Updraft (which begins at $619.10 per 30 days for as much as 5 customers and 50 transactions) is designed in another way than the entire different methods reviewed on this contract administration software program roundup. Constructed by Origin Programs, Updraft constructs its contract administration expertise round a tailor-made, questionnaire-based course of for creating and modifying contracts in a pure language expertise. The expertise is meant to imitate the method that legal professionals undergo with purchasers when drafting contracts.
The platform contains the entire core performance of contract administration software program: contract storage, monitoring, reporting, alerts, and options resembling audit trails and job administration. However the important thing worth in Updraft is its question-and-answer (Q&A)-based course of. This course of saves time, reduces errors, and supplies a extra pure contract creation course of than many of the template and wizard-based experiences within the different instruments we examined. Whereas it does not provide the superior contract life cycle administration options of Editors’ Selection Agiloft or the intuitive dashboard consumer expertise (UX) of Concord, Updraft’s contract drafting process stands alone as the best customizable contract authoring we tested. Because of this, it earns an Editors’ Choice in its own right.
Updraft’s pricing is also different from the other software we reviewed. Origin Systems prices by named users per month. “Named users” means licensed users with management user interface (UI) log-ins, not third-party or external parties utilizing contract-drafting portals. The company prices the software by volume discount.
The tailored Q&A process also requires significant setup on the vendor side. Origin Systems typically meets with a company’s legal team and creates the contract drafting questionnaire according to their specifications. The company said the implementation cost is typically around $720 per “precedent,” which essentially means per contract type. So, there would be separate implementation fees for an employment agreement questionnaire, a service provider agreement questionnaire, and a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) questionnaire, for example. But there would not be any fees for specific or varied contracts within that template. The fees include not only the drafting interview to set up the questionnaire, but all associated meetings and trainings as well as setup and customization.
This can make the upfront costs for Updraft somewhat expensive. But the company said it believes its model saves businesses time and money in the long run; that it’s worth it to invest in its quick-guided setup process. Updraft also supports private cloud and custom host deployment for clients. It also supports single sign-on (SSO) and Active Directory (AD) integration.
The monthly pricing itself scales down based on the number of users. It is aimed at volume discounts for larger organizations. So, while a company with 1-5 users may be paying approximately $125 per user per month, an enterprise with 600-plus users may only be paying $2 per user per month. The pricing structure varies by users and by the number of monthly transactions. Origin Systems provided the matrix below to illustrate the pricing structure:
Contract Drafting and Execution
The contract drafting UI can be accessed as a widget or portal embedded on a company’s website by unregistered users. But for those accessing the Updraft administator dashboard, the easiest way to create a new contract is by using the Document tab. As mentioned, Origin Systems customizes each type of contract questionnaire so that the platform is ready to use with a customized interview as soon as you log in. You can either upload an existing document or start the interview process to create your own in a matter of minutes. The upload process is reminiscent of the Interview process, just without the actual interview and question-answering part. The user selects a type of contract, enters the basic information, and then uploads the document. Interview-created contracts and uploaded documents are functionally similar except they cannot be amended or cloned. The amending and cloning process both implicate the Interview information, which is not entered when the document is directly uploaded.
As opposed to the clause library approach to contract creation used by tools such as Agiloft and Coupa Contract Lifecycle Management, Updraft eliminates the risk of errors, including calculating the wrong contract termination date or using an incorrect term because the managed, guided process is pre-approved by your legal department. There is no risk of an incomplete or unenforceable contract that could result in potential compliance fines or penalties because users are not actually making legal choices along the way. The advantage of the tailored, decision tree interview process is that business users and non-lawyers, especially those unfamiliar with legal contracts, don’t have to choose from dozens of different agreements and scenarios and the different precedents associated with them.
The interview process itself was simple in generating a variety of different types of contracts. The process is customized as just mentioned. But for testing purposes, we tried out creating several different types of pre-configured contracts. NDAs, employment agreements, commercial leases, litigation, loan agreements, sales agreements, and more are all supported contract precedents.
As you answer the questionnaire and create your contract, there is a progress bar atop the screen that gives you the estimated time remaining. You can pause an interview at any time by giving a reason and citing your work in progress, and then hit the Play button at any time to resume the interview. Even if you inadvertently log out, Updraft will save your place and take you right back to the questionnaire when you log in. Each interview questionnaire has a unique ID that is searchable.
The system also automatically extracts key deadlines and sets up recurring notifications and events. You can also set your own reminders with a description, date, and number of warning days on a given contract alert. Notifications were on par with tools such as Concord and ContractSafe in giving solid, deadline-oriented alerts with a helpful selection of email triggers for automated approval workflows.
At the end of the questionnaire, Updraft gave me the option each time to view my completed contract as a Microsoft Word or PDF file. After anywhere from 10-20 minutes or so per contract depending on complexity, I could pull up a professionally written legal contract derived from my interview responses. Once the contract has been created, you can always go back into the interview to amend it or you can upload a new or signed version of the document. You can also simply update the information fields if you don’t want to go back into the questionnaire. The contract can also be duplicated (this is called being “cloned” in Updraft), notes and descriptions can be added, and supporting documents can be attached.
Updraft has a native electronic signature platform and doesn’t integrate with Adobe Sign, DocuSign, or other third-party providers. You can use injection for signature images through PDF files, but Updraft focuses on managing the approval workflow and generating evidence of legal consent. Admins can assign tasks to users and set triggers to the legal team, for instance, that a new embedded interview has been completed and is ready for review.
When each party gets an email that the contract is ready for signature, the native e-sign tool opens a signature page that captures the date and time of the signature to record for reporting data. Updraft has the best contract creation capabilities we tested, and the signing and execution process is smooth and securely managed. While it doesn’t offer the built-in collaboration and native contract negotiation functionality present in tools such as Agiloft and Onit Contract Administration and Contract Review & Approval, Updraft’s interview-based drafting process stands alone in guided contract creation and document generation. This process is the core reason why we designated the tool an Editors’ Choice.
Interface, Management, and Reporting
The Updraft admin UI is sparse and can be a bit clunky to navigate, but it has a number of useful management features. After logging in, the first thing you see is the Inbox, which is a task list with an at-a-glance queue of the most pressing tasks and contract deadlines. The Administration tab lets admins restrict access and views based on specific document types and departments, grouped into “security groups. Therefore, what you see in the inbox will depend on your role and the contracts you’re managing.
There’s a color-coded scheme in the inbox to represent urgency. Black means a contract is expired, green means it’s active, and a scale of orange and red indicate that deadlines are approaching. If you click on a contract, then it will pull up a window with the file’s full transaction history and related information. From the inbox, you have a number of management options: There are icons to update the contract or add notes, supporting documents, or events. There are also icons to change the document’s status or actions such as cloning the document or transferring ownership to another user.
Another useful area is the Cases tab, which lets legal team store documents relevant to a specific case together with pre-populated interviews to draft associated contracts or capture information from parties that would result in more documents and transactions associated with the case. The Documents tab, mentioned earlier, includes a rich search window with filters to sort by document type, ID number, specific descriptions and keywords, contract owner, or a specific document status. Updraft is all about progressing through and completing tasks, so pressing the Back button while you’re in the middle of an action will sometimes log you out of the UI. This makes navigating back and forth somewhat less intuitive than in the Gmail-like UI found in Concord or simpler experiences such as ContractSafe and Contract Hound. But, ultimately, this was a minor quibble.
The admin tools and reporting are solid as well, albeit not as advanced in granularity as the reports or data visualizations of Coupa Contract Lifecycle Management or Agiloft. You can run reports on parameters including active or expiring contracts, renewal deadlines, and user activity. You can either export data (in CSV, Microsoft Excel, or XML file format) or run it with some of the simple line and bar graph options Updraft gives you. Reports can be further configured by custom date ranges and additional document, description, data, or user filters.
As far as the admin panel, admins can configure specific user access, security and notification groups, and custom document types with specific privileges attached. So, a user could be a member of multiple security groups plus have privileges to view or edit specific contracts or document types.
Natural Contract Q&A
Updraft is a solid contract management platform with a good selection of admin features, search and categorization, reporting, and task management. But that’s not why it earns an Editors’ Choice. The questionnaire-based contract authoring process is unequaled by any other tool we tested. And, combined with seamless approval workflows and signing, it makes Updraft arguably the easiest platform for any business user to create and execute contracts with. It requires significant vendor setup and upfront costs, but, for a legal department that wants to let its entire organization securely draft contracts for various scenarios, Updraft’s interview experience makes it as simple and natural a process as possible.