Contract Management: From business controller to business enabler.

Determine OutLoud 7

The podcast series that’s all about minding your business in contract management and source to pay.

Our archaic and medieval methods of constructing and drafting contracts are really a massive degradation to the potential for better trust, better communication.”

– Tim Cummins, President & CEO of IACCM

This quote from Tim Cummins, President & CEO of IACCM (International Association for Contract & Commercial Management), is a powerful indictment of the whole practice of contract management today. But as he also points out, the realm of commercial contract management is evolving very quickly and in many ways. As probably the one person who’s most on the front lines of what’s happening in contracts today, his insights are based on a global span of information. According to Tim, the future of contracts will be far more versatile and adaptive, with technology and dynamic processes driving the way organizations structure.

Over the years, I’ve had many opportunities to speak with, and learn from, Tim about the world of contracts. Our latest conversation was just as enlightening, and in a number of ways validates much of what Determine is trying to help our customers achieve through contract management. Chief among those is the critical need to have people and processes in lockstep as regards contract and business strategy. He’s seen a dramatic increase in senior executive interest and awareness of the potential that contracting holds. More and more organizations are recognizing that misalignment is stunting their ability to be flexible, agile and creative. Hardly a recipe for competitive success.

Building commercial contracting competence.

There is also a growing tendency to see contracts beyond just legal black and white. In other words, contracts are living, breathing relationship tools that also have a role to play in social trust – a topic I touched on in an earlier blog post. Part of the mandate at IACCM is helping organizations see contracts not as a function, but a process – something they begin with a Capability Maturity Assessment. The goal is to help companies design their contracting to support and enable flexibility, agility and speed.

According to Tim, technology is a critical ingredient. In a chicken-egg scenario, technology is driving the need to be agile and flexible, but is also the solution. To that end, IACCM assists organizations in truly understanding the nature of technology, the role it can play in stopping value erosion. A key part of that is instilling the contract mentality and capability in a much wider constituency. Through self-service functionality and wizards contracts can achieve a much broader usage.

That evolving use, along with the recognition of the role contracts can and should play in company, country and commercial relationships, is what is changing contract management from business controller to business enabler.

Thanks for listening in.

Have an idea or topic for an episode, or are you interested in being in one? Drop me a line and let’s get the conversation started.

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