… has not changed in eight years. We’re still in the situation that, to be blunt, many of these solutions can still be built by a high school student with Microsoft Access and mad visual basic scripting skills.
Think about the following selling points:
Centralize all of your contracts
Guess what – so does a file server with a shared root drive.
Automatic Contract Generation from Standard Clause Template Libraries
Microsoft Word Template with some embedded scripts to select the right version of the clause based on product or service category and/or supplier geography.
Quick Query and Custom Ad-Hoc Queries
An access database with the right metadata fields, indexes, and a good script kiddie.
Change Tracking during Negotiation
Microsoft Word (as long as both parties are honest) and a Shareware file difference tool (if they are not).
Usually through integrated DocSign or another e-Sig tool anyway!
Budget/Completion Tracking on regular refresh
Regular status file export from your P2P tool and import into the access database.
Get the picture? The value of a traditional contract lifecycle management solution is quite limited, especially compared to the enterprise price tag it comes with.
The only value SI was able to identify eight years ago was if it real-time integrated with your e-Procurement / P2P solution and be used to automatically check and verify all invoices and time-sheets in real-time against the contracts before they were queued for approval to make sure they were for valid products or services at agreed upon rates.
Since that time, SI has identified only three other true sources of value.
1. Compliance Insurance
A new regulation is coming into effect, or the company wishes to enter a new region or country and needs to comply with a regulation it previously didn’t. Part of this insurance requires making sure that the supply base is (contracted to be) in compliance and/or the products or services it is buying are in compliance. This requires identifying all contracts that relate to the new move, all of those that need appropriate clauses, and all of those that might relate to products or services that need to be automatically checked.
But guess what? This can also be done on the home-grown solution built by a script kiddie with Microsoft Office. If the contracts are generated from templates, you can see which ones *have* the clauses. If the products / services are extracted into the meta-data you can quickly see which contracts have to be scrutinized. Etc.
In the end, there are only two true values that a modern contract lifecycle management solution, and it is still the case that a number of big name solutions don’t have either. What are they?
Come back tomorrow!