Knowledge Articles > Best Practice Grant Contract Management – 5 Key Lifecycle Capabilities

Best Practice Grant Contract Management – 5 Key Lifecycle Capabilities

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The Importance of Grant Contract Lifecycle Management Practices

Managing contractual relationships is core to successful program delivery. The demand for value for money, accountability and outcome-based reporting means organisations must have better visibility and control across the full contract lifecycle of the grant process. Enhanced transparency enables greater risk management and contract compliance. Without a system, program managers can quickly become overwhelmed – leading to errors and delays throughout the contracting process.

Government audit offices continue to report challenges, many of which stem from a lack of effective contract management. Today, there are still many organisations using paper and Excel based systems that rely on shared file systems. Very few have engaged systems necessary for full contract lifecycle management (CLM) as part of the grant process. As a result, there is much to be gained from implementing best practice CLM solutions that can eliminate operating silos, connect disparate data, and support effective online collaboration. This article covers 5 key capabilities required in a best practice grant contract lifecycle management solution.

Table of Contents

5 Key Capabilities of Best Practice Contract Management during the Grant Process

1. Shorter cycle times and administrative efficiencies

Best practice contract management involves implementing strategies and processes that ensure efficient and effective management of contracts throughout their lifecycle. One key aspect of this is reducing cycle times and administrative costs. By automating contract milestones, payments, processes, and reporting, organisations benefit from a more proactive approach to contract management, resulting in a reduction in administrative costs and increased efficiencies as part of their grant management.

2. Managing contract performance and risk from inception to closure

With systematic capability performance requirements can be flagged, monitored, measured, and reported on to avoid surprises, and ensure all parties are synchronised. By implementing best practice contract management features, organisations also benefit from improved reporting capabilities. Automated grant reporting can provide a real-time overview of contract status, identify areas of risk, and highlight potential cost savings. This proactive approach to grant contract management can enable organisations to identify opportunities to optimise contract terms and conditions and take appropriate action.
An Enquire interface showcasing the contract schedule and payment screen

3. Consistent variations management via a holistic approach

In addition to shorter cycle times and administrative efficiencies, consistent variations management is also critical to best practice grant contract management. Contract variations can occur due to changing conditions, evolving business needs, or unforeseen circumstances during the grant lifecycle. Managing these variations effectively can be a significant challenge for organisations, particularly without purpose-built grant contracting software.

To address this challenge, organisations can turn to Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) solutions like Enquire, focused on the grant management sector. These solutions deliver integrated variation management features that allow organisations to track and report on changes to contract terms and conditions. By interfacing with budget and finance systems in real-time, organisations can ensure that changes are appropriately reflected in financial forecasts and budgets, avoiding any surprises or discrepancies.

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A holistic approach to variations management can help organisations to ensure that they have visibility and control over any changes to their contracts during the grant lifecycle. This includes managing the entire variations process, from the identification of changes through to approval, implementation, and tracking. With a comprehensive variations management system in place, organisations can reduce the risk of contract disputes, delays, and unexpected costs.

Effective variations management also requires a level of consistency in how changes are managed across different grant contracts and projects. By adopting a standardised approach to variations management, organisations can ensure that they are following best practice processes, and that all relevant stakeholders are aware of the changes being made. This can help to reduce confusion and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals.

4. Process automation and enhanced digital transformation

Shorter cycle times can be achieved through the implementation of automated workflows that can streamline the process of contract creation, negotiation, and approval. This automation can also enable faster decision-making throughout the grant management process and reduce the risk of delays. Additionally, automating payment processes and reporting can help to ensure that payments are made on time, reducing the risk of penalties and late fees.

In Enquire, administrative procedures and business operational processes can be automated with simple workflows, notifications, and document version management. Eliminating ad hoc processes reduces risks, making contract management more predictable.

5. Leveraging contract data for insights and decision making

Advanced CLM systems are embracing machine learning and deep learning artificial intelligence techniques to further automate grant processes, manage data and deliver analytical capability that can predict risks and deliver insights that enhance decision making. Predicative AI based insights and analytics can be used to influence policy and strategy, and inform financial, risk and compliance management.

By leveraging grant contract data, organisations can also gain a better understanding of their suppliers and customers, enabling them to optimise relationships and achieve better outcomes. For example, contract data can be used to track supplier performance, identify opportunities for cost savings, and monitor compliance with regulatory requirements. The future of this technology is exciting and government organisations are being encouraged to utilise such solutions in their procurement processes to streamline grant and contract delivery to ensure better value for money.

Implementing Grant Contract Lifecycle Management Practices

Getting started in managing the grant contract lifecycle must be based on best practice, but that does not mean it has to be a huge and complex project itself.
Typically, best practice adoption is based on 3 phases, each building on the capability and success in adopting the previous. These phases are:

Phase 1: Contract Insights

• Better visibility of contract status, milestone and payment obligations with improved document and data management

Phase 2: Contract Management as part of the Grant Process

• Implementing lifecycle process management, online collaboration, and MS Office, ERP integration

Phase 3: Contract Management Analytics

• Optimisation through AI insights and data analytics to enhance financial, compliance and risk management and supply chain efficiencies.

The Future of Lifecycle Management

The global contract lifecycle management market size reached US$1.7B in 2021 and is expected to reach US$3.3B by 2027. Organisations will need to mature in how they implement contract management – all a range of industries and scenarios – to meet volume demands and increasingly dynamic external factors. By increasing their capability through digitisation and better systems, benefits will be realised, reinforcing gains, efficiencies, and improvements across their service delivery relationships.

Tactiv’s Experience

Tactiv’s experience in fund and contract lifecycle management over the past decade has informed how our solution delivers best practice grant contract management for publicly funded programs. Contact our team today to learn more about Enquire and it’s best practice contract management features.

Tactiv Support Team

About Enquire

Enquire reduces the administrative burden of doing good, while increasing social outcomes. Manage funded projects and social investments with automations and configurable business process workflows to generate impactful outcomes that scale.

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