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How mature is your process?

March 5, 2014

Yesterday I ran a feedback session to an organization that had completed the IAACM capability maturity assessment. It illustrated the scale of opportunity facing those in contract and commercial management.

The company strategy is strongly focused on alignment with markets and customers, as part of which ‘ease of doing business’ is seen by executives as key. This has resulted in their sponsorship of an integrated, consistent approach to contracting, including the creation of a worldwide contract management function. For the first time, the company will have a standard process, with simplified contract frameworks and templates and the implementation of supporting systems and software.

This is of course encouraging. But an assessment of the overall business strategy reveals so many other areas where improved contracting and commercial management can assist in achieving goals – and it is interesting (from the assessment) how little the executives understand that potential. For example, as they move towards becoming a ‘trusted adviser’ to customers; as they develop strategic account strategies; as they shift towards providing measurable customer benefit; as they consider enabling an on-demand customer experience – all of these and more demand and can be enabled through improved contracting process and practice.

So a critical step in achieving world class maturity is for those who lead contracts and commercial groups to help executives understand the major contribution that contract management can offer in realizing their goals.

  1. David Wyer permalink

    This is a fascinating area, I completely agree that executive endorsement is key for several reasons. It’s difficult to attract talent into a function within a business that has little perceived relevance to the business. Obviously achieving a level of funding to mature and develop the contract management / leadership practice is more difficult without executive endorsement. Also through overt endorsement of the relevance will come increased empowerment and this I think is vital if we are to trap and resolve issues before they become disputes. It would be good to know if IACCM is doing more in helping organisations make the link and also the initial recognition that making a link is an important exercise.

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