What Should the Right Contract Management Solution Look Like…and Do?
In part one of this two-part blog series, we explored some of the challenges and strategies around a global contract management solution implementation. From the required melding of global-local considerations to the absolute need for contract visibility and data transparency, having the “right” contract lifecycle management technology (CLM) means having the advanced capabilities to meet a wide range of enterprise, performance and user objectives. Here’s how to make it so.
A global contract management solution (CLM) should ensure that corporate standards are upheld.
In a global company, customer relationships transcend borders, boundaries, and languages—and so do business practices and controls. Corporate standards can be more easily upheld in a number of areas in the contract process including in:
Automated contract management on a global level should ensure that required fields are included in all contracts, regardless of where they are authored, while also giving authors the flexibility to adapt terms and conditions to local needs. At the same time, the solution should ensure that locally authored contracts reflect terms and conditions that exist in master contracts.
Rolling up data from multiple local sites, in multiple currencies, into consolidated, single currency reports is an absolute requirement for any company working to minimize contract risks, ensure enterprise-wide compliance with internal controls and external regulations, and optimize management of global revenue and spend. Global organizations looking for automated contract management need a solution that can do this without introducing needless margin for error.
To ensure that timely and accurate information can flow bi-directionally across all data centers in the global enterprise, an efficient global CLM solution should support standardized database replication solutions such as those from Oracle or IBM. This strategy is key to enabling disparate local contract practices that meet a unified global vision.
In global environments, “tight/loose” controls are essential, meaning that local offices need to adhere strictly to corporate mandates, while also respecting regional prerogatives. Employment contracts for all regional executives, for example, may include performance bonuses, but the levels may vary with local employment law. A global CLM solution will be able to handle the complexity of these conditional variations from one system.
A global CLM should meet performance expectations
A contract management solution that is intended to handle global contract complexity ideally meets a number of performance expectations.
Facilitating tech communication
During a work session, some contract management products require constant communication links between the desktop and the server. The most efficient contract management systems, however, will eliminate the keystroke latency that can result with this approach and rely on check-in/check-out architecture that enables end-users to establish local copies of contracts they are working on.
An efficient global solution will ensure optimized performance by mapping unstructured information into structured data, and leveraging industry standard databases for repository functionality. As a result, no significant modifications are required in legacy IT infrastructures.
With an agile global solution, no source code modifications are required when changing contract structures. In fact, in just minutes, non-technical end-users can create the tailored fields they need for easily customizing contracts to the specific and complex requirements of global businesses.
The right solution should benefit the entire enterprise
A globally deployed contract management solution can deliver a wide range of benefits to an even wider range of end-users throughout the enterprise.
With the ability to roll-up data across multiple global data centers, for example, a global CLM solution offers financial managers snapshot views of all contracts in negotiation. This information delivers an unprecedented ability to assess overall risks, and to drill down to the specific contracts that may be modified to adjust this risk profile. Financial departments can also rely on a contract management solution for more accurate revenue forecasting than is possible with traditional tools, such as sales force automation systems.
Procurement departments benefit through global visibility to master procurement agreements. Global companies using contract lifecycle management can ensure that all local contracts conform to the terms and specifications in these agreements. As a result, the true value of master contracts can be unlocked and costs controlled.
Sales organizations in global environments can benefit from the ability to calculate the aggregate optimized value of any given contract. A clear understanding of both the extrinsic and intrinsic values and risks associated with a specific contract can provide essential clues for how to tweak sales efforts and refine financial projections.
At Determine, we understand that contract requirements at an enterprise level add significant complexity to the contract management process.
If you’d like to see the latest innovations in CLM and how they can help your organization get a firm global grasp on your contract needs, schedule a personalized demonstration of our latest iteration of modular Contract Management on the Determine Cloud Platform.