Thursday, April 29, 2010

Creating your own contract management system with Zoho Creator

For those of you who manage contracts for databases and other information products, you might be interested in a contract management system. These systems can help you keep contracts and other communications in one place as well as provide reminders as when you need to act on a contract to prevent automatic renewal of an unneeded resource. While contract management systems can cost thousands of dollars, keeping track of contracts in an Excel sheet might not cut it. So what can you do to create a cost-effective alternative?

As an experiment, I decided to see if I could create a contract management system with a tool called Zoho Creator. For those of you who don't know what this is, Creator is an online database software system that allows you to develop forms with a drag and drop interface. You can mark your database private and only allow your team members to access the database.

I decided to make my contract management system public and coded it to provide me with an email alert once a contract was coming up for renewal. The form also allows for attachments of the contract, additional documents and usage statistics so that the contract manager can have all the information they need in one place before they start negotiations. If you click on the Contract Information Entry View tab, you can see how the entered information looks like. You can get a quick review of the information entered by clicking on the purple View option to the left of each row.

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