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Using Sharepoint For Contract Storage

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Using Sharepoint For Contract Storage

SharePoint is an excellent choice for startups to store their contracts for several reasons. SharePoint, being part of the Microsoft 365 suite means it seamlessly integrates with other essential business tools like Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook. Using Sharepoint for contract storage means that this integration streamlines the creation, management, and access to contracts, providing a cohesive and efficient workflow.

Benefits of Using Sharepoint For Contract Storage

Collaboration is vital for startups, and SharePoint excels in this regard. Multiple team members can work on and access contracts simultaneously, ensuring that everyone is on the same page. Features like co-authoring and real-time updates enhance productivity and transparency during the contract lifecycle.

Another key advantage is the robust security measures SharePoint offers. It provides granular access controls, data encryption, and compliance features, making it an ideal platform for safeguarding sensitive contract data. Startups often deal with limited IT resources, and SharePoint’s cloud-based solution alleviates the need for on-premises infrastructure, reducing operational overhead.

Document version control is another significant benefit. SharePoint allows you to maintain a clear history of contract versions, making it easy to track changes and ensuring you always work with the latest agreement. Its search and organization capabilities simplify contract retrieval, promoting efficiency and saving time for team members.

SharePoint’s seamless integration, collaboration features, security, version control, and search functionality make it a robust choice for startups to efficiently store their contracts, fostering a productive, organized, and secure contract management process.

Drawbacks of Using Sharepoint For Contract Storage

Sharepoint’s main drawback for contract storage is its lack of customization for contract management. The upload of files is effectively unstructured, requiring rigorous management to reduce mistakes.

When was the last time a salesperson mistakenly uploaded a file with V4.finalVersion in the file name, only to discover it wasn’t the final version? This scenario leaves you sifting through ten copies of the ‘final version’ to find a signed document. It happens a lot.

Although it’s a drawback of using Sharepoint for contract storage it’s also not the intended use case of Sharepoint, so you can’t be too mad at them. It just makes it hard to find things when you need them.

How to Improve Your Contract Storage

One of the main ways to improve the way you are using Sharepoint for contract storage is by using effective naming conventions for managing your files. Structured storage of SaaS sales contracts are crucial for ensuring easy access and organization. Here are some best practice tips:

1. Consistency:

  • Maintain a consistent naming structure to help team members predict how documents are named easily. Whether you use abbreviations, date formats, or specific identifiers, stick to the same format across all contracts.

2. Descriptive Elements:

  • Include critical contract information in the file name. This might include the customer’s name or ID, the contract type (e.g., “Pilot,” “1Y,” “2Y,” “3Y”), the effective date, and any specific contract numbers or references.

3. Version Control:

  • If your contracts go through multiple versions during negotiations, clearly indicate version numbers in the file name (e.g., “V1,” “V2,” “Final,” etc.). Ensure that everyone knows which version is the most current.

4. Dates:

  • Use standardized date formats (e.g., YYYY-MM-DD) to ensure clarity and consistency. Include essential dates, such as the contract’s effective date and the date of the last update.

5. Customer and Subsidiaries:

  • If your business deals with subsidiaries or multiple customers, make it clear which entity the contract belongs to. Consider creating a hierarchy in your folder structure to differentiate between parent companies and subsidiaries.

6. Use Underscores or Dashes:

  • Utilize underscores (_) or dashes (-) to separate elements within the file name, improving readability.

7. Be Brief:

  • Keep file names as concise as possible while including essential details. Lengthy file names can become unwieldy.

8. Standardize Abbreviations:

  • Use standardized abbreviations for common terms, such as “Corp” for “Corporation” or “Inc” for “Incorporated.”

9. Keyword Tags:

  • Incorporate keywords or tags in the file name for quick searching. These could include terms like “Renewal,” “Signed,” or “Negotiated.”

10. Document Type:

  • Differentiate between different document types within the contract management system. For example, use “Agreement” for finalized contracts, “Proposal” for draft proposals, and “Redlines” for documents in negotiation.

11. Use CamelCase or Title Case:

  • Employ CamelCase (capitalizing the first letter of each word) or Title Case (capitalizing the first letter of each major word) to improve readability. Avoid using all capital letters.

12. Avoid Special Characters:

  • Minimize the use of special characters, spaces, or symbols in file names, as they can lead to compatibility issues on some platforms.

13. Regularly Review and Update:

  • Periodically review and update your naming conventions based on feedback from your team and changes in your contract management needs.
  • By following these naming convention best practices, you can create a standardized and efficient system for naming your SaaS sales contracts. This will not only make it easier for everyone to access and manage contracts but also streamline the entire contract management process, saving time and reducing the risk of errors.
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How to Super Charge Your Teams Access to Documents

While Sharepoint is an excellent document storage solution, maximizing contract storage efficiency requires coupling it with a tool specifically designed to structure searchable and organized data.

Customer Centric Organization

Contract Sent hasn’t been designed by thinking about the legal team managing the negotiation process first. It’s been designed to make the access to contract information for your internal team easy. With that in mind it is structured to allow to manage customers who have multiple contracts, renewals, expansions and contractions with separate dates and terms. It has also been designed to allow your customer facing and renewals teams manage customers who have subsidiaries and complex billing structures that need to be communicated to the finance team.

Contract Version Control Hierarchy

One of the biggest issues to using a tool like Sharepoint or Google Drive for contract storage is that there is not way, other than naming conventions to identify which documents are the working or signed versions of the contract. Human error is common here and causes issues with searching for the right file. Contract Sent solves this by clearly marking the stage of a contract and only allowing one of the contract versions for that particular contract to be marked as the signed version.

Structured Searchable Contract Data

Contract Sent has been built with both AI data extraction and way points to allow for contract data to not only be extracted from contracts at the appropriate time but for this to be surfaced on the customer record for easy searching. This allows you to automatically extract the key SaaS metrics that contract data is a source of truth for.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Contract Sent

A contract management system built for startups to manage, negotiate and report on their SaaS contracts.

Contract Sent is not a law firm, this post and subsequent pages on this website do not constitute or contain legal advice. To understand whether or not the ideas and guidance on the Contract Sent website is applicable to your business, you should consult with a licensed attorney. The use and accessing of any resources contained within the Contract Sent site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the user and Contract Sent.

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