The Contract Management Category

What is Your Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) Persona? Understand Your Requirements to Find the Best Technology Provider [PRO]

No two contracts are alike, nor are organizations’ requirements for managing those contracts. It stands to reason then that there’s no single contract management application that will magically meet all procurement organizations better than another. This philosophy underpins our approach to the Spend Matters SolutionMap, a comparative analytical framework for practitioners to evaluate relevant solutions to meet their needs.

Our SolutionMap approach depicts vendor rankings based on specific buyer personas to reflect the unique value proposition, solution strategy and customer segments served by that provider. Participating vendors are scored both on their Solution Value, which is technology based in this case, as well as on Customer Value, based on in-depth tech reviews (including deep dive demonstrations) by the Spend Matters analyst team and aggregated from direct customer feedback. Each SolutionMap is updated quarterly rather than in 12-month (or longer) cycles, to accurately reflect the pace of market developments.

As part of the first release of the contract lifecycle management (CLM) SolutionMap, the Spend Matters analyst team has developed unique organizational personas that we’ve most often seen in our decades of experience working with procurement organizations. We have used these personas to customize the weightings of the requirements that we used in the weighting of solution scoring (which is graphically depicted as the y-axis SolutionMap) and also of customer satisfaction scoring (the x-axis) by end user organizations.

Having collected feedback from hundreds of CLM users, vendors and consultants in recent months as part of our SolutionMap research, we developed these personas to serve as useful starting points for procurement organizations to classify themselves and help them gain more insightful solution rankings of providers in the market. As in some other areas, baseline functionality is fairly undifferentiated. All the providers will have decent support for contract clauses, templates, amendments, version/change control, access control, audit trails, file attachments, flexible workflow engines, role-based dashboards, modern IaaS infrastructure and partnerships with popular digital signature vendors.

As such, this Spend Matters PRO analysis describes the CLM-focused requirements from these personas that differentiate the relevant solutions in the market. For each persona, we include full definitions, typical organizational priorities (based on each persona), functional/solution, and customer value emphasis and recommended selection processes. Comparative vendor rankings will be published for each persona next week on Spend Matters and updated quarterly.

Q4 SolutionMap℠: 32 Procurement Technology Solution Providers, Ranked

With Major League Baseball playoffs in full swing, we're reminded of the fitted ballcaps some of us used to wear when we were kids, just like the pros wore. Then at one point, companies introduced some fitted caps that were incongruously labeled “One Size Fits All.” That promise didn’t hold up. One size never really fits all (some of us have bigger noggins than others, for example), so ballcaps promoting themselves as such miss the mark. The same can be said for traditional analyst rankings of procurement technology solutions. Behold, Spend Matters Q4 SolutionMap℠ — where we leave the “one fits all” approach behind.

Sponsored Article

AI, Machine Learning and What They Really Mean for Procurement and Contracts

Your contracts. Even though they govern all of your supplier relationships and deal with huge sums of money, they’re error-prone and are in dire need of meaningful controls. Procurement solutions don’t encompass contract management, and technology-enabled as they may make you may feel (especially compared with what you had only a couple years ago), leave you with the manual, administrative tasks that keep you from more meaningful work. Machine learning (ML) can automate those tasks, and use your contract data to deliver insights that will create tremendous opportunities for increased profit, efficiency, savings and accelerated growth without you lifting a finger.

Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) — Low-Hanging Fruit

contract

I’ll never forget the reaction of my sales manager when I brought him news of my first significant piece of business. “Congratulations, Tom, but you need to know that the real sales process begins after you get the P.O.!” The review and preparation of contracts central to any business relationship involves a myriad of complexities that rely on legal expertise and oversight. All of those meetings, followed by the work to author “the agreement,” require detailed and sophisticated legal understanding of the applicable laws. Is this still the case? For one-off, special arrangements, there’s no question about it. But for the vast majority of supplier contracts, the effort has been reduced to an increasingly obvious and unnecessary waste of time.

Contract Management is Finally Taking Center Stage

Many procurement executives have told me their tales of change management and innovation to elevate the procurement function, from adopting spend analytics and category management to tackling indirect, services and long tail spend — all innovations enabled by technology previously not available to procurement professionals. That got me thinking, "What’s next?" To me, the most glaring oversight in a procurement organization has been the lack of strategic contract management.

When Advanced Contract Analytics and Spend Analytics Converge: Seal Software Vendor Snapshot Update [PRO]

Seal Software has historically focused on search, discovery and reporting on structured and unstructured contract data scattered throughout organizations (i.e., not just in a centralized repository). Recently, however, Seal expanded the scope of its capability with a bespoke “front-end” analytics offering, which on the surface more resembles spend analytics than contract management. But the new contract analytics solution is something fundamentally different, and its capabilities extend far beyond a standard spend analysis or contract reporting tool. This Spend Matter Vendor Snapshot Update provides an introduction to Seal Software’s new contract analytics capability and explains why it’s more than “another analytics dashboard” for procurement, finance, supply chain and legal stakeholders. It is an addendum to our previous review and analysis of Seal’s solution capability:

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The Procurement Process and Contract Management: The Key to Managing Risk

It’s no secret. Organizations are losing millions due to cost volatility, supply disruption and non-compliance fines. An ever-increasing pace of business and rising levels of uncertainty within our global economy have brought about an alarming amount of potential pitfalls for procurement leaders. This means risk management has been more of a top priority than ever, and procurement is on the front line of managing that risk. The good news is procurement has a secret weapon: contracts.

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The Next Procurement Frontier? Reconciling Speed and Compliance

As the pace of business continues to accelerate, procurement has been recognized, and rightly so, as a fundamental business enabler and strategic function. Now it’s time for the next step. The priority of achieving sustainable cost reduction and reducing risk has met a new role: enabling agility. Considering the current hyper-competitive and fluctuating state of global business, the question procurement should be looking to answer is, How do you move fast while also remaining compliant?

Vestas Meets SirionLabs: A Contract Management Case Study

wind power

What happens when a 120-year-old Danish wind energy company entrusts its contracts to a then three-year-old American solution provider? The companies in question are Vestas, which traces its lineage back to 1898, and SirionLabs, a contract management provider that goes all the way back to 2012. Last year, Jason Busch analyzed SirionLabs’ solution for Spend Matters PRO, and he concluded that the vendor would be a good fit for companies with “multi-year strategic supplier relationships encompassing complex services and solutions,” for whom “insufficient supplier governance is leading to lost savings and value creation opportunities.” This certainly sounds like Vestas’ situation before 2015, when the company implemented Sirion.

Contract Lifecycle Management Technology: Plugging in the Gaps

In today's contract lifecycle management (CLM) environment, the contract aspect gets all of the TLC while the lifecycle and management aspects often fall by the wayside. Enter Spend Matters analysts and SirionLabs with this complimentary research brief now available for download.

Where Contract Lifecycle Management Technology Approaches Come up Short and How to Fix Them provides organizational strategies and tactics to bridge the technology gap in your team's CLM function. Highlights include:

  • An easy-to-understand explanation of the CLM anatomy
  • What the traditional approach to CLM technology does well and where it falls short
  • What is needed to transform CLM from a system of record to an engagement enabler and value driver

AnyData Solutions: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

Analytics

AnyData Solutions is not just a standalone spend analytics toolset that includes “the basics.” Rather, it is a standalone platform for capturing, managing, sharing and collaborating on structured datasets of any type.

As an end-to-end analytics platform, AnyData is quite different from other approaches to spend analytics on the market today. On many levels, AnyData is closer to the data-centric heritage of BIQ, as it is fundamentally a self-service analytics solution, compared with the vast majority of spend analytics providers, which prefer to handle cleansing and classification activities “as a service,” even if they offer to sell the classification engine separately (which rarely happens).

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores AnyData’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations and other customers decide whether AnyData is the right fit for their need. The first installment provided a company and solution overview and a recommended fit list of criteria for firms considering AnyData. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Future of Emptoris Within IBM Unclear Due to Recent Departures, Other Uncertainties

The Spend Matters team has learned the situation of the Emptoris business unit within IBM appears to be in flux, according to several sources. Spend Matters received a briefing from IBM in Q4 2016, during which time the company shared a number of 2016 enhancements Emptoris had made to its product suite focused on usability. Yet recent events suggest the overall future of Emptoris within the IBM portfolio remains uncertain. Spend Matters has spoken to numerous customers, partners and others close to the organization in recent days and has learned about significant changes that appear to be taking shape.