I have been working commercially on the buy-side and the sell-side of private and public sector organisations for over 30 years and it is evident that the vast majority of organisations are losing out on significant financial benefits and service quality improvements through a failure to regularly monitor their contracts for compliance, quality, value and risk.
However in my search for tools to support post-award contract management I could only find systems focused mainly on two areas, firstly contract document management or secondly, contract creation and approval workflow. In other words they only supported contract administration. There were none that fully supported contract managers with the critical tasks of actually managing contracts for optimum performance and minimum risk.
As a result I set about creating a system that not only assists with and improves the effectiveness of contract administration but provides a set of tools to ensure the performance of contracts is maximised.
ContractsWise* launched the cloud-based Effective Contract Management System (ECMS) after extensive product validation and customer trial. We believe it is the only contract management system available that truly addresses the real purpose of contract management i.e performance improvement, value improvement, unforeseen cost avoidance and risk mitigation through automated engagement with multiple, dispersed stakeholders.
We quickly recognised however that many organisations needed a simplified starting point which at a later date could be easily upgraded to the full functionality of contract performance management. There is definitely demand for a simple to use, quick and easy to set up and low cost contract administration system. In 2014 we launched ECAS which offers the contract administration elements found in ECMS as a standalone product.
ECAS enables critical information and documents to be accessed from a single, secure password protected location with reminders automatically e-mailed out with sufficient notice of important milestone dates.
It can also do a lot more and users can choose exactly which functions are important to them and not pay for functions they wouldn’t use.
In December 2013 our services achieved the international quality standard certification for data security, ISO27001 and we have retained this ever since. For the UK public sector in particular, ContractsWise is a Crown Commercial Service supplier and ECAS & ECMS are available via the G-Cloud framework.
My ambition for ContractsWise is to be seen as the “go to” provider of contract management solutions. Our belief is that best practice contract management is not as widespread as it should be and to help address this issue we have developed an “introduction to Contract Management” e-learning module which will be beneficial to any organisation wishing to improve its contract management capabilities.
We have established a collaboration with Virtual College who host the e-learning module. Virtual College supports over 2 million learners and is recognised as one of Europe’s e-learning providers.
If you need help and advise we would be happy to review your current contract management performance and processes.
In October 2016 Noel Green was runner up in the International Association of Commercial and Contract Management’s innovation awards for Personal Initiative awarded to “ an individual practitioner who has shown outstanding leadership or endeavour in delivering value and raising the profile of contract and commercial management”.
IACCM has over 40,000 members across 16,000 organisations in over 160 countries and includes half of the Fortune Global 500.
*We rebranded to ContractsWise (formerly Ashgreen Business Services) in 2015.
QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT BE ASKING YOURSELF
Why shouldn’t I continue using Excel / Access?
For data accuracy, speed of access, greater functionality and data resilience Software as a Service such as ECAS and ECMS can bring benefits and savings which are simply not achievable using spreadsheets.
Here are a number of examples:
- All too easily spreadsheets become out of date with people accessing and working on different versions. With SaaS everyone is working on the latest and ONLY version of the information.
- It doesn’t matter if you are using Windows or a Mac.
- The SaaS product will enable you to store contract documents.
- With SaaS multiple people can access the exact same data at the same time.
- With SaaS multiple people can be responsible for updating information and the data remains reliable.
- With SaaS the information could be accessible from any internet connected device with a browser including tablets and smartphones.
- The SaaS provider will be automatically backing up the data on your behalf.
- Spreadsheets become unwieldy and difficult to use as more data is added. Not so with SaaS.
- Your data is more secure in SaaS than in a spreadsheet (check that your provider is certified to ISO27001 for extra confidence)
- With SaaS you are much less susceptible to corporate loss of important data.
- With SaaS each contract could have different read and edit permissions. Much more flexible than a spreadsheet.
- A SaaS product can automatically send reminders for key dates.
Why shouldn't I just develop something in-house?
You might be tempted to create your own bespoke tool in-house. There are many reasons why using an off-the-shelf solution is preferable. Primarily, we’ve already invested the time and cost so you don’t need to.
Our products can be ready to use in minutes or hours rather than weeks or months.
There has been significantly more expert time invested in the development of our products than most organisations could hope to do with an in-house solution, the result being a robust and fully tested system designed by contract managers for use by experienced and inexperienced contract managers.
We do the product maintenance and development for you leaving your ICT team free to concentrate on other matters.
We take feedback from a wider pool of users to develop useful product upgrades which you might not have considered yourself.
We continue to invest the significant time and cost involved in achieving and maintaining ISO27001 – Data Security.
Shouldn’t I just use the contract management module (if there is one) in our enterprise software?
Often organisations are initially attracted to the option of using a single vendor to provide a full suite of enterprise software but the disadvantages are considerable. Contract management modules in larger applications are rarely “best-of-breed”. Very few larger applications are truly integrated and often there is very little actual data transfer between one application and another. You will be paying a large premium for an all-in-one system and it will be very difficult to reconcile any supposed efficiency savings against that premium.
At ContractsWise our focus on contract management and very low overheads enables us to provide best-in-class tools at an extremely competitive price backed up by outstanding service.
Is it really that easy to use?
Our products have been designed by practicing contract managers with many years of experience in procurement, client account management and supplier performance management. We have designed tools that we like to use ourselves. The clever programming bit we hand over to experts at that sort of thing who build to our specification.
Our customers continue to tell us that it is easy to use and meets their needs. No customer has ever left us because they’ve found a better product or a better value product elsewhere.
You can sign up for a free trial of ECAS via this website and we will happily arrange a demo of ECAS and or ECMS at your convenience.