I have a lot of questions for you before answering.
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Sr. Product Manager, Ariba Contracts
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I'm new to Ariba Exchange and just noticed your question. We just implemented the Contract Management function and I have a similar need to convey risk to the appropriate stakeholders. My first recommendation for you is to establish policy that allows your contract negotiators to counter with, or agree to, pre-approved fallback positions without having to obtain approval from the stakeholder each and every time. This is a practice adopted at other organizations and it does require a certain degree of trust. However, if there are pre-approved fallback positions for various contract terms, then the contracting process will be much more efficient. Also, it is a good practice to prepare a contract summary that outlines major risks, and deviations from standard terms, in the agreement so that the final approval authority will have the complete picture of the arrangement before approving and moving to signature. That summary, along with the final contract, should be routed to all the affected stakeholders. This process still provides the ability for those stakeholders to understand that you are agreeing to a fallback position and to weigh in with any objections. There shouldn't be objections at this point, but it can happen if the fallback position is not optimal given other risks in the agreement.
- Lee Haas