchasing and reporting. These organizations are less likely to be equipped to manage programmatic risks, including the performance of the vendor and tracking of expected service delivery outcomes. Examples of expected outcomes include:
The contract manager should analyze whether the appropriate controls are in place to mitigate risks associated with the contract and establish enhanced monitoring procedures when necessary.
The government must also consider its risk appetite, meaning it must decide the level of risk it is willing to take on. This is an important consideration, as it helps the organization right-size the level of effort in its contract monitoring procedures.
2. Develop metrics to measure vendor performance.
The next step is to develop quantitative performance metrics. This is the most critical step in monitoring vendor performance, as it enables the organization to point to specific issues or trends when following up with vendors or making future decisions.
Data can be presented in a number of ways—binary measures (e.g., yes, no), ratios, and absolute figures. It is critical that measures address what is most important to the organization and the highest risk contract performance issues.
It is also important to consider this as an iterative process. You may identify improved metrics or determine that the level of monitoring is insufficient or more than needed. The organization must be willing to adapt.
3. Track and report on vendor performance.
Once contract management criteria have been established, the organization must develop a database to track performance matters. This can be as simple as a spreadsheet used as an issue log, where each row represents an instance of contract noncompliance or other challenges with the vendor. A more sophisticated approach would be to develop an issue log spreadsheet as well as a vendor scorecard. Something of this nature can easily be developed in Excel, where color coding would indicate the vendor’s ‘score.’
On a quarterly basis, at a minimum, the contract manager should report on each vendor’s performance. Not only should this information be presented to the appropriate internal party—finance director, city manager, or another designated person—but it is also important to share with the vendor. This enables the vendor to correct performance issues and become a better partner to the government.
4. Make informed management decisions.
Armed with the vendor and contract performance data, the contract manager and others within the organization will be in a position to make more informed management decisions. Examples include:
By implementing this process, a government entity will ensure quality control throughout the lifecycle of a contract. In many cases, this will improve service delivery to residents and promote accountability for the use of public funds.
benefits of contract management software
Contracts are the universal language of business – which is why it pays to have the right Contract Management System in place
Contracts are the universal language of business. Almost every dollar that enters or exits an organisation is predicated on a contract. Even through the vending machine! For this reason, organisations of all sizes are moving toward contract management software. These systems automate the steps to request, approve, and maintain a contract. They can also do much more to drive efficiency, support business relationships, and protect an organisation’s interests.
When someone uses the term contract management, this could mean a variety of different things. For some businesses, managing contracts equates to a folder in a desk drawer. For others, it is a single team member managing a spreadsheet, attempting to keep pace with changes. When people use the term contract management system, they mean one thing: an automated software that digitises contract lifecycle management (CLM).
With a contract management system in place, companies are accelerating contract reviews and approvals. They are also reducing their risk while ensuring compliance and using advanced document management to get the data they need when they need it. CLMs are increasing the visibility of information across their company. This, in turn, allows for best practices in negotiating renewals and, sometimes, reducing spend. It also gives them the right enterprise-level tools to protect their most important assets.
Cut through the red tape without compromising compliance.
Accelerating Contract Review and Execution
Contract management systems automate highly complex approval routings so that the contract process takes less time from start to finish. This can include a combination of parallel and conditional approvals resulting in improved collaboration across different departments.
To further improve the process and reduce time, you can leverage e-signature capabilities through email and SMS messaging to ensure approvers have everything that they need. Many companies take things to the next level and integrate their contract management system and enterprise software, like Salesforce, to generate proposals and agreements.
For some organisations, the delays start even before review and approval cycles: during contract creation. For these companies, contract management software can make available templates, standardised terms, and clause libraries selected by legal and recommended for specific use cases.
The team member who initiates the requested contract has the option to configure all the customised fields specific to their enterprise needs. That includes the type of contract, the team, the priority level and any other unique elements. Then, when the contract request enters company review and approval cycles, all necessary details are already there. The experience is much improved and execution of the agreement happens on time.
Reduce Business Risk and Improve Compliance
Contract management software reduces three main categories of risk. The first category of reduced risk is compliance management with a full audit trail. Rather than searching through email for a missing approval or attachment, the contract management software does the work for you. When everything is automated, there is a digital record of each action and signature. The system provides an audit report with just a few clicks.
The second category is contract compliance. The software has the functionality to run the analytics on the health of your business relationships. These reports can include the supplier’s regulatory compliance and how well they are adhering to their service level agreements.
The final area of reduced risk comes as a result of the contract templates and clause libraries mentioned previously. When companies can ensure that contracts comply with corporate standards, they maintain better control over how they do business.
Expanding Contract Visibility with a Single Source of Truth
Contract management can mean a desk drawer or a spreadsheet, but contract management software provides an enterprise level solution available to anyone with access. That means that more team members can initiate contract requests and watch the progress of their agreement. This allows teams using the contract management software to see suppliers, pricing, and contractual obligations. This increases their negotiating power.
Some companies opt to increase their suppliers’ and customers’ contract visibility as well. This gives their partners access to the contract—the backbone of the business relationship. And with built-in prompts for vendors to get forms completed and fulfill commitments, they accelerate supplier pre-qualification and onboarding.
Some organisations take it a step further, recognising their contracts as a single source of transactional truth. By extracting and organising data from their contracts, they inform their other commercial activities and better track their key performance indicators.
Negotiate Better Renewals in Less Time
Contract management software automatically recognises the renewal date listed within a contract and will trigger a reminder to the contract owner or legal team when the contract will terminate. Knowing the timing of this renewal is just the beginning.
The software will also keep track of terms and obligations and other related contracts with this same party. If the contract is with a supplier, this can aid in negotiating future contract rates, possibly reducing spend. It can also support discussions related to performance, and building future KPI measures into the next statements of work.
You can let the software report out on performance obligations, contract end-date, and renewals, Moreover, it can support accurate invoicing, spend and recommended actions to maximise revenue. On the sell-side of a company, it provides email alerts that contracts are set to renew in the near-term. This allows the team to guarantee that all obligations are met and that the client or customer is satisfied.
Value-added Document Management
An improved filing system helps you find the information that you are looking for when you need it. A contract management system helps you find the precise word or figure, no matter where it is across the entire enterprise. It does not matter if that document is a PDF or a JPG. The contract management system converts it into fully searchable text, accessible from a desktop or mobile device anytime and anywhere.
Best Practices in Contract Protection and Privacy
For some, a better protected contract is one that sits at the bottom of a drawer where only one person has the key. In this scenario, there is no way of knowing if 100 or 1000 people have managed to access that key and view the contract.
The only true way to protect a contract is by using stringent access controls and constant vigilance. Contract management software provides these benefits with privacy standards down to the specific field within a record and who has permission to view that field. System administrators have the right tools to go in and view who has accessed a file and even who has attempted to access a file.
As business operations grow in complexity, it is imperative to look at ways to streamline how work gets done. We also need to go beyond this basic referendum to make sure that the most foundational elements of our commercial activities do not slip through the cracks. Contract management systems were born out of this necessity and they have continued to adapt in step with the global landscape, increasing demand for efficiency and advancing technology.
pharmaceutical contract management software
As the Pharmaceutical industry directly affects the public’s health, governments impose stringent regulations on these companies. The healthcare policies are frequently reforming along with strict scrutiny by the regulatory bodies. This makes compliance more challenging and ultimately affects an organization’s contracts — the bedrock of all business relationships.
Contracts play an imperative role in all transactions — be it buying from suppliers, dealing with healthcare professionals or CROs for clinical studies, and engaging with wholesale and Pharmacy Benefit Managers on the sell-side.
Mismanaged contracts can be the biggest liabilities. To manage the growing complications, pharma companies would benefit from modern technologies that would streamline their contracting process and achieve operational efficiency. Thus, investing in advanced contract management systems is no more a nice-to-have but a critical requirement.
Contract Management Challenges in Pharmaceuticals Industry
The pharmaceutical industry deals with several types of contracts, including quality agreements, licensing agreements, product supply agreements, R&D agreements, and technology contracts. It is becoming increasingly difficult to track hundreds and thousands of contracts across several departments of a pharma company. Ultimately, it is found that pharma companies undergo numerous contract challenges across R&D, sourcing, sales, and promotions departments. These challenges are eventually impeding the time to market new drugs, facing non-compliance risks, and reduced profits.
With proposed and developing laws like the Drug Take Back Act, CREATES Act, BLOCKING Act, etc. compliance, in general, becomes a greater challenge. Moreover, lack of automated tools leads to operational inefficiencies like missing expiration dates, sending wrong documents for review or approval, and so on.
Digital transformations can potentially revolutionize the way the pharma industry, operates, from the way trials are managed to medicine manufacturing, marketing, and delivery. For many pharma companies, moving to enterprise contract management is underway, and are looking at changing the way contracts are managed at every stage.
CLM Solutions for Pharmaceuticals Industry
Having worked with Pharmaceutical companies, Ultria understands the changing needs of the industry and can assist them in the following ways:
Download our eBook for free to know more about the nuances of the Pharmaceutical industry and how advanced contract management solutions like Ultria can speed up and streamline the contracting process.