Management Information

Contract Management Software: the Solution to the Problem of Coordination

Charles Petrie, from Stanford, released a short article entitled "The Problem of Coordination," which highlights 4 categories in which businesses find it difficult to connect:

Semantic Unification

Though this article refers to a specific type of business, its principles are just as applicable to any business, especially when collaborating on a contract. Contract collaboration and management is difficult in any business, and the negotiations can go on for weeks, months, or even years. In seeking to manage contract deliberations, organization of personnel, documents, and software can make or break a clean operation.Using Petrie's model, this article explores how the right contract management software is the solution to the problem of coordination.


Interoperability is defined by Petrie in the question "Can you read my data?" Search "contract management software" in Google, and in .44 seconds you will be introduced to millions of products indexed for your specific search-18,400,000 to be exact. The only problem is that they are not all compatible.The most commonly used business software is MS office software, which coordinates email with other applications targeted toward common business needs: spreadsheets, word processing, presentations, etc. The problem cited by Petrie and applied to contract management is that businesses which work together need to have the right contract management software, which will aid collaboration within these commonly used business applications. The solution is surprisingly simple.

Agent Communication

Again, some questions: "What is the protocol? How will you find me?" In contract management, generally a draft is drawn after much negotiation and deliberation. The man or woman who is "lucky" enough to draft the contract must draw from up to thousands of documents of drafts and notes. This draft will quickly multiply into an almost unmanageable number of drafts and documents.The old way to handle this document influx was either to file them in a drawer, paperclip them together, or pile them on your desk. This is virtually impossible to handle because it takes up so much space and is so difficult to organize. What most people don't understand is that if you are saving these drafts electronically, you still have the same problems. It is almost impossible to manage all of the drafts, and you may overload your desktop.The other way protocol becomes a problem is that the editorial cycle is really not a cycle at all but a cyclone of drafts whirling back and forth in no particular order. The likelihood of always finding the most recent draft right away is about the same as reaching out into the cyclone for a specific thing and finding it in the first grab. In other words, you may send several drafts to several people before any of them send their collaborative efforts back. When they open and save your drafts to a drive, they are not only needlessly taking up too much space on the drive, but they have also just downloaded a pile of drafts that they now need to sift through in order to make their changes. Now, imagine what will happen to you when they send all of their drafts back-the cyclone image comes to mind again.How can the right contract management software solve this problem? The answer, again, is surprisingly simple. The right contract management software will have Digital Thread technology, which connects the who, what, when, where, and how of each draft, even creating a "family tree" of the drafts or a flow chart to help you to see exactly where you are in the protocol. No matter what order the drafts whirl by in, they will always be tracked, saving you time and storage space and protecting the integrity of the contract protocol.

Semantic Unification

"What do you mean by ______?" Semantics is a nightmare in contract management. The precision in wording is an important service to any business, and creating the right wording produces a solid contract. It also produces the most drafts. One word can be deliberated over for hours, days, or weeks. Drafts will go back and forth, and a quick and easy way to review changes as small as word choice in a document that could range from 10 to 1,000 pages long.Document Signature is a feature that is almost a necessity to keep up with semantic changes. It produces a window attached to any document you open that lets you know that changes were made and who made it. It's that easy.


"What do I do now?" This question probably cycles through every professional's mind, no matter how briefly, at least a few times a day. In contract management, the question might be altered to "How do I go about implementing all of these changes?"This simple answer is probably the most surprising. You need the contract management software that will record changes and merge them for you. You are involved in so many drafts and changes that you can barely keep track of them, but with the right contract management software, all of the changes are tagged and tracked, almost like a DNA strand. The changes from various drafts can then be merged within seconds, giving you the ability to review the merge when it happens and use it to produce your final draft.In collaborating any project, whether a contract, a budget report, a presentation, or even a memo, these four problems of coordination always loom over professionals' heads. Contract management software answers back to the rescue of every collaboration committee. Narrow the search using the answers provided in this article and you will find the right contract management software for your company and finally find the solution to the problem of coordination.

Joe Miller is specialist in online advertising. For more information on contract management software, please visit

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