I forgot something. Something important.
Two months ago I published a note called “The Four Axes of Contract Management Functionality.” The genesis of the note was my frustration with the zillions of vendors that say they have contract management solutions, but each do something that are at least somewhat different (and in some cases are completely different!) Trying to classify these vendors against hundreds of features was not working particularly well, especially as I tried to make progress writing up vendors for my long, long overdue honorable mentions report. That’s another story and I won’t go there today. The model has been really helpful and I’m grateful I finally eeked out a framework that works in classifying contract management solutions.
The point of this blog entry is that in the past weeks since I wrote that I wrote that note, I realize that there should have been a fifth dimension. I need to add compliance as a key grouping of functionality for an enterprise contract management solution, alongside authoring, boilerplate management, execution and administration.
What is contract compliance? Here again, like much of the story around contract management, everyone uses the term differently. I see various aspects to contract management, as follows:
· Governance. I.e. if you put ten templates in a system and set up the workflow so every proposed is drafted using the latest terms and conditions, and the workflow always routes each proposed contract by “Bob,” that’s a form of compliance.
· Credential compliance. Some systems are configured to monitor the presence of updated credential documents, and they send out warning notes/ reminder messages when documents are nearing expiration. Think insurance certificates, signed codes of conducts, NDA. This is compliance to credential policy.
· Pricing compliance. Product prices can be added to a proposed contract through integration to a configuration engine or price list; to ensure compliance to current pricing. Prices can be downloaded from contracts of any type into transactional systems - directly into order documents – or into modules that set up a base price for comparison and thus compliance. In its most elaborate form, pricing compliance can also be achieved by using contract data in a spend analysis, to provide a baseline of what prices should be.
So, I’ll have to fix up that four axes note and add this in. Eventually. After all, its yet another item for the to-do list!
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