Today’s article is the second of two articles from a report that we recently published, entitled, Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Innovative Solutions and Strategies for Better Contract Management, sponsored by DocuSign and available for free download by clicking here.
In 2016, the speed and complexity of business continues to increase, with business leaders struggling to keep pace with the ever-changing demands of the market. Innovation rules the day: newer, more advanced products, and shorter development timelines mean that enterprises, in general, and procurement teams, in particular, need to be agile. Although worldwide economic conditions are more favorable today than they were a half decade ago, resource-strapped Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) and other supply management leaders remain pressed to drive greater value, faster and more effectively, through the contracting and procurement processes – in effect, to constantly do better with static resources.
Chief Procurement Officers and their procurement teams have a hard enough job adapting to market conditions and staying at pace with the modern business environment, regardless of staff levels, budgets, and lofty expectations to continuously perform better with the same resources. To optimize their current staff and technology infrastructure without significant investment or training, CPOs and procurement teams can adopt automated and digital contract management solutions and tools that will enable their staff to be significantly more agile, collaborative, and innovative throughout contract lifecycles. Collectively, this can save them and the enterprise time, money, opportunity costs, errors, and compliance issues; it can drive greater savings and value; and it can position the enterprise to gain competitive advantage.
Our recent report, Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Innovative Solutions and Strategies for Better Contract Management, examines the agile and innovative strategies, processes, and tools that CPOs and other business leaders can use – particularly within the contract management process – to offset resource constraints and elevate enterprise performance to the next level. It also concludes with a list of recommendations that CPOs and other supply management leaders can leverage to enhance their contract management performance. These strategies include:
- Automating contract management processes for greater agility, efficiency, speed, and performance. Automating processes enlists technology to perform much more of the “heavy lifting,” and to do it faster and more accurately than manual processes. With the bulk of the dirty work taken care of, end users can engage in strategic, value-added activities, like planning and forecasting, being proactive vis-a-vis emerging events, and accessing decision makers faster.
- Ensuring that procurement innovation is linked to more traditional processes, such as contract management. Extending automation and digitization to contract management can breathe new life into an old process. Digital contract authoring, electronic signatures, straight-through processes, mobile-first/mobile-enabled applications, and central, searchable repositories make contract management an exponentially more agile and efficient process than manual, paper-based processes.
- Abandoning “command and control” procurement and empowering procurement. Bureaucratic matrices and linear chains of command can stifle proactive solutions to emerging or sudden events. Meanwhile, technological innovations and a conscientious workforce keep on solving problems on their own can keep the proverbial ship heading in the right direction. But they need to be empowered as trusted change agents before their full potential can be realized.
These are just some of the recommendations we provide in our report. Want to learn more about how procurement teams can collaborate with internal and external stakeholders? Readers can download the full report by clicking here (the report is free to download, but registration is required).