Trident Contract Management Blog

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Your Contract Management Central Source of Truth Left. Now What?

Posted on by Todd Steiner

Iconoclass_NickCholes_01resizedThere’s one in every organization. The go-to person people ask a question of first when they don’t know the answer. This person knows where you buy paper clips, who to call to get the copier jam fixed, when preventative maintenance is due on your air conditioning units, and what it is going to cost to keep the place running for another month.

These valuable individuals have achieved this status through years of service. Mostly likely, they have also been gifted the abandoned, but highly important, task of contract management.  Everything they know about vendors, contracts and assets is on spreadsheets, somewhere in file cabinets, and in their heads.  And someday they are going to leave.

As a savvy business leader you knew this day was coming because this responsible and honest person gave you ample notice. That’s why you built in cross-training policies, have a firm understanding of every contract obligation throughout every department in the organization, and have finally completed the “brain bump” helmet you have been working on for the past year.  Right?!

Well, maybe it is time for a little bit of panic.  After all, it may take you 12-18 months (or longer to ferret out multi-year contracts) of vendor/supplier/contractor driven renewal quotes and invoices to know that you have everything covered.  You can assign this task to the next legend-in-the-making, have them build new spreadsheets, call everyone, gather everything, and repeat the process.  I am sure there a plenty of people lined up at the door with nothing else to do.  Until then, your management team will completely understand the huge swings in monthly spend because you didn’t know “that” contract was coming due this month.  No problem.

It is inevitable that certain people will take on Solomon-like positions of knowledge within your business. Some people are just plain good at it.  But by taking a simple first step, centralizing your contracts using the reputable and proven cloud-based solution, you can gain protection from the risks the departure of few key individuals can levy against you and the business.

So, what’s the first step in getting started? Centralize Your Contracts

Build the Business Case

Change is difficult for businesses of any size.  You will need to build a business case for upper management in order to get their approval and support.  The ROI should include time saving, cost savings, and reduced risk benefits.

Build/Buy a Central Source of Truth

The ubiquitous build vs. buy question.  You will need to review what internal resources may be available (i.e. shared file server) and research what options are available in the marketplace.  Either way, make sure all costs are considered.

Keep it simple

Don’t build/buy a Cadillac when a bicycle will do.  Start with a basic solution that can mimic your existing spreadsheet fields.  It will increase user adoption (nothing new to learn) and you can always add functionality down the road.

Start today

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of contracts stored in desk drawers and file cabinets.  No worries.  Draw a line in the sand and start moving forward.  Over time you can add existing contracts as time permits.

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