We're excited to announce the launch of Zoho Contracts—Zoho's take on contract lifecycle management (CLM). With this launch, we've reached a new milestone in Zoho's journey of providing software solutions to run an entire business on the cloud. To our already impressive arsenal of functions, such as sales & marketing, finance, and HR, we're now adding a whole new category: legal.
Why modern businesses need a digital CLM
Contracts govern every penny that enters or leaves a business. If businesses are equipped with the right contract management software to manage them, they can transform contracts from static documents into strategic assets.
In a business landscape that keeps rapidly changing with the evolution of technology:
- Regulatory measures are cropping up more often,
- Global supply chains are becoming increasingly complex, and
- Sales models are growing more diverse.
This state of flux demands digital contracts that can be easily accessed and amended. A powerful contract management software lets you automate and streamline contract processes and unlock the real potential within them. With CLM, legal teams can save a significant amount of time that can then be invested in high-value tasks.
Our approach to contract lifecycle management
In addition to delivering efficiency in legal operations, a contract management software should also facilitate better business outcomes. To be able to achieve this, any contract management software should comprehensively address the following aspects of legal operations:
- Streamlining the entire contract lifecycle
- Improving governance
- Mitigating business risks
- Promoting cross-functional integrations
Streamlining the contract lifecycle
Authoring: Our extensive library of predefined contract templates, and the ability to create custom templates in Zoho Contracts, makes contract authoring a breeze. Contract type templates and the clause library in Zoho Contracts brings a structured approach to contract authoring. It saves a significant amount of time at the authoring stage and ensures language consistency across all your contracts. Our document editor boasts advanced document assembly capabilities, in addition to all the collaborative editing, contextual commenting, and fillable field features available in Zoho Writer.
Approvals: Contracts are legally binding, so their content needs to be clear, concise, and accurate. An approval process can improve compliance and reduce risks by ensuring that the stakeholders are aware of the contract's scope before they're executed. In Zoho Contracts, admins can set up approval workflows—both sequential and parallel—and associate them with contract types. Approvers can add contextual comments in the documents and approve or reject them.
Negotiations: Unlike the traditional approach, where you send contract documents back and forth as email attachments, Zoho Contracts allows you to provide controlled access to counterparty contacts, via password-protected links. Counterparty contacts can collaborate in real time, suggest changes to the document, make contextual comments, and set visibility for them. The Negotiation history tracking and Compare changes features come in particularly handy when there are multiple rounds of negotiation.
Execution: Zoho Contracts comes pre-integrated with Zoho Sign (esignature software), making this crucial stage of the contract lifecycle quick and effortless. Eliminate the email, print, sign, and fax cycles and reduce turnaround time drastically. Sign and secure legally binding signatures in minutes. You can also specify a signing order that pans across the signer groups: organization signers, counterparty signers, and other representatives such as witnesses.
Post-execution management: Zoho Contracts supports the post-execution stages, as well: amendments, renewals, extensions, and terminations. It comes with predefined letter templates that are customizable for each of these stages. Conventional templates only provide a skeletal structure of the document, where members can contextually edit the content to make it complete. Whereas in Zoho Contracts, when a user amends a contract by making changes in the contract, the amendment letter that gets generated automatically captures the current changes along with the entire contract history. This near elimination of human intervention in document generation makes the lifecycle management of post-execution contracts refreshingly straightforward.
Analytics: Admins can make well-informed decisions by arriving at actionable business insights gleaned from a plethora of diverse contract data. Zoho Contracts comes with 30+ standard reports across different aspects of contract management. The personalized dashboard gives a high-level overview of your business contracts at a glance.
Activity tracking: Zoho Contracts has activity tracking on three different levels:
- Contract level
- User level
- Stage level (approval, negotiation, signature)
All activities performed by users on these levels are tracked chronologically. The stage-level tracking presents the contract owner with information on whether the people involved in that stage have received the email notification, viewed the document, and performed the intended action along with the time stamps.
Admin settings: Admins can structure the contract lifecycle process by configuring the clause library, contract type templates, contract letter templates, and approval workflows for contract types. The activity, access, and audit logs provide better visibility over organization-wide activities.
Mitigating business risks
While adding appropriate clauses, such as indemnity and limitations of liability, can alleviate risks at an individual contract-level, only a holistic contract management process designed with risk mitigation in mind can make your business truly risk-ready.
Zoho Contracts, with its peer-review and approval workflow capabilities, provides better transparency over contract terms to all the stakeholders involved. Setting up a clause library with legally approved languages and contract type templates will act as guide rails for contract authors. The governance settings mentioned above give admins better control over the contract process, thereby improving compliance.
Contextual obligation section: Not fulfilling contract obligations is one of the critical risk factors for a business. Failing to fulfill obligations can result in adverse regulatory and financial consequences, and also leaves the organization with damaged business relationships. In Zoho Contracts, all the obligations related to a contract can be tracked and managed right from within the respective contract's obligations section. The contract owner can assign obligations to the respective business owners and set reminders for them. Admins can stay on top of these obligations' real-time progress with the help of obligation-based reports.
Promoting cross-functional integrations
Contracts are dynamic documents touching every part of your business. The growing significance of the role of contracts necessitates cross-functional visibility and collaboration over them. In our first version, we support Zoho CRM integration. Sales agents can initiate a contract from the related section of a deal record in CRM and track the contract's status from CRM. We have multiple third-party integrations and integrations with other Zoho apps in our roadmap. Zoho Contracts will also be a part of the Zoho One bundle.
Get started now
Get hands-on experience with how Zoho Contracts can positively transform your legal operations by signing up for our free trial. To know the details about pricing, check out our pricing and edition comparison pages.