Contract Lifecycle Management VII: Do You Know What The Nice-to-Haves Are?

In Part I of this series, we argued that CLM, short for Contract Lifecycle Management, while arguably one of the most humdrum acronyms in the Supply Management space, is also one of the most important. This is because, as summarized in Part III of this series, it overlaps S2C, P2P, and, as a result, S2S/S2P as well as intersecting with risk management, performance management, change management, and supplier (relationship) management. In other words, CLM touches almost every aspect of Supply Management and is taking a central place in your Supply Management organization.

However, as noted in previous posts, up until now, CLM has not been well defined and the best definition, which could arguably be that given by Gartner (see Part I), has been, more or less useless, because you already know proper CLM is a good process supported by a great platform. What you need to know is what that platform is as vendors, analysts, peers, and even professional organizations don’t, or won’t, tell you. That’s why, in a landmark effort, Sourcing Innovation and Spend Matters, as the two leading independent authorities on Supply Management, led by the doctor, the maverick, and the prophet, have joined forces to define, publicly and openly, the core Supply Management platforms, starting with CLM.

In prior posts we elucidated the need for a core CM (Contract Management) platform because traditional Supply Management platforms aren’t enough, in Part V we outlined the must-have core capabilities of a CM platform, and in Part VI we discussed the should-have capabilities that should be mostly present in any market-leading contract management platform.

Today we are going to outline all of the nice-to-have capabilities of a contract management platform, discuss a couple of them, and then refer you to The Extended Contract Management Platform, part seven of the landmark ten-part series co-authored by the doctor, the maverick, and the prophet over on Spend Matters Pro [membership required], for an in-depth discussion of each nice-to-have capability.

To make sure there is no confusion, a nice-to-have capability is a capability that, while not present in most solutions, can greatly increase the power, usefulness, and even the value of a Contract Management solution to your organization.

The following capabilities are defined as nice-to-have:

  • Contract Negotiation with Complex Pricing Support
  • Budget Management
  • Asset & Resource Management Tracking
  • License Management
  • Discrepancy & Sanity Checks
  • Violation Detection
  • Full Analytics
  • Contract-Based Project Management
  • Multi-Tier Contract Management
  • Process Integration with Sourcing, SRM, & GRC Platforms

As with the set of core and should-have capabilities listed in our previous posts, most of these you probably expect, and for some of these you probably have a fairly good idea why (even if you are not sure exactly what functionality is required for a proper implementation), but one or two of these are probably unexpected, including budget management and integration to 3PM/SRM (Third-Party Management / Supplier Relationship Management) & GRC (Governance, Risk, and Compliance) platforms. We’ll discuss budget management in this post, but refer you to The Extended Contract Management Platform, part seven of the landmark ten-part series over on Spend Matters Pro [membership required] for complete details on the other capabilities.

Budget Management is important because while spending should be against, and is supposed to be measured against, budgets, budgets are typically entirely disconnected from the Sourcing and Procurement process as they are created in the Finance system and typically not captured in most Sourcing and Procurement systems. However, once a contract is created, all spending on that contract needs to be tracked against the budgets that are impacted. Performance from Finance’s view is that not only is all spending covered by the contract made on contract at contracted rates, but that the impacted budget categories are also respected. If the contract is for office supplies, computing equipment, consulting services, etc., then just because all of the orders and invoices are compliant against the contract, it does not mean that the budget is being adhered to. If a department’s budget for office supplies is $10,000 and the department orders $20,000, it doesn’t matter if the savings was 20% if the department spent 100% more than they were supposed to. And since Contract Management naturally overlaps Finance, it’s a perfect place for budget management capability.

However, every other nice-to-have capability listed above could be just as valuable to an organization, and to understand why, and what the platform has to support with respect to those nice-to-have capabilities, check out The Extended Contract Management Platform over on Spend Matters Pro [membership required], part seven of the doctor, the maverick, and the prophet‘s landmark ten-part series fully defining CLM.