Managing contractual relationship 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.
Better transparency delivers the ability to manage risk and contract compliance. Without a system, program managers can quickly be overwhelmed. Both the volume of contracts, and their complexity, has grown. Service delivery has been transformed by relationships with not for profit and commercial organisations as delivery partners.
Government audit offices continue to report challenges, and in some cases spectacular failures, many of which stem from lack of effective contract management.
Today, organisations continue to use paper and MS Excel based systems that rely on shared file systems. Very few have engaged systems necessary for full contract lifecycle management (CLM).
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.
Fragmented systems of the past and a singular focus on record keeping simply for legal compliance are out dated and inadequate in addressing today’s challenges.
Best practice contract lifecycle management solutions must address 5 key capabilities:
1. Reducing costs through shorter cycle times and administrative efficiencies
– Through automating contract milestone, payments, processes and reporting organisations can benefit from proactive contract management and reduced administration costs.
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 synchronized.
3. Consistent variations management via a holistic approach
– Changing conditions, terms and other aspects challenge organisations without proper control and viability, CLM solutions deliver integrated variation management to track and report, as well as interfacing to budget and finance systems in real time.
4. Process automation and enhanced digital transformation
– Administrative workflows 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, 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.
Getting started in managing the 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 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.
Tactiv’s experience in grant lifecycle management over the past decade has informed how our solution delivers best practice contract management for publicly funded programs.
Our work with the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines reduced administration on environment management contracts streamlining operations and workloads. This benefit was achieved by the department through seamlessly transitioning its programs, their stewardship and governance to community stakeholders, all the while the department underwent significant change, reduced staffing and refocused its policy goals.
In New Zealand, the government has demonstrated international leadership in assessing investment impact in the delivery of aid across the Pacific and many developing countries. Enquire provides more efficient, and effective, process management, system rationalisation and information management across their international aid program contracts.
By 2020 it is predicted that 80% of organisations will have adopted contract lifecycle management, at some level of capability. Organisations will mature in how they implement contract management as they move through each stage on their way to best practice. As they mature in capability, benefits will be realised, reinforcing gains, efficiencies and improvements across their service delivery relationships.