You don’t have to be a corporate general counsel to know that managing contracts can be complicated and time consuming. While almost every contract starts with a request, and ends (hopefully) with renewal, there’s a lot that needs to go on — and sometimes doesn’t — in between. That’s where an integrated and automated contract management process comes in.
I recently shared my initial thoughts about the news that Carillion, the 2nd largest construction company in the UK, had gone into liquidation because it could not secure the funding required to stay in operation.
As a reminder, Carillion is a private sector firm that provided a wide array of public services across Britain. They served lunches in public schools and provided maintenance to prisons; They provided cleaning and foodservice in hospitals, and they maintained roads. Perhaps most importantly, they did all of this through a huge network of subcontractors and partners, many of whom are now facing financial difficulties in the wake of the Carillion collapse. By some estimates, up to 30,000 companies could be affected.
This week the UK’s 2nd largest construction company, employing an estimated 43,000 people around the world, went into liquidation. Three quarters of the company’s sales came from the UK, where many of the contracts were awarded by the UK government for such infrastructure projects as new roads and hospitals.
Smart and collaborative platforms, unified interfaces, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence: all these developments are forcing source-to-pay solution providers to regroup and adapt their technology offerings.
We do love our acronyms in procurement, but rather than being an exclusionary tactic designed to keep “them” out, I like to think that shortening our long phrases to “TLAs” is in line with the resource efficiency we apply to spend management.
Back in the day I did some work for a wealth management firm in New York. At that time, I was introduced to the area of Behavioral Finance, and more broadly, behavioral economics as espoused by Richard Thaler at the University of Chicago. While not new concepts, they gained new relevance – and urgency – during the financial meltdown 10 years ago. As my client used to say, investors are often their own worst enemies. In times of stress, even the most solidly constructed investment portfolio can be undermined through panic, overreaction and poor decision making. Part of the advisor’s role was, and is, saving people from themselves. There are parallels in technology decision making.