If your organization doesn’t use contract management software, perhaps this potential situation may sound strikingly familiar.

In every office, there is one go-to person who knows just about everything to do with the operations and administration. For this example, let’s suppose the office is yours and this person is “Sue”.

contract management assistantSue has worked for your organization for 15 years, originally hired as the office manager. Over the years, she took on roles of increasing authority in different departments (such as finance and administration), with her most recent promotion to senior contracts manager two years ago. Sue is a master at keeping your contracts and other agreements in tip-top shape; she’s even caught a few errors, saving the organization money and a potentially negative situation.

Unfortunately, Sue’s husband received a mandatory job transfer to the opposite coast of the country, so she is relocating with her family. The initial sadness and disappointment in your office is quickly transforming into confusion as a scramble develops around who her temporary replacement is and how that person is going to manage her responsibilities.

The point of this example is your organization needs to be prepared for the departure of key employees–whether it is voluntary or involuntary, planned or unexpected. While daily operations might not be severely impacted in the near term, your long-term profitability could be in jeopardy and your business risk has likely just skyrocketed. All because the single source of information for the contracts governing your business relationships and obligations just exited.

Turning back to the example, let’s even assume Sue kept spreadsheets on her computer that probably contained contract information, due dates, key contacts, and financial terms. Maybe she has all this information in one file, maybe located across several files, and in different programs.

The problem in many companies without a contract management solution is that contract information can  dispersed across different departments and the way it is “managed” is highly idiosyncratic (like Sue’s files). Sue might prefer Excel spreadsheets; someone else uses notes on Word documents; and yet another set up a SharePoint site to store documents.

Considering the significant impact contracts have on your organization, replacing the homegrown systems and spreadsheets with an easy-to-use yet sophisticated contract management software system would greatly reduce your risk. Imagine having one central location from which you can easily access, search, and store all of your most important information and documents.

You no longer have to “hope for the best” when you lose key personnel. No matter who the person is responsible for contract management, your organization’s sensitive business intelligence is protected. If this situation were a fable, the lesson would be to implement a contract management software solution to keep your organization’s knowledge where it belongs: inside your systems and within your four walls, not just in your employees’ heads.