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Towards Contracting Excellence: Process

January 15, 2013

There is plenty of evidence that improved contracting delivers better business results. There are also strong indicators that senior management is increasingly interested in this topic and would welcome proposals for improvement. But at the practitioner level, these issues often translate into a perception that the only way to perform better is through the addition of more staff and by executive management giving the contracts or commercial function a mandate for greater power.

Neither of these things will happen – to some extent because they are unnecessary, but even more because they are not merited unless the function shows itself to have a stronger grasp of its future role and the extent of the value it can deliver.

Contracting excellence will occur only when contracts and commercial teams are ready to ask and answer some fundamental questions. In the next few blogs, I plan to suggest some of the questions we should be asking. It will not be an exhaustive list – the aim is to provoke some thoughts and get organizations started. I hope that readers will add their ideas for some of the questions we should be posing – and answering – if we truly want to secure our influence and business contribution.

I am starting with process. In my opinion, ‘contracting excellence’ demands a holistic, life-cycle approach that enables the creation, delivery and management of contracts and relationship models appropriate to the overall needs of the business. So here are some questions that seem to me worth pondering:

  1. Is there one process, or many, depending on the type of contract or relationship?
  2. What is the distinction between process ownership versus process accountability and how does this impact what you are trying to achieve?
  3. What is the purpose of the process; for example, is it about compliance, or commercial judgment, or controlled innovation, or all of these?

Over the next few days I will pose similar questions for other contracting topics – for example, organization, technology, change management, risk and the purpose of contracts themselves. Please add your comments!

  1. anapaulapmartins permalink

    Very Interesting and important !

  2. It’s nearly impossible to find well-informed people
    on this subject, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about!


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