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open source contract management

Open Source Contract Management Software: Never miss deadlines

The most important facts in brief

What to look for in contract management software?

In addition to the administration of commercial and technical documents, Contract Management is one of the elementary functions of a Document Management System. In the Enterprise Version, our license-free DMS offers a range of practical functions, including a free contract management. When searching for a software in order to handle contracts of different types, you should also include these features:

  • Automatic monitoring of notice periods
  • Notifications to selected users when cancellation is possible
  • Creation of contract files
  • Full text search for quickly finding important information

Most of the times, a better service is available at the same price. But the agreements are usually designed to be automatically extended, if they are not cancelled in time. Naturally the conditions stay the same. Some companies even speculate on this and greatly profit from these "silent" contract extensions.

Many contracts are automatically renewed after a defined term, unless they are terminated. These include rental and lease agreements, subscriptions, fixed-term employment contracts, mobile phone contracts and many others. 

Due to the large number of existing contracts, it can be difficult and elaborate, especially in large enterprises, to keep track of the associated terms and notice periods. If contracts that are no longer needed are not terminated on time, they cause unnecessary running costs. This doesn't have to be the case and with the right solution, the business needs can be satisfied.

Interface of a Document Management System

Why is contract management important?

Whoever enters into a contract for a telephone nowadays is well advised to check the conditions towards the end of the contract and to check whether there are any better offers available. The drop in prices - especially in mobile telephone and DSL contracts - is so dramatic that there most likely is a cheaper offer available after the contract has run out.

Thus, better service is available at the same price. But the agreements are usually designed to be automatically extended, if they are not cancelled in time. Naturally the conditions stay the same. Some companies even speculate on this and greatly profit from these "silent" contract extensions.

As an individual, if one misses the opportunity to check the market conditions and - if necessary - to change a contract or update it, the disadvantages are usually reasonable.

When looking at a complex structure with its multitude of different supplier contracts, it is clear that the advantages of a efficient contract management can potentially save a couple of hundred thousand Euros per year.

Especially since these are running costs and not one-time fees, the investment in a Document Management System is very interesting for the administration department.

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What is the best free open source contract management software?

When choosing the best software for managing your contracts, you should create a list of the requirements for your company. Since every company is different, it is not useful to pin down one software as the best.

For instance, one company may need an detailed report for all running contracts. On the other hand, a notification may not be required at all. However, in every case, there should be a clear focus on which features are needed, and which aren't.

We recommend a consulting session with an expert in this field, so you can discuss the right strategy to implement a contract management. Our project managers have many years of experience in the field of document management and will help you on each step within the contract lifecycle management.

Furthermore, we invite you to test our free GPL version. This version includes a wide range of functions and can be tested before implementing contract management solutions with our open source Enterprise Edition. Likewise, there are no limitations in terms of usage time or archived documents.

► Download the latest GPL-Version for free !
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What is the contract management process within the software?

Based on various parameters - usually the contract date, term and notice period - bitfarm-Archiv calculates for each stored contract on a daily basis whether a termination option is imminent and starts a workflow if necessary.

Contracts are thus regularly submitted to the appropriate administrator or department head / management for a decision on whether the contract should be terminated or must continue.

If a contract is marked as "to be cancelled", an automatic notice is sent to the advisor who then takes the appropriate steps.bitfarm-Archiv can thereofore also act as contract authoring software.

By the way, contract management is supported by extensive reporting functions, which offer evaluations according to various criteria and can be displayed in Excel, for example, if desired.

Open Souce Contract Management Software

In order to facilitate the overview of liabilities arising from contracts, bitfarm-Archiv provides a tool for evaluating arbitrarily defined periods. The costs incurred in the respective intervals are determined on a daily basis depending on existing remaining terms.

The various document classes are defined as selection fields for the organization of contracts, supplements, cancellations and related correspondence. If desired, new contracts can be assigned a unique contract number by the system, which automatically contains additional information such as location, vehicle, and employee. This contract number is used to link to all other documents relating to this contract in order to implement efficient file management.

If you are interested on more informations around the topic of contract management, we are happy to invite you to our YouTube video series (please enable english subtitles).

Don't miss a deadline anymore

Our free open source contract tracker automatically submits agreements based on the recorded contract data to the responsible employee for review in plenty of time before the next possible termination date. If the employee is absent, deputy regulations apply. This ensures that every document can be checked in peace before it is automatically extended.

bitfarm-Archiv as a contract repository software

With the help of appropriate bookmarks, your staff can also get an overview of current contracts and the associated costs and deadlines. The bitfarm-Archiv also acts as a contract repository software and thus provides evaluations on questions such as: Which ones will expire next year? Which liabilities will arise in the next 5 years, taking into account already announced terminations and changing fees? You can conveniently call up the results as an Excel file.

open source contract management software

Create contract files

A contract rarely consists of a single static document. Rather, a contract file usually contains additional attachments, supplements, correspondence and termination letters. The administration of contracts is therefore a dynamic process in which it is particularly important that additional elements can be assigned quickly and securely to a contract already in the system. bitfarm-Archiv assigns a unique internal contract number for each new contract.

This contract number is used for all metadata, such as the name of the contract partner, address, date of conclusion, duration, subject matter of the contract and much more. If a supplement is added to the DMS, the user receives suggestions for existing contract numbers on the basis of a few details. The following assignment is a matter of seconds.

Starting from each contract document, the corresponding contract file can be called up completely with one click. Of course, the respective users only see the parts of the contract that they are authorized to access.

DSGVO compliant contract management

The Document Lifecycle Management (DLM) of the bitfarm-Archiv EDMS ensures compliance with data protection regulations, also in contract management. The challenge, especially with contracts, is to determine the deletion periods depending on the duration of the contract.

The DLM of the bitfarm-Archiv Enterprise version is able to calculate storage periods depending on date values - in this case the set notice date. Thus, with the DLM configuration, only the respective legal deletion periods need to be set by the administrator, for example 10 years after the end of the contract. The users themselves, on the other hand, do not need any specialist knowledge about data protection rules and their technical implementation in the DMS.

DMS with template management

All these functions are based on the template management of the bitfarm-Archiv DMS. This allows periodically recurring events to be assigned to documents. The DMS checks daily whether an event becomes active in the time window.

If documents cannot be submitted on one day, they are submitted at the next possible point in time until the time window for a possible reaction is closed. The template is then submitted in the next period - unless the template is aborted, for example by cancelling a contract.

There are also many useful areas of application for the template management of the DMS apart from contract management. You can also display which vehicles of your fleet will soon have to go to MOT or which documentation is due for revision in the next quarter. Your DMS also reminds you of due safety instructions and certificates that need to be renewed if you wish so.

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Further reading: Sources and interesting links

Are you interested in more information around the topic of open source contract management software?

ces.sdsu.edu

Researchgate

Wikipedia


„The bitfarm-Archiv DMS is an enrichment for us. The fact that we can call up contracts quickly and also send them out is innovative both for us as employees and for the company.“

Nadine Hnida, contract management, POLO Motorrad.