How consultants can benefit from contract management software
While Statements of Work (SOWs) have been, and will continue to be a major part of the professional services framework, they can sometimes be a major barrier to properly scoping, estimating, completing, or even performing the work correctly.
Even the most liberally written SOWs contain limiting parameters such as budgeting and task descriptions, which often send these documents into an awkward change request process which may or may not happen favorably.
While these time honored traditions of managing SOWs have often been handled by business development and sales, new software in the contract management industry is emerging which continues to help streamline these process - from the beginning, in negotiation - making it easier for service providers and clients to automate these functions. These new systems are forms of contract lifecycle management software. Below are the top four scenarios where businesses can benefit using automated (negotiation and) contract management software, especially in the statement of work process (automating statements of work).
- Negotiation of SOW Terms: These terms can include everything from the number of billable hours, the rate charged, as well as the resources on the project. In this stage, transparency and audit trails that come as a part of a software system are key so that both parties are completely clear what is being agreed to, reducing confusion and clearing up change requisitions if they occur at a later date.
- Estimation and Selection: Contract management software in the modern age could/should allow professional service providers to back up their estimations with virtual attachments and links to outside documents. These handy features help corporate reviewers of SOW documents to have supporting information at their fingertips, helping make the case for the estimation of work as well as any pertinent information supporting the SOW scope.
- Change Request Process: When a change request (“CR”) does occur, transparency and documentation are key to any client seeking to understand the necessity of a change request to complete the work. With a modern software system, change requests can be viewed in real time by both parties and pertinent points can be negotiated and signed off without hassle. Additionally, the ability to provide supporting information to a CR proposal is helpful in communicating the need for the CR.
- Project Close Out and Signoff: When a project is complete, one of the most important pieces to receive is signoff, signaling the successful completion of the work. While this can sometimes be tricky to obtain -- working around executive schedules, and such -- having an automated signoff solution included in a contract management system makes it easy for corporate clients to provide signoff in a timely manner.
While the SOW system will continue to be key in professional services, proper management and automation of the SOW process using software tools helps to streamline and optimize the process for everyone involved, leading to more successful projects, and a happier overall experience.
ContractRoom, home of #HappyContracting – making the world more agreeable one happy contract at a time. “Negotiate less, Agree More”!