Contract Management is Finally Taking Center Stage

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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. Sadly, most procurement professionals were in the habit of thinking the job complete when inking the contract. Many have described a contract as the forgotten document, in the back of an office drawer, that is only pulled out when a dispute occurs.

Then I started to see developments in contract management systems and I believed contract management would be recognized as the next great opportunity for procurement (and commercial) teams to achieve efficiencies and deliver bottom line results through automation and elevation of contract management to a strategic level.

The movement didn’t come on as fast or as strong as I’d hoped. Meanwhile, I had even joined the International Association of Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM) as head of marketing, operations and events — truly believing I was onto something.

Fast-forward five years and we are now seeing the innovations in contract technology that will spur the strategic elevation of contract management, closely followed by genuine community interest. Solutions deploying machine learning, natural language processing and the internet of things (IoT) to compare, simplify and digitize contract workflows and creating user friendly visual dashboards to monitor contract terms and deliverables against execution and fulfillment are increasingly reality.

I expect to see much more innovation in creating workable contracts — not static documents full of legalese but dynamic agreements adjusting in real-time to the continuously changing needs of business relationships and execution actualities.

If your company has not yet embraced a contract management solution — or is running an end-of-life system but wants to learn how to quickly get up and running on a modern enterprise contract management platform — join Spend Matters’ Peter Smith, Microsoft Azure and Icertis for the webinar Contract Management Systems: Accelerating Time to Value, on Wednesday, September 13, 10 a.m. European Central Time (or register to receive the on-demand version if you’re not in the E.U. time zone).

Also, check out this year’s most popular downloadable Spend Matters report:

The Impact of Disruptive Technologies & Solutions on Strategic Procurement Technologies (Analytics, Sourcing, Supplier and Contract Management)

Yes, I think the time has come: contract management is taking center stage.

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