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What is a commercial powerhouse?

August 2, 2017

Commercial management is about understanding markets, then turning that understanding into an appreciation of the capabilities needed to meet market requirements and determining whether those capabilities can be developed, sustained and turned into profitable operations.

Given the complexity and pace of change in today’s markets, it is not surprising that the topic of commercial capability is gaining increased focus and priority. It is also leading to questions over how best to create the necessary organizational structure and skills – a ‘commercial powerhouse’.

At IACCM, we have studied this field, undertaken research, developed training for the last 20 years. We have also assembled the world’s only community of commercial management practitioners and an associated ‘body of knowledge’. Fundamentally, commercial competence is not a functional discipline; it is the ability to operate across functions, reconciling stakeholder interests and perspectives to develop a commercially feasible solution.

Many organizations are struggling to adjust to the demands of volatile markets. They are constrained by traditional functional thinking and power battles. They lack the right technologies. They have internal measurement systems that drive contention, rather than collaboration.

IACCM is unique in having created a multi-functional professional association, where members share experiences and use their diversity to create solutions. Our mission is to enable sustainable relationships – and we are succeeding. IACCM member companies are given the insights and the skills they need to handle the commercial challenges of an uncertain and volatile world. By bringing together lawyers, commercial and contract managers, procurement staff, we are transforming organizational thinking and enabling a collaborative approach to market management and trading relationships.

The old world was based on divisions of labor and functional contention systems. The new world requires ‘a commercial powerhouse’ – unified, cross-functional teams with market understanding, who undertake effective assessments of requirements and construct commercial capabilities. Those teams act as a gearbox, driving coherence across trading relationships and facilitating innovation and continuous improvement.

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