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Contract and commercial management raise contentious issues

January 26, 2015

puzzle-432569_1280Contract Management and Commercial Management are becoming increasing sources of disagreement and contention.

Given their growing importance, it isn’t surprising that more and more people are showing an interest – even claiming ownership – of these fields of business activity. Suddenly they are buzz terms in many organizations and we discover all sorts of people who were apparently experts in this field all along!

This naturally causes some contention with the people who were actually performing contract and commercial tasks. But the truth is that these are broad disciplines and they touch the business in many areas. So contention is inevitable – and should be welcomed. It offers the opportunity to re-define contract and commercial management and how they contribute to organizational performance.

What are the areas of contention or critical interest? That is the key question – and it is something I have been asking a number of leaders in this field. So this week, my blogs are going to focus on this topic – and here is the first list that was contributed:


  • The importance of price vis-à-vis Total Cost of Ownership and risk in a contracting decision
  • The organizational placement of the Contract / Commercial Management role
  • The value of adapting to global standard templates versus using one’s own templates
  • Whether CCM needs to be primarily proactive or reactive; tactical or strategic
  • Should best practices be pursued top-down or bottom-up?
  • Is Big Data a realistic and useful tool or just another fad?
  • How can organizations measure their ROI from the CCM investment?
  • Is Relational Contracting a viable approach to contract negotiation?
  • Are stakeholders a help or hindrance?
  • What is Commercial Excellence?

So please weigh in. Do you think these issues are important – and if so, how important? What would you add to the list? Thoughts and opinions on this topic will fuel debate and research for IACCM’s agenda in the year ahead.



  1. Tim,

    Well done on the list. The first two asterisks, TCO and organizational placement, are the subjects I most often engage in on contracts and commercial management. Followed by ROI and in terms of contract management.

    Another blog post might expand on the discussions of adoption of contract life cycle management in organizations – the extent to which enterprises have migrated from spreadsheets to enterprise CLM systems.


    • Neal, the technology issue is a big one, you are quite right. Adoption rates are disappointing – but is that due to resistance by users, or to inadequacies in the systems? I think a mix of both. But what is needed to change this, because there is no doubt that the failure to adopt technology is a major constraint on value? So I see that issue of defining need as the key challenge – and one that the community itself seems reluctant to engage on, partly because it forces discussion on ‘what really is our role and purpose – and how can / should that alter?’

  2. Owen Davies permalink

    Tim, I shall drop you a brief 2 pager with my views

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