The latest independent research into the market sentiments around purchasing Contract Lifecycle Management software solutions has just been published by the IACCM and for those of us in the Contract Management technology and service provider space, it seems like good news.
The IACCM is a non-profit making organisation that brings together Contract Management and Commercial Management professionals from around 1,600 organisations around the world. The IACCM Contract Management Software Market Sentiment Survey 2009 received a total of 140 responses.
Recession-busting technology or just trying to survive?
The key highlight of this research indicates that Contract Management software solutions are now perceived to be even more important by Contract Management professionals in an economic downturn. Indeed, it should be asked if an organisation is not keeping a tight control on contractual risks and obligations now, what are they doing?
Does this however, reflect in actual buying sentiment in the Contract Management market? According to the IACCM survey, over two thirds of respondents remain upbeat about investing in Contract Management software solutions in 2009. However, nervousness about the general stability of the world economy and vendor health has resulted in 42% of respondents conducting detailed financial due diligence on new suppliers.
Who buys Contract Management software?
It is interesting to note that in 2009, Legal and the Contracts Group are now perceived to be the primary decision makers when evaluating Contract Lifecycle Management solutions. Does this mean that the influence that procurement departments had in the past is waning in the new economic climate?
Software how you want it
Equally, the way that organisations want to buy and use line of business software is changing. The IACCM survey shows a strong demand for software solutions to be delivered as-a-service (SaaS) – 33% of respondents expressed a desire for SaaS solutions; however onsite installed software is still the preferred option (with 45% of respondents).
One size fits all?
The IACCM survey shows that although Contract Management professionals agree that Buy side (supply chain) and Sell side (Commercial) Contract Management functions are fundamentally different, there is a desire to standardise on one single technology platform for managing the contract lifecycle process – albeit one that is able to adequately handle the nuances of different contract types and the demands of specialist internal stakeholders.
What functionality do Contract Manager’s want?
The majority of respondents in the IACCM survey indicated that the data attributes of contract management (ie post award contract management) were most important to them. The Contract Database and Management Reporting functions of a Contract Management system coming up at the top of their wish list.
Capturing existing archives of paper and electronic contracts and saving them in to a single electronic repository was also high up on the priority list; as was the use of electronic workflows to facilitate internal contract reviews and approvals.
Functions that appear to be less popular were areas like Spend Management, Digital Signatures and Electronic Workspaces. Perhaps their day will come.
The IACCM survey however, also highlights that Contract Lifecycle Management systems still have some way to go to be widely adopted by organisations – remember that only 1% of organisations use technology to automate and manage their contract processes. Better integration with other third party enterprise systems was at the top of the wish list for the IACCM respondents.
The IACCM Contract Management Software Market Sentiment Survey 2009 provides much comfort that we are not all doomed to fail and succumb to this economic downturn and that in fact, spending on technology solutions has not gone away – it is merely prioritised on those technologies and solutions that can materially affect the bottom line, like Contract Lifecycle Management solutions.