A Guide to IT Contract Management

by Maya G

Companies run successful businesses through various operations. Every operation oversees different business functions, such as finances, performances, and operating systems. However, balancing multiple processes puts pressure on enterprises, as they need to find cost-efficient and effective ways to enhance their performance. IT contract management assists companies in managing, creating, delivering, and monitoring different business functions.


Stages of Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM)

Key Terms and Conditions in IT Contract Management

Organizations should implement, follow, and review specific terms and conditions to draft a thorough IT contract. Before executing or signing contracts, business heads should certify and approve the assigned guidelines.

1. Commercial Conditions :

Before signing an IT contract, IT experts should check the purchase and market prices, compare the two, and for hidden deals or discounts on IT services.

2. Service Level Agreements:

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are integral components of any IT contract. A company's IT team should carefully negotiate SLAs with suppliers or vendors, such as cloud features, infrastructure, and downtime status.

3. Security Clause :

Every IT contract should include a security clause that states security, data, and personal requirements. Your product or service vendor should agree with the security terms and conditions, as it prevents data leaks and specifies consequences in case of compromised security.

4. Regulatory Compliance :

Adding a regulatory compliance clause in IT contracts avoids inadequate, incorrect, or unorganized reports during company audits.

What are the Stages of Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM)?

The contract lifecycle management follows six stages, from template formation to contract expiry. Each step is essential to a contract's validity, reliability, management, and reception.

1. Template Creation :

The first stage of CLM involves drafting a template. A simple template outline makes understanding and following the contract terms and conditions easier, enhances risk management, and improves the management process. Template creation allows businesses to add all the required and essential clauses to the contract, leave space for annexures, and customize data input.

2. Drafting the Contract :

Once the proposed template gets clearance, IT experts draft a contract based on the template guidelines. Creating contracts according to the assigned template outline increases scalability and contract flexibility and boosts related operations safely and efficiently.

3. Checking the Contract :

Before signing the contract, IT professionals should review it using suitable tools, systems, and resources. Reviewing contracts allows companies to spot vulnerabilities and incomplete sections and add and modify clauses for successful contract negotiations.

4. Clearing the Contract :

Once the contract matches the template and company specifications, CLM software combines workloads, merges them, and begins the approval stage. IT contracts are only approved when they meet regulatory compliance policies, user demands, and company requirements.

5. Contract Status :

Since most operations take place on digital platforms, ensuring an approved contract works properly on digital mediums is essential. Observing a contract's performance provides companies and users with accurate data and insights regarding their legal, financial, and security clauses, allowing them to predict work lifecycles, savings, risks, and crucial statistics.

6. Expiration Stage:

Once a contract has served its purpose, the contract lifecycle management ends. After a successful process, the CLM software sends regular alerts for milestone achievements, such as contract performance and renewal.

Four Components of IT Contract Planning and Management 

IT contract management is a complex operation consisting of four primary components: governance, planning, relationship analysis, and performance analysis.

Four Components of IT Contract Planning and Management

1. Contract Governance :

The first component of contract planning and management entails setting up an area to form a management team, assigning different roles and responsibilities, and providing management training. Contract management commencement, structure, allocating resources, screening skills and profiles, assigning responsibilities, and ensuring uninterrupted management processes fall under contract governance.

2. Contract Planning :

Contract planning includes monitoring reports and documents that ensure contractual requirements are met and observing the process to identify risks and performance gaps. This component deals with payment issues, disputes, contract modifications, and standard testing.

3. Relationship Analysis :

A relational analyst team ensures regular engagement between contract partners, including open and direct communication platforms, active involvement, continuous support, solving communication challenges, and maintaining communication systems.

4. Performance Analysis :

The performance management team monitors the status of contract services and conditions to make sure they meet the desired output. This stage measures service performance, works with different service suppliers, mobilizes applications, generates monthly payment and performance reports, and monitors measuring tools and resources.

What is Contract Management, and Why is it Important?

Contract management is a streamlined process that manages, creates, incorporates, and evaluates contracts to improve scalability and agility, boost business operations, and reduce and eliminate risk factors. Since contracts are legally binding and shape business relationships, prices, project status, and business requirements, it is crucial to draft and monitor contracts thoroughly before signing them. Contract management makes creating, reviewing, and signing contracts easier and increases an organization's success rate.

Key Terms and Conditions in IT Contract Management

An unorganized or under-researched contract makes businesses susceptible to financial gaps, loss of productivity, and poor project performance. Contract management teams understand every contract component to obtain accurate data, which they use to improve operational performances and meet business goals.

An efficient contract management team is vital for every organization, as it boosts its brand and improves its functions.

1. Simplifies Complex Actions :

Contract management makes complex organization decisions comprehensible, allowing business owners to make informed decisions. Since the contract management process is structured, companies can analyze their performances to improve future operations, optimize revenue streams, and avoid unjustified expenditures.

2. Increase in Productivity

Contract management tools use advanced and upgraded technologies that evaluate and manage contracts. An automated process saves companies from investing in manual work and resources, which increases productivity and reduces error margins.

3. Regulatory Compliance Policies

Companies must produce products, services, and applications that meet regulatory compliance policies. An efficient contract management system designs terms and conditions according to regulatory guidelines, minimizing operational risks and assisting organizations during audits.

Elements of Successful IT Contract Management 

To execute successful IT contract planning and management, the organization should incorporate three primary elements in its contract management strategy: structured policies, trained staff, and contract lifecycle analysis.

  • Structured Policies

A structured contractual policy creates contracts based on the latest contractual requirements, helps organizations frame guidelines, and generates final and revised contracts in a streamlined manner.

  • Trained Staff

Companies should have a trained and well-experienced staff who can use their expertise and knowledge to devise effective contract management strategies by acquiring suitable tools and resources.

  • Monitoring Contract Stages

Organizations should monitor every contract management stage, from template creation to contract expiry, to ensure a seamless and risk-free management process.

Final Thoughts 

Effective IT contract management allows enterprises to participate in business dealings and conduct operations confidently without worrying about operational risks. Contract management boosts an organization's performance and reduces vulnerabilities.