Category: Blog

News: Ecteon Listed as “Most Promising Procurement Solution Provider of 2016” from CIOReview Magazine

Ecteon announced today that it has been recognized as one of the top 20 Procurement Solution Providers of 2016 by CIOReview.

“It’s a great honor to select ECTEON as one among the 20 companies that are featured in the Procurement special edition,”said Jeevan George, Managing Editor of CIOReview. A distinguished panel comprising of CEO’s, CIO’s, IT-VP’s including CIOReview editorial board finalized the “20 Most Promising Procurement Solution Providers 2016” and shortlisted the best vendors and consultants in the Procurement arena.

Ecteon provides a full range of contract management software services. The company has extensive expertise and knowledge across multiple industries and offer consulting services to help clients optimize their contract management systems. Contraxx—enterprise contract management software lets organizations monitor these details throughout the contract life cycle, ensuring vendor compliance and increasing profitability.

Contraxx shortens the procurement cycle by automating contract review, using standard language and terms, streamlining approval processes and using alerts and notifications to ensure renewals and other date-sensitive milestones are addressed.

About Ecteon

Founded in 1986, Ecteon provides business process planning, implementation, training and support. With over 30 years of experience in the business, Ecteon has developed extensive expertise and knowledge across multiple industries and also provides consulting services to help optimize contract management system. For more info, visit: www.ecteon.com

About CIOReview

Published from Fremont, California, CIOReview is a print magazine that explores and understands the plethora of ways adopted by firms to execute the smooth functioning of their businesses. The magazine acts as an excellent platform for all the enterprise leaders and IT experts to share their experience and knowledge about software technologies and solutions that can redefine the business goals of enterprises tomorrow. For more info, visit: www.cioreview.com

Reflections from IACCM 2016

We’d like to take a moment to share the “takeaways” we learned as an exhibitor at the 2016 International Association for Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM) Conference in San Diego this past month.

We thought it was time to share our industry learnings and insights with our visitors because we believe in the power of continuous learning and development. We also figured that you, our current and future customers, may find value in knowing what we learned and how it can help your business as you seek our next generation contract management system (CMS).

The following themes emerged throughout the conference:

People are Ready for Next Generation Software

Earlier this fall, the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to two economists for their contributions in the field of “Contract Theory.” Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmstrom were recognized for creating frameworks to write contracts—improving both the design of contracts and shedding light on how contracts help us deal with conflicting interests.

We believe this recent spotlight on contract management was a large motivator for guests at this year’s IACCM Conference—who transitioned from just talking about contract management to actively seeking out solutions. Attendees were optimistic about the future of contract management after hearing many presenters, including our own client Kunal Dharia of Blue Shield of California (BSCA), who spoke about their company’s transition to our product Contraxx.

More Than Ever, Businesses are Collaborative and Transparent

Thought leaders in the industry were very open to talking about their contract management challenges and hearing from presenters about how they were able to solve them. Attendees saw the possibilities of a more intuitive and efficient contract management system and learned about the benefits of transitioning to a sophisticated system.

From Ecteon’s perspective this year’s attendees were ready to talk about the next step in contract management. Previously, people in the industry would generally talk only about the concepts of workflow and knowledge management—it seems now that people are taking action to change their current CMS processes.

Template Harmonization is a Trending Buzzword

“Template harmonization” was a big buzzword at the IACCM conference. Template harmonization happens when one change is made in one document and causes all similar documents to update with the new edits—thus creating “harmony” amongst various contracts. With more advanced technologies and systems available, managers don’t have to manually update hundreds of documents anymore—changes can be made simultaneously and quickly.

Senior Level Support is Catching Fire

The Nobel Prize news caught the attention of many senior-level decision makers in Fortune 500 and 1000 companies. By bringing a very internal process into the spotlight, C-Suite professionals realized just how critical contracts are to the entire company from a cost, efficiency and operations perspective. No longer are contracts thought of as paper records kept in the file cabinet—they are an integral part of a company’s overall operations. That realization and support from higher up management is helping contract managers take the steps to invest in next generation software.

We are excited to continue our involvement with IACCM, recently co-facilitating a webinar on November 15. The webinar “Transforming the way we think about contracting” shared BSCA’s experience achieving 100 percent automation in the creation of member facing documents.

Click here to download the webinar recording: https://www.sendspace.com/file/vtx2hr

 

Ecteon Proudly Sponsors the International Association of Contract and Commercial Management Americas Conference in San Diego

ecteon The pioneer of contract management software, Ecteon, is joining the contracting conversation by sponsoring the 2016 International Association of Contract and Commercial Management Conference (IACCM) in San Diego at Paradise Point Island Resort from October 24 – 26.

Ecteon will distribute information about its premier contract management lifecycle (CLM) solution, Contraxx. Conference attendees will also have the opportunity to register to win a FitBit fitness tracker at Ecteon’s booth, reinforcing the company’s message to “take the next step with Contraxx.”

Ecteon will sponsor a customer session presented by Blue Shield of California (BSCA). BSCA will share its success story of transforming to Ecteon’s next generation contract management system. BSCA presenters Dayna Bryant, senior business analyst, and Kunal Dharia, project manager, will discuss their experience investing in a new contract management system and share their positive results—informing and helping fellow conference attendees understand the process and benefits of upgrading to a feature-rich contract management system.

“We are excited to sponsor the IACCM Americas Conference and look forward to interacting with leaders in the contracting community,” said Richard Eckerstrom, chief executive officer of Ecteon. “Members of our team, Patti Dean and Alex Bombicino will share their contract management expertise and solutions that address attendee’s complex contracting challenges.”

The conference features cross-industry global perspectives, bringing thought-leadership and innovation to the community of commercial contractors – whether from legal, procurement, sales contracting, commercial or project management.

About Ecteon, Inc.

Celebrating 30 years in business and headquartered in New York City, Ecteon is a contract management software company, featuring Contraxx, a premier CML solution for companies with complex contracting requirements. Ecteon offers unique insights that enable customers to effectively and reliably manage their entire contract lifecycle. The company works with notable financial, entertainment and corporate businesses, including Bank of the West, American Family Insurance, Universal Studios and Dick’s Sporting Goods. For more information, visit www.ecteon.com.

What to Look for in a Modern Contract Management System

Your contract management system (CMS) is the beating heart of your business, capturing your relationship with customers, suppliers, employees, projects, assets, and liabilities, but your system should be more than an expensive electronic filing cabinet. Without a modern CMS, you are missing out on opportunities for efficiency, shorter cycle times, partnership-based operating procedures, and growth. While the contract lifecycle hasn’t changed that much over the years, how people create, implement, and manage the full lifecycle of contracts has drastically shifted—prompting software to advance with the ever-demanding business times.

To continue reading, visit http://www.mcsmag.com/look-modern-contract-management-system/

Article first appeared in Modern Contractor Solutions magazine August 2016. Byline contribution by Richard Eckerstrom, CEO of Ecteon.

Seven Challenges of Contract Management Implementation Part 3

 

Part 3: Placing the Entire Burden of Implementation on the Vendor

 

Conditioned perhaps by past experience with accounting systems or otheroff-the-shelf business systems, some organizations relinquish their responsibility for the implementation’s success, expecting the contract management software vendor to provide a highly standardized, turnkey implementation. A contract management implementation, however, is anything but standard.  Because contracts are specifically designed – often at great expense – to cope with each industry’s and business’ distinctive characteristics, it follows that each contract management implementation should be similarly unique.  While there are some “best practices” associated with a basic contract management process, complex organizations vary widely in how they administer and monitor their contracts.

 

Moreover, processes can vary even within an organization, from department to department. Any contract management implementation must begin with the fundamental assumption that the commitment of the company’s management and staff are critical to the success of the project. A contract management system implemented solely by the vendor without active participation from their client will inevitably lack lower level organizational commitment, as well as key components, and that lack will greatly compromise its ability to meet the client’s business goals. The implementation process needs to be a partnership, where the business expresses its needs effectively and the vendor translates those needs into an automated solution. There should be no need to compromise your processes or data requirements to fit a given contract management solution. You need to find a solution flexible enough to adapt to your process. If you select a system that has its own process and has limited capability to change, you’ll run into problems later. Asking about the length of their typical implementation is a great qualifying question to ask. Exceptionally short implementation estimates will usually tell you the company’s more interested in their software than your process. It is also a great idea to ask for resumes and qualifications for the whole implementation team. You’ll be working with these individuals for a long time, so you want to make sure they can get it right the first time and translate your needs effectively into the solution.

 

Seven Challenges of Contract Management Implementation Part 2

Part 2: Confusing Contracts with Contract Management

When embarking on a contract management process, it might seem logical to start with the contract itself.  However, starting with these thick documents full of dense legal language and nuance can be a trap. Companies lose sight of the fact that an effective contract management strategy deals mainly with the data nuggets buried within those legal paragraphs: business-useful information that must be distributed in the organization. Too often these companies begin the implementation process by handing a stack of contracts over to their contract management provider, forgetting that though contracts may contain gold, someone has to mine and process them before they’re useful. The utility of a contract management solution is a function of how business information from those contracts is extracted, summarized, analyzed, distributed and queried by the people who actually have to administer and monitor the contracts after they’ve been signed. Maximizing that utility means transforming contract language into concise, easy to understand pieces of information that can be accessed by decision makers, and fed into reporting systems and workflows, without fear of misinterpretation.  This often means transforming paragraphs of legal language into one or two “yes or no” flags, rather than an exhaustive list of data elements that cover every legal nuance in the contract.

 

Putting the contract creation process aside for now, the idea behind contract management is to take all that legalese, simplify it, summarize it so that it’s useful for the rest of the business. You shouldn’t have to be a lawyer to make sense of it. This is a process issue, rather than an IT issue, subject to judgments that can make a huge difference in the cost and ultimate value of the system. This puts a premium on the expertise an experienced CM consultant can provide. Blackwood also believes that just as companies should match their requirements collection with business goals in order to prevent “scope creep”, they must weigh the cost of analyzing and keying in any possible data element within a contract against the business value it delivers. It might look good on paper, but if there is no clear downstream value the people entering the data will know it’s not being used, and they’ll stop entering it – so what’s the purpose?

 

Distilling a contract into CM-suitable data elements can be a collaborative effort – a company’s legal department working with its decision-makers to interpret contracts and identify applicable data elements. But it’s also valuable to have an experienced CM vendor playing a consultative role, keeping focus on ensuring that business activities – not the contract itself – dictate the information being extracted for use in the CM system.

 

Seven Challenges of Contract Management Implementation Part 1

Part 1: The Scope of Creep

Too often, the contract management implementation is hampered before it even begins. While it is commonly known that scope creep can endanger project budgets and ultimately sabotage project success once it is underway, fewer recognize that scope creep often begins well before the customer sits down with its chosen vendor – at the Requirements Gathering stage. Putting together the system requirement for prospective contract management providers requires a strict definition of the company’s key business goals for the contract management system, an ability to prioritize those goals and a disciplined adherence to those priorities throughout the implementation process.

In larger organizations with multiple departments, each with its own requirements for a contract management solution, prioritizing business goals is a challenge. A breadth of requirements that simultaneously address the disparate requirements of every department can obscure the system’s core value proposition for the business. It is easy to end up with mammoth proposals from the providers, where the system is overly complicated and the implementation will take a year or more. The entire project will lose momentum as those things irrelevant to the key value propositions of the system take time away from those that matter. Paradoxically, this requirements gathering period is a stage at which companies could benefit tremendously by consulting with a contract management provider. Nonetheless, companies can go a long way toward avoiding scope creep at this beginning stage by developing a manageable, tangible list of key business goals for the system. He recommends reviewing each requirement on the RFP to determine how closely it matches your business goals, and then developing a solid list of “Phase 1‟ requirements – those that most directly impact your business goals and that will begin adding value in the relatively short term. Less critical requirements can be downgraded to a “Phase 2” or an even longer-term “Phase 3” timeline. Ask your prospective contract management software providers to help you set these priorities.

As advocates of this phased approach, we advise starting with the fundamentals. You should be asking, “Do I have a handle on all my dates – when my contracts expire, when they’re up for renewal? Do I know when certain regulatory filings are due? Do I know when I’m over budget, how many contracts I have and what their status is?” Get the system on line so people can start getting real value out of it. Only then should you start filling in the detail, such as data elements related to second-tier provisions. Those Phase 1 fundamentals may differ from company to company, but all successful businesses share a common characteristic: they are always changing. Business rules change; businesses grow; the way contracts are negotiated changes. Your contract management software must be flexible and scalable enough to handle that change. A contract management solution has got to be nimble, with an architecture that makes it easy to enhance it later, on the fly as you’re already in production. Your CM solution should always be evolving within your dynamic business environment.

Keep checking in, Part 2: Confusing Contracts with Contract management coming soon!