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Time for those in Legal and Contracting to wake up to technology

June 5, 2012

Every 2 years, IBM interviews hundreds of CEOs to compile its Global CEO study.

In 2010, the big issue was complexity – the struggle that CEOs were having in making sense of increasingly global interconnections and interdependencies. They were seeking employees who showed leadership, especially in driving simplification, introducing innovation and forming and managing better customer relationships. The opportunities – and challenges – for those in the field of contracting were clear – and in many cases transformational.

In 2012, many of those challenges remain, but IBM has once again provided us with exciting additions to the agenda. This year , their study focuses strongly on technology – a field for regular emphasis by IACCM. Indeed, we saw the use of technology as key to achieving the leadership that was demanded in 2010 – and it remains an area of fundamental weakness for most contracts and legal groups. Simplification, innovation and relationships depend on improved analytics, a more holistic understanding of risk and improved integration between contracting and relationship management. The contracting community needs not only effective applications in its own right, but also integration with other business applications to support data gathering, to aid collaboration and to promote simplification. Many have still to make these investments and therefore remain severely constrained in the value they can offer the business.

As we look at the list of critical issues for 2012, we find once more that the commercial community has much to contribute, if it will rouse itself. Here is the list: I will write more on individual elements over coming weeks, highlighting examples where IACCM members are leading a response to these issues:

• The sudden convergence of digital, social, and mobile spheres is putting pressure on companies to adapt, while creating opportunities to innovate.

• Technology now tops the list of external factors impacting organizations and expected to drive organizational change.

• To attract top talent, CEOs are looking for individuals who can collaborate and are creating more open, collaborative cultures.

• Companies are investing to build analytical muscle.

• Extensive partnering is being used to drive innovation.

Based on these findings, IBM sees three imperatives that are essential for outperformance:

• Empowering employees through values.

• Engaging customers as individuals.

• Amplifying innovation through partnerships.

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