Know the Document Version You are Working With
Version control is a crucial aspect of Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM). When working with an agreement, it is important to know that the version you are working with is the proper version, whether it is the most recent iteration, the final version or a previous one. Unknowingly working with the wrong version of a contract can have a significant impact on an organization, creating the potential for unintended contractual commitments or missed contractual obligations. Either circumstance can negatively affect a company's bottom line. Having the necessary tools and procedures in place to monitor and control each contract iteration is essential to managing contracts properly.
The Importance of Version Control
An article in the online publication Fast Company listed document version control as one of the key elements of a productive office. Anthony Foy, the article's author, stressed the importance of this in organizations with extensive document management responsibilities.
"Organizations that handle lengthy and complex documents that require frequent review cycles, for instance, are best suited for tools that offer some type of version control," Foy wrote. "With this type of functionality, users' time is not wasted trying to identify changes or having to worry about whether they're working off the most up-to-date version."
Version Histories and Document Comparisons
The best version control method for almost any contract management process is to maintain historical records of old versions, especially up to the point where a contract has been executed. Using a structured version naming convention, one which is non-ambiguous and is meaningful to your organization, also makes mangement easier. Some CLM tools even provide a graphical representation of how one document relates to another. In doing so, users won't be left wondering whether they are working with the correct document version.
Additionally, you want to have the ability to make easy side-by-side comparisons of different document versions that are in process. This allows users to easily see what has changed, version to version. The importance of being able to complete a quick and dirty document comparison is heightened at the point where are document is ready to be signed, mitigating the possibility that the document content that you reviewed and approved previously, is the same document that you are now signing.
openSource Contract Management in Practice
The openSource contract management solution facilitates version management by not allowing a document file to be changed once uploaded into the openSource CLM system. Instead, changes are made by downloading a document version, making changes to it, then uploading the modified, renamed version back into the system. This keeps prior versions intact, assuring a complete history of all document changes made in process. The openSource contract management solution keeps all files organized and allows users sufficient flexibility to manage versions in a way that best fits their needs.
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