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Where does an organisation start in automating contract processes?

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Where does an organisation start in automating contract processes?

Where does an organisation start in automating contract processes?

We think it’s time to pause and reflect on automating contract processes; where an organisation should be placing the contract management function, who the sponsors should be, and what is most important.

To understand where the function should be placed, depends largely on what the organisation is trying to achieve short and longer term, what problems it is trying to solve, and where it sees its digital future.

In order to maximize the benefit, we believe the data and resulting information has to flow across business silo’s, the future lies in improving the customer journey, customer-centricity, and delivery of improved transparency in supply chains.

Contract drafting and supporting operations through standardized contracts rests with the legal people. Is this the logical place to start? Sometimes, legal has been the custodian of the contracts and drafting their terms, but that’s where their role stops, its then up to finance and operations to take the delivery forward.

Contract life cycle management and the delivery of complex services and SLA’s belongs to operations, so this can also be a logical place to start, and take ownership, with support from legal in the drafting process.

For sales, standardizing the application and contract templates makes a lot of sense, so the function could sit well there in that use case.

Procurement too benefits from automating the on-boarding and contracting in the supply chain, so it could fit there for this purpose.

A picture is now starting to emerge, contract management covers all aspects of an organisation, its not limited to one silo or another, in many cases a contract management support function has been created in order to support all the business functions.

As organisations look towards a digital future, and start appointing digital officers, it could well be that area that receives the support as the value of the underlying data is key for the future strategy.

Whatever place the organisation decides to place the function, it should be with executive support, ensure that the processes are ingrained in the daily activities, and set some performance benchmarks from the function.

A word of caution, the future of contract lifecycle management is beyond a simple register with some alerts, and document management, or beyond legal tech to assist in drafting, its rightful place is within a digital strategy to provide the foundation and platform for the future business strategy.

Start where there will be the greatest impact, have the capability to go cross function, even across a portfolio of businesses or entities, and have a maturity path set out.

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