Contract management systems are great and can transform business efficacy. They can deliver faster and more robust deal making together with safer, searchable contract repositories. They can, and in my view should, also be fun.
As Craig Conte says there are 3 important and distinct components to a successful adoption of a contracts management solution; processes, technology and people.
The system will only be as good as the underlying processes it is designed to automate. It is essential therefore to take the opportunity to revise and refine your existing set-up. It is also important to conduct a thorough and robust selection process to identify the solution that best fits your business needs and ambitions.
The final stage is where the people really come in - design and implementation. This is an opportunity to configure the system so that it gets the job done but is also enjoyable to use and looks good. Just because it's a contract management system doesn't mean it has to look boring. That's not saying that you have to have an animated firework display every time a contract is signed (although I quite like that idea) but you can use colours, animation and bold icons to make the system seem less stuffy. Involve the end users, listen to their input and have some fun with it.
The truth is that people will not use new technologies unless it makes their lives easier and is user friendly. Keep this in mind when designing it and run a full and engaging implementation course. If you don't capture people's hearts and minds your considerable investment may be all but wasted.
Having seen the failure profile quite often it has to do with an over-belief in the technology and not enough understanding of the people or processes needed around it.