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Which best describes your company's current usage of electronic signatures?

Ken MiklosCreated by Ken Miklos on Apr 20, 2011 in Contract Management

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Thank you to those of you who attended this Webinar.  Below are a few of the questions from the sessions with their corresponding answers.  The full list of questions and answers from the session is attached to this post.  Please feel free to use Ariba Exchange to respond to this post and interact with your peers.  We look forward to speaking with you again in a future session!

Question: Is the Template Creator a User based license or a Team member license?

Answer:   Team Member License

Question: Is Customer Support Admin a formal Ariba group role or a custom group?

Answer: It's only a group Ariba uses to administrate customer sites

Question: What is the difference between a flat vs assembled document?

Answer: An assembled document is loaded into Ariba as a "Main Agreement" or "Contract Adendum" which allows you to view the document in outline view (use the clause library, and make some other edits within Ariba in Outline view).  An sessembled document is a Microsoft Word file loaded that particular way (usually book marked and/or style mapped).  A flat file is like an attachment to an email.  It can be many other file types besides a work document (includinig a word document), but is loaded as "upload - document".  This types of documents can only be downloaded or opened from the system.

Question: Are there any webinars for contract document template (style-mapped / bookmarked filed) troubleshooting?

Answer: Yes, but they are advanced webinars that are only available to BPC customers.

It's the paper that blocks your view. It can be created in countless ways and filed in a myriad of places. But when you make the move to electronic contracts, every contract is housed in a centralized repository and retrieved on demand with powerful search tools. Integrated collaboration, negotiation, and execution tools keep you posted as the agreement takes shape and becomes finalized.  And with expiration dates and other milestone events easily flagged, you'll stay alert to renewals and avoid supply chain interruptions.  Creating electronic contracts on a single integrated platform makes standardization possible.


Automation helps all contract creators use pre-approved contract templates and legal clauses, and tight integration to Microsoft Word ensures that casual users can collaborate on agreements without learning new software. If anyone modifies format or language, the system issues alerts so all necessary stakeholders can be aware of non-standard agreements and take appropriate action. You can also automate negotiation and collaboration processes in many cases, further ensuring process standardization.  Flexible infrastructure and process workflows facilitate collaborative contract authoring and negotiation. Standardized contract templates and clauses minimize bottlenecks, accelerating contract creation and legal approval. Internal stakeholders easily interact via a web-based platform, seamlessly connected with trading partners through the Ariba Commerce Cloud.


Using Supplier Paper

  • Double-Click to open the supplier’s document provided on their email.
  • From the MS Word Tools menu, make sure “Protect Document” is available as a selection. If “Unprotect Document” is available, send the document back to the supplier and ask for an unprotected document.
  • If you are using the PDF generator, you should check your document at this time for any of the following

ο Documents with elements that extend beyond one page are not supported, such as Excel files with many columns or with large images. The rightmost columns are truncated.

ο Any tables in the Word document must be wholly contained on one page (i.e. tables may not be split between two different pages.) If the table is too large for one page, it MUST be split into two tables.

ο If you have a text box over top of a table, this will cause problems.

ο While the converter attempts to create output that is as close as possible to the source file or files, the PDF file might have different line or page boundaries or need to substitute fonts, so the output might not be 100% identical to the source files.


“Save As” to your desktop (or other directory) as an MS Word document of the correct version.


  • You can check the version of Word by clicking Document Properties and checking the Document Type.
  • For MS Word 2003 users, the supplier document must be MS Word 2003, not MS Word 2007. If the document is a MS Word 2007 document (usually extension type .docx):

ο You do not change the version of the document simply by changing the extension.

ο If you cannot view the document extensions on your computer, follow these steps:

ο Start menu>Settings>Control Panel>Folder options>View> un-check “Hide extensions for known file types”.

ο Also select Files types, scroll down to DOC>click Advanced>check “always show extension”, OK, Close.

ο “Save As”

ο Provide the File Name per your company’s Ariba naming convention (including Ariba’s requirement of no special characters in the name.)

ο Make sure the Type is the correct version of MS Word for your company - MS Word 2003 in many cases. The correct extension (.doc) will be applied to your document.

ο The document extension must be lower case, not capitalized, i.e. do not use .DOC


Upload the document to Ariba

• Upload the previously saved document to the Contract Documents folder.Make sure to upload the .doc document into the Contract Documents folder on the Documents tab (not just anywhere under the Documents tab)

• Click the folder name and from the menu select Upload Document.

• Browse for the document saved to your desktop (or other folder) and click Save.

• If you have not previously renamed the document according to your standards, from the Documents Tab, left click on the document name, click Edit Attributes. Change the name of the document to match the Contract Workspace. Save.


Typical first edits in Ariba

• Prepare all edits using the Project Owner Review Task to preserve redlines.

• Open the document and make any first edits needed to the terms of the agreement.

• Add the signatories, titles, notices and other items (CW Number, Effective Date) to the document.

• Save the document by clicking the disk icon (or Save on the File Menu) and exit Word.

• In Ariba, wait for Update pop-up window to appear. Click Update Now and save as version 1 with comment regarding version (i.e. Supplier’s Version 1 today’s date).


Ariba helps you drive compliance in three areas: operational, contractual, and regulatory.  Standardized processes encourage all contract authors to follow the rules and get approval before modifying templates or clauses. Automated tracking and reporting enforce negotiated prices, terms and conditions, discounts, service level agreements, and time frames. A full audit trail aids in satisfying regulatory requirements. You can also integrate contract processes with other Ariba solutions or third-party systems to capture information that would alert you to off-contract activity.


Check out Ariba Procurement Content to see how contract information can be integrated into your online catalogs.


***Extra Tip***  If you like tips like this, search on Tip of the Week in the search bar to get previously published tips!

There are 6 Task Types in Ariba


  1. To Do Task – Reminder of action for the task owner
  2. Document To Do Task – Reminder of action for task owner related to a document
  3. Review/Approval/Negotiation Tasks
  4. Tasks that include routing of a document for review or approval
  5. Allows configuration of reviewer-approver flow by conditions
  6. Allows reviewers/approvers to modify approval flow, submit comments, and attachments and, according to configuration, edit documents


  • Notification Task – a single or recurring email notice based on a fixed date or linked to a project date field
  • Signature Tasks – Optional feature to obtain electronic signatures on PDFs through DocuSign
  • Review, Approve, Negotiate and Signature must be associated with Documents or Folders
  • ToDo and Notify are optionally associated with Documents or Folders



Are used to set up workflow in the workspace

Can be Optional or Required and can have Conditions

Can be part of the template or added ad hoc

Can be “linked” through the predecessor process so creating actual workflow

Can have notifications and due dates

Can be organized into Phases



Best Practices for Workflow

Don’t overdo the number of tasks. Ideal: about 12

More than 12, the tasks are tedious and overwhelming

Less than 12, workflow isn’t captured

Don’t use Tasks for simply for Work Instructions

Work Instructions should be in the description

When to use a task:

Passage of time between the start and expected finish: due dates and overdue reminders

Reporting: cycle time, task durations, KPIs.

Task completion sets Process Status: Deal Progress Reporting

Wrapping up another very successful Future of Contracting series webinar, there were some additional questions not covered.  In case you missed the last webinar held on December 4th, please tune in to the replay!  Leveraging the International Association of Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM)'s maturity model, attendees got to hear the varying levels of contracting maturity and how to advance to the next stages.  Mentioned in our last post, Know Where Your Company's Level of Contracting Maturity Is, we mentioned a very simple and intuitive assessment tool that takes only a few minutes to complete and gives a preview of your company's contracting maturity level.  Our speakers included:

  • Tim Cummins, CEO, International Association of Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM)
  • Dan Ashton, Sr. Solutions Marketing Manager, Ariba, an SAP company


Q: If our company is currently at the silver level, what programs, services, operating systems, etc would you recommend for us to get to the gold level and how long should we expect to achieve a gold level that is sustainable enterprise-wide?

Tim: Typical weaknesses tend to be the difficulty the organization has in ensuring strategic alignment between business goals and its contracting process and competencies.  These alignments depend on the critical issues of leadership; close connection to the financial (economic) impacts of contracting; creation and use of data/analytics (with appropriate technology). These observations draw on or typical findings; of course you may have some variants. We would be happy to discuss in more detail.


Q: Is the 9.15% savings applicable to "buy-side" contracts?  And does your report have specific info for buy-side contracts?

Tim: The data is a corporate view, so buy and sell.  The percentages vary siginifcantly between indsutries.  For exmaple, on buy side there is far greater leakage on contracts where value depends on outputs or outcomes -- so essentially it is services, solutions and capital projects where the biggest losses occur.  This means in a sector like oil and gas, the costs exceed 15%; in a sector like retail it is more like 4%.


Q: Do you offer any services that allow us to benchmark our self-assessment?  For example, we rated ourselves a Stage 2 or 3 but we may not be so advanced from an external view.

Tim: Yes, we can assist with this.  Contact and I can offer more details.


Q: How does Ariba or other systems interact with large enterprise management systems, e.g., SAP?

Eric: Ariba integrates with virtually any ERP system, and best of all SAP, since we are now part of SAP!  Many of our customers port over legacy contracts from multiple disparate ERP instances and benefit by having them in one, centralized searchable repository.  The real beauty of integration isn't necessarily to the ERP instance but to other procurement modules.  When sourcing is connected to contract management and procurement, possibly flowing as far as  P2P or e-Invoicing solution, the maximum benefit is yielded from contract mgmt because of the auto-population of information and added compliance from the pre-set configurations.

Take the brief 20-question Contracting Maturity Assessment located within Ariba's Future of Contracting landing page!


Ariba has developed a straight-forward assessment tool in collaboration with the International Association of Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM) to help companies better understand their level of contracting maturity.  Benchmarked against proven best practices, you may begin to see a pattern emerge as you are taking the assessment.  Often, effective contract management processes are underestimated and overlooked in lieu of higher business priorities.  Using Aberdeen Group estimates, the impact of effective contract management automation brings up to a 30% reduction in legal administrative contracting costs, 55% additional contracted spend under compliance, 25% increase in timely contract renewals, 50% reduction in contracting cycle times, and a 1% increase in overall revenues if deployed properly for sell-side contracting.  And most if not all departments will have increased visibility into contracting processes.  Going a step further, once major operational and hard dollar negotiated compliance savings are realized, an effective automated contract management solution allows for buyers and sellers to collaborate on contracts together much easier.  Through enhanced collaboration, integration, and tight compliance controls, trading partners are able to improve the contract structuring to be more simplified, to include the necessary risk management controls, and to focus the contract on the relationship for better business over the long haul.


After you take the assessment, you’ll receive a Contract Maturity Score (on a scale of 0 to 105) and see how your processes compare to best-in-class.  Here are the categories:

  • Novice- While most of your contracting is still manual, significant improvement can be easily accomplished.  A simple first step is to include a central repository that can get you in the game and provide you with tremendous benefits in terms of risk reduction and contract visibility.
  • Qualifier- You recognize the importance of best-in-class contract management and have started the race.  Most organizations are still at this level.  Stepping up your game will help reduce cycle times, decrease costs, and increase revenue.
  • Bronze Medal Team- Your program is paying off but the competition isn't far behind.  Find out how to out-pace your industry and create a competitive advantage through better contract management.
  • Silver Medal Team- Great job! You have most of the right processes and tools in place.  Your challenge is to get the entire organization on board and integrate your systems.
  • Gold Medal Team- Wow, you take contract management seriously and so does your organization.  You should speak at our next webinar!


Also, time is of the essence!  Our next IACCM Future of Contracting webinar is Tuesday, December 4th at 1pm (EST), titled: The Path to Best-in-Class Contract Management: Your Future Awaits!  Register HERE

IACCM's Tim Cummins and our very own Dan Ashton from Ariba, will be hosting the webinar and discussing steps organizations can take to improve their contracting maturity.



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