I am a huge advocate of content management systems. I've been helping corporations implement them since the early 1990's. I am an avid user of them myself for ensuring content is locatable and collaboration on content is facilitated.
When attempting to address the multi-faceted challenges of contract lifecycle management, however, some corporations spend tons of money and tons of time trying to get their content management systems to meet non-content challenges. The results are a lot of money and a lot of time spent, with lackluster results. Many folks responsible for this area from both corporate legal and procurement end up feeling frustrated - wondering why after so much money and effort, they are left with many of the same issues they had before.
Having the Right Capabilities for the Right Challenges Makes All the Difference
As with any job - use of the right tools makes all the difference. Have you ever had the experience of trying to cook a stir-fry in a saute pan on a regular burner? Things kind of steam and it takes a lot longer than it should. Then you go to a friend's house or a restaurant where they have a burner with really high BTU's and a great wok - The difference is unbelievable. Same ingredients - and you might be a great cook - but if you don't have the right tools for the job, you just can't get that same stir-fry flavor. Once you see how stir-fry can be done - it becomes clear that you need REALLY HIGH HEAT and a WOK, built for this kind of cooking.
The same holds true for Contract Lifecycle Management. To determine what capabilities you need, you first have to identify what challenges and pain points you really need to address. And here's a tip - the content portion is just that - a portion - and maybe the more straightforward portion at that.
Contract and Vendor Lifecycle Management is a Web of Business Activities (Processes)
When we think about management of the entire contract lifecycle, which by the way is naturally connected to the management of the entire vendor lifecycle, we begin to realize the biggest challenges lie in the organization of communications and work (of both people and back-end business systems) cross-functionally. Why is the contract needed, what vendor is it related to, what are the financial implications of the agreement - how will the financial authority policy be applied, what procurement processes need to be coordinated, etc.
So while everyone has been focused on those documents, the organization has been running around trying to manage them - literally.
To address the challenges, and truly eliminate the pain requires a new 'process-driven' approach. In the upcoming series of blogs, we will explore how the application of this approach will transform your contract and vendor lifecycle management, providing your organization the agility, efficiency and corporate governance you've been seeking for so long - perhaps just in all the wrong places.