This posting is the first in a series in the coming weeks on contracting best practices.  These are observations of Craig Myers, Sr. Manager of Ariba Consulting.  Craig has worked with dozens of companies of all sizes in contract management and certainly has seen the wide disparity in capabilities making contract management a competitive differentiator for those best-in-class.

 

Consider where your organization rates and please chime in with your thoughts and observations.

 

Contracting Processes (Including Editing and Amendments)

Base Line

No formal written contracts processes, thus often use “third party paper” instead of your own contract template and/or MS Word file.
Advanced
Have written contracts processes, but often not followed by users or groups, and often still use “third party paper”.
Best In Class
Have electronic contracts policies (with checklist/tasks) that are followed by all groups and regions.  But still may have to use “third party paper”.

Approval Workflow
Base Line
Contract approvals are manually done by paper signatures.
Advanced
Contract approvals are static electronic, but are often not followed or approvers do not approve quickly.
Best In Class
Contract approvals are dynamic electronic, with clause level approvals, with automated escalations if approvals are delayed.

Contract Template (MS Word File) Used to Create/Amend Contracts
Base Line
Separate MS Word file used for different contract types, with manual MS Word file update of each different Word file.
Advanced
Correct MS Word files is electronically selected for use with different contract types, with manual Word file update of each different MS Word file.
Best In Class
Correct MS Word file is electronically selected for the correct contact type.  Contract template MS Word files are electronic mass updated for changes common clauses.