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Contract Management In India

November 27, 2009

As in many other countries, until recently the management of contracts in India was seen as a largely administrative task. Large businesses might have a dedicated contract administration department; in others, it was perhaps a duty performed by Sales or Project Management. And for contract drafting or negotiation support, the role would generally fall to lawyers (who interestingly often report to the head of Finance).

Like so many things in modern India, this picture is changing fast and it is reflected in the creation of the new ‘Indian Association of Project Contract Administration and Management”. This title reflects today’s reality – and perhaps indicates that the professionalization of contracting may follow a slightly different path in India. However, its connection with the International Association for Contract & Commercial Management (IACCM) will enable the group to draw from global research, best practice and professional networking.

Many Indian members are already active within IACCM and have been contributing to working groups, the development of training materials and the Association’s overall governance at both Advisory Council  and Board level. In addition, several hundred of the ‘new breed’ contract managers have embarked on IACCM Professional Accreditation and training.

So what has caused this rapid change? Mostly it is of course the tremendous success that India is having in penetrating global markets, both through its dynamic domestic companies and also due to its well-educated and highly motivated workforce. This emergence onto the world stage has been accompanied by the need to develop world-class standards – including the ability to negotiate and manage trading relationships and commitments through robust contracts. International operations demand more disciplined procedures for defining and managing business risk and trading relationships – and ‘contract management’ provides a critical component. This shift was discussed recently in an excellent paper by Mr. N. Balachandar of Technip India Limited.

Another reason why contracting competence has become so urgent for India is the fact that so much of their development is in the area of long-term services. The strength in outsourcing, contract manufacturing, application development and professional services must be mirrored in the ability to craft and then manage reliable commitments and obligations with their trading partners. Recently, this need for internal contract management expertise has also become the backbone of a new outsourced service offering, with several providers of both Legal Process and Contract Management Process outsourcing now competing for business. This is in addition to a number of ‘captive’ centers of such expertise.

So far-sighted Indian management has already moved on from the reactive role of contract administrators and is advancing the professional status and competence of a new breed of contract managers, who engage in all aspects of the contracting formulation and post-award management. Like business leaders elsewhere, they understand this competence is critical not only to ensure success in their trading relationships, but also in the delivery of sound bottom-line performance. 

Contract Management is an exciting place to build a career right now – and the creation of a local network that can spread knowledge within India is a very positive development. Its connection with the worldwide IACCM community ensures that the group has access to world-class training and accreditation and will be exposed to global ‘best practices’. Given the ingenuity and enthusiasm of the Indian people, I have no doubt that they will rapidly be among the leaders in the development of the best practices of the future.

  1. Girijanandan permalink

    Want to be expert in Contract Management

  2. Having just left India yesterday after being there for a week on a contract management job I fully concur with the author.

  3. Syed permalink

    Its good to here that…contract management is emerging in modern india…

  4. R R K Varma Chintamaneni permalink

    Truly Said

  5. Glad that the Indian industry is recognizing the importance of Contract Management. This is a function which should be handled by experts and not by Finance and Lawyers, since they can have only a mypoic views of any situation.

    Functional Specilaization is the key for success and it is important that we have to get ourselves professionally qualified. Comptency Based Learning is going to be the order of the day since it enhances the employability of the individuals.

    Good Luck & Best Rgds,
    Prof.P.J.Mathews CMILT

  6. Raja Ghosh permalink

    Good article. The world is realizing that as competition gets tougher professional contract managers will reduce costs by avoiding dispute related costs

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