Can technology play a role in easing the skills shortage in Contract Management?

robot_300Just as Contract Management was gaining the strategic recognition that it deserves in streamling the contract process, managing contracted risks and costs and providing greater transparency in both public sector and private sector organisations, there appears to be a major problem looming in the industry. 

Recent comments by US President Obama and Geri McLeary from the UK Office of Government Commerce would indicate that although policy and intention might attempt to make government contracting with external product and service providers more efficient, there appears to be a significant skills gap in the market for experienced Contract Management staff.  It is feared that the shortage in Contract Management skills could have serious implications for the effectiveness and success of government Contract Management strategy.

Although technology can never truly replace the value of an experienced human being, it can at least play an important role in the future of contract management, by allowing Contract Management specialists to do more with fewer resources and by sharing the burden of managing contract risks and obligations with other key stakeholders within the organisation.

A second generation of Contract Lifecyle Mangagment software solutions is able to make Contract Management specialist’s lives easier by automating and managing the key stages of the contract lifecycle process.  Contract Management software reduces the costs and risks associated with contracting by streamlining the contract drafting and approval process, providing a single repository for contracts and associated documents, provide secure workspaces for external party collaboration and by allowing contract management specialists and non-specialist staff – who may be in other functions of the organisation, to have access to real-time management reports and alerts, so that contract obligations, risks and milestones can be managed across the organisation more effectively.

So, if you are a Contract Manager and you are not already using a Contract Management system to streamline your workload and to communicate the value of your work to the key stakeholders in your organisation, perhaps 2009 is the time when you should start to evaluate the market for Contract Lifecycle Management software?

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