Input Vs. Outcome-Based Contracting: The Basics

For quite some time, there was a traditional approach to contracting that primarily focused on delineating the specific way in which a relationship was supposed to work and the tasks and activities the other party was supposed to complete. Now, rather than outline every step of the process that will eventually lead to the desired result, companies are inclined to state what it is they hope to accomplish from any specific contract. This is known as outcome-based contracting. The benefits of this outcome-oriented, rather than input-based, approach include saving time, allowing leaders to exert their efforts elsewhere, cutting costs, and reducing the need for oversight, as explained below.

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Effective Communication Strategies for Contract Managers

As businesses engaged in high volume contracting know, there is so much more to managing a contract portfolio than merely monitoring a calendar. In the past, contract management often entailed an administrative role, but with an increasingly complex global economy and competitive business landscape, that is no longer the case. Now, savvy contract managers focus on improving performance and utilizing contract data to anticipate potential issues, improve a company’s margins, and even secure business. After all, with the evolution of technology, many of the tactical facets of contract management can be handled in an automated fashion, so contract managers are able to take an increasingly strategic approach to the management process.

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Common Problems in Post-Award Contract Management

The process of contracting is complicated. From establishing relationships to negotiating the particulars to getting the proper approvals, the creation of a single contract can take months if not years. And, because the award phase of the contracting process can be so long and onerous, it is easy to forget that getting the contract signed is the first piece in a massive puzzle. Risk increases in the post-award, management phase of the contract and generally, a contract that fails to deliver in the first six months of the contract fails to deliver overt the life of the contract. Because of the, it is critical that the post-award team is ready and informed. Here are the three most important actions to take to avoid some of the most prevalent problems in post-award contract management:

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How Industry Knowledge Helps Effective Contracting

Contract managers and those involved in the contracting process, by necessity, have a great deal of skills that are utilized in both the pre-award and post-award phases of the contracts. Some of these skills include risk assessment, contracting skills, financial or contract management software skills, monitoring, goal setting, and negotiation skills, just to name a few. One key skill that experienced contract managers bring to the table is industry knowledge. The requirements of contracts look different from one industry to the next, and relevant experience will help considerably in all phases of a contract's life cycle. Below are four of the key benefits relevant industry experience can bring: 

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Contracting for Startups

Starting a company is an exciting venture, but it can also be an overwhelming experience. There are so many details to consider and decisions to make, like those relating to the initial organizational documents, financial and accounting matters, and hiring.  The importance of contracting (and the resulting contract management) can also be an afterthought though warrants careful attention. 

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How To Simplify Contracts

Contracts may formalize important agreements and impose significant responsibilities, but that does not mean that they have to be lengthy documents written in a complicated language. In fact, contract drafting should take the opposite approach and focus on keeping things as simple as possible. Contract-related disputes that often arise end up in court because of differing interpretations and understandings. Although language, in general, s subject to interpretation (including contract terms), there are ways to avoid unnecessary ambiguities. Here are a few ways to keep contracts simple:

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Pre Vs. Post-Award Contract Management Solutions- Part 2 of 2

This is the second in a two-part series outlining pre vs. post-award contract management solutions.

 

In part one, we covered post-award contract management solutions. They tend to be easier to implement and less complicated than full life cycle solutions, however, they lack the pre-award features that a full life cycle solution will have. So when does it makes sense to adopt a full-blown contract life cycle solution vs. a post-award only solution? 

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Pre Vs. Post-Award Contract Management Solutions, Part 1 Of 2

This is the first in a two-part series outlining pre vs. post-award contract management solutions. 

 

We recently attended the IACCM conference in Las Vegas and had the opportunity to talk with and learn from procurement and contract managers from a wide variety of sectors. A lot of our conversations, not surprisingly, centered around the common problems that contract managers face at all stages of a contract life cycle and if it's feasible to think that software can help solve these problems. 

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Is Contract Management Behind The Technology Curve?

With 100+ contract management solutions to choose from, the obvious answer would be, "no, contract management is not behind the technology curve." However, after conducting research at IACCM and interviewing more than 100 companies, data tells us differently:

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5 Spreadsheet Blunders That Will Make you Think Twice

Spreadsheets: we love to hate them. They are used for many business functions and are deemed necessary by companies. They track financials, deliverables, basically anything that has a quantity assigned to it and can be managed with a formula. Unfortunately, spreadsheet data is far from accurate. An article by Forbes estimated that a whopping 90% of spreadsheets have errors in them. Here is a collection of the most serious spreadsheet blunders from articles around the web. Our bet is after reading these; you'll think twice about how you're tracking your data. 

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