Contract storage: how to turn chaos into clarity

Contract process
May 24, 2024
6
min
Low price points make cheap contract storage solutions look attractive. But are they costing you more in the long-term?

When it comes to storing contracts, it's easy to default to filing cabinets and shared drives. They're cheap and simple, right?

But these calculations rarely consider the costs incurred from the time spent searching for and querying contracts stored in this way, or the risk that occurs when a business lacks visibility into their agreements.

We'll cover that, and more, in this guide.

Why should you care about contract storage?

It’s estimated that businesses lose $122 for every hour an in-house counsel spends managing contracts. This means that every minute legal teams spend searching high and low for contracts comes at a price, with 9 in 10 contract stakeholders struggling to find the right contract at the right time. 

Yet, nearly half of businesses confess to not having an agreed way to store contracts once they’ve been signed. Their contracts remain scattered across hard drives, email chains and physical filing cabinets. 

And let’s not forget the risks associated with lost or neglected contracts. The missed renewal dates. The erosion of a contract’s value. The legal and regulatory consequences of non-compliance. 

Whether you’re an enterprise business with a reputation at stake, or a scaling company that needs their ducks in order for their next funding round; contract storage matters

How are contracts traditionally stored?

As we mentioned already, effective contract storage tends to be the exception rather than the rule.

Historically, contracts have typically been stored in two ways: as physical documents in a filing cabinet, or as static files on a shared or local drive. 

Let’s dig into these contract storage methods in a bit more detail before proposing a better alternative. 

1. Physical contract storage 

Let’s think back to a time where contracts were drafted on paper and signed using wet ink. It was a messy approach to contract creation, and one which required plenty of office space (if you were lucky to close plenty of deals!)

Once signed, paper contracts were traditionally placed within a filing system and stored inside a filing cabinet. Perhaps they were separated by clients, or by contract type.

The problems with this approach
  • Hard to balance visibility with confidentiality: physical contract storage makes it difficult to protect sensitive information while also making contracts and their data accessible to those with permission to see and use it

  • Impossible to query contracts quickly: strong organization can make it easier to find contracts in the first instance, but physical files are far more difficult to scan for relevant information, and there’s no scope to automate this work
  • Complicates the process unnecessarily: physical contract storage adds yet another step to the contract process by requiring legal and ops teams to print and file contracts post-signature

2. Storing contracts in shared drives 

With digital contracting on the rise, many in-house legal teams store digital copies of a contract within shared drives instead. 

It’s certainly an improvement on the age-old process we just described, but it’s not without its flaws, either. 

The problems with this approach
  • Version control chaos: it’s common for there to be multiple versions of the same contract within shared drives, which can complicate matters and result in costly mistakes, especially if the wrong version gets used. 
  • Contract data remains buried: contracts stored in shared drives typically remain unsearchable, meaning that the process of capturing and acting upon contract data is a long and manual one
  • Lack of accountability: contracts have lots of touchpoints, and it’s not always clear who is responsible for uploading and organizing stored contracts, causing agreements to fall through the cracks 

How can businesses improve their contract storage system?

The best way to improve your contract storage is to swap dated tools and processes for a platform that’s designed to manage contracts and their data

These are either contract repositories or end-to-end contract management solutions, like Juro. 

Find and query your contracts in seconds, and at scale, with Juro

These solutions automate the majority of the routine manual admin associated with tracking contracts and their data, while ensuring that agreements are stored in a secure and compliant manner. 

For example, Juro users benefit from:

  • Granular access controls: get enhanced control over who can access, edit, approve and sign which contracts, meaning confidential contracts are stored securely
  • Fully customizable contract dashboards: review data from all contracts stored in a glance, with fully customizable dashboards to capture important contract data
  • Consolidated document records: detailed records and audit trails made available for each individual contract - perfect for tracking the progress of specific agreements
  • Advanced search functionality: search for any word, phrase, number or value within your contract repository to find the right contracts at the right time
  • Contract reporting: receive analytics based on the contracts you’ve stored and use these to identify bottlenecks in the process
  • AI assistant: generate accurate contract summaries in seconds using Juro’s AI assistant, making it simple to understand contract risks and outcomes

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And if you do decide to move away from shared drives, many contract tools, including Juro, have a two-way integration with solutions like Dropbox, Onedrive, Google Drive and Sharepoint

This makes it easy for you to sync your legacy contracts with Juro and ensure that all new contracts are also pushed into shared drives for extra visibility. 

Take contract storage from chaos to clarity with Juro

Juro empowers you to store contracts in a unified, secure repository, with enterprise-grade security that means you’ll never compromise on your contacts’ safety. 

If you want to find out more about how Juro can transform contract storage and management for your team, and win you time back to focus on higher-value work, fill in the form below.

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