In Defense of the Signed Document [PRO]

Many people refer to ERP systems (notably master data stored in them) as the “system of record,” which is interesting terminology. Think about supplier master data entered in the buyer’s ERP system that immediately can become “stale” the moment it’s entered. Let’s even take a better example of the penultimate document of record between the trading parties: the contract. A buying organization can use a contract lifecycle management solution that is fully integrated with an e-sourcing solution and even Microsoft Word documents that can be used as the user interface of sorts in contract authoring. Data is tracked at a detailed data element level and built up from low-level clause libraries. Yet when it comes time to seal the deal, the buyer and supplier print the contract and then start scurrying around for the final signatures, usually hand-written and faxed, only to then be stored and scanned so that the document image can be attached back to the CLM/ERP system. In today’s Spend Matters PRO research brief, Pierre Mitchell makes an argument for the need of systems to accommodate the data types and user types across the source-to-pay continuum.

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