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More audience questions from our recent Future of Contracting Webinar.  If you missed it, tune into the replay.  The actual study The Future of Contracting (by IACCM) along with a Contracting Maturity Model Self-Assessment are also available. Don't miss the follow up webinar: The Path to Best-in-Class Contract Management – Your Future Awaits!  Register Now!

  • Gabriel Buigas, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Printing and Personal Systems & Legal Strategy, Hewlett-Packard Company
  • Margaret Smith, Director of Operations for Legal and Executive Director for Contract Management, Accenture
  • Tim Cummins, CEO, International Association of Contract and Commercial Management

Q: Are you seeing increasing polarization rather than a smooth spectrum between automation of routine contracts and developing relationships on complex contracts?

Tim: If I understand the question correctly, the answer is yes. The ‘complex’ world tends to be hijacked by specialist groups – vendor risk managers, SRM, specialists in outsourcing etc – who often have a vested interest in sustaining the complexity and who contribute little to wider organizational learning. As part of this, they either deny the role of technology, or develop stand-alone systems.

 

Q: To what extent we are seeing 'customers' move towards more innovative models as well as suppliers. I've actually noticed a 'hardening' of terms and negotiations in the UK (especially with UK Gov and large enterprise). What do we think is the 'trigger' to start customers thinking around relationships again? 

Margaret: I think this is being driven by Public Service bidding and also by the increasing number of third parties to facilitate negotiations. Innovation is stifled in both of these cases.

 

Q: You mentioned that there are some good writings on creating and expanding the value in the relationship of the parties.  Could you identify some of those studies?

Margaret: Kate Vitasek has recently written some excellent case studies in a book called "Vested". You can learn a bit more about the book in this short video Kate Vitasek on Vested Outsourcing at the Ariba Commerce Summit in NY 2011 (Video)

Q: Currently there is big gap in capturing lessons learned and their reuse. Every Tender presents different set of lessons, how do you propose to help capture these lessons and then easily retrieve for future use? 

 

Margaret: Create  much more impactful lessons learned and review process with all of your corporate functions, including all of legal, litigation, procurement and finance.

 

 

Tim: We have to start looking for similarities and patterns. It is true that almost every tender is different, but the difference is in the elements within it, not between the elements themselves. For example, one tender may want central billing and local payment, while another wants local billing and central payment and a third wants central billing and payment. They are three different requirements, but with common elements across all of them.

 

Q: What are your observations on onboarding contracts and their management?

Gabriel: I’d start with an understanding of purpose of the acquisition (assuming this is intent of question).  If you are acquiring a complimentary product/offering , the sooner you can integrate it into your standard sets of offerings (including ordering, pricing, etc….) the more successful you can scale.  You then need to determine staffing/management that you need going forward. Many companies looks for cost savings to come from functional overlaps in an acquisition.  When you delay integration you often will have customer satisfaction (i.e. differences in terms, inability to buy full portfolio) issues that will arise and you may not scale as fast as would otherwise be possible.

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