As I’ve been looking for out-of-the-box solutions that heavily rely on content, I’ve come to realize that these Back Office Content Solutions are everywhere. When I started this research I didn’t know how many solutions to expect and how prolific these solutions were. My real surprise was in human services benefits administration, the poster child for every Enterprise Content Management (ECM) vendor’s build your own solution message to state and local governments. Without even trying, I accidentally found two vendors.
To support people with developmental disabilities Therap offers an out-of-the-box solution that will improve workflow processes and includes limited document management capabilities for organizations that are working with developmental disability benefits.
The document management capabilities Therap developed does not address imaging, editing tool integrations, or retention. It would simply manage those documents. The products capabilities for workflow, resource management, and audit are all adequate, but did miss some things offered by ECM. It even has limited support for mobile devices. All of these features come out-of-the-box. This functionality could of course be configured or customized with an ECM platform. What cannot easily be replicated by ECM vendors is that Therap is being used by 15 states.
To support child protective services and child support Northwoods offers document management and workflow with an out-of-the-box solution to work social services related to children.
Northwoods integrates with ECM platforms, OnBase, Laserfiche, or FileNet, for those capabilities. By doing this, it allows them to take documents and workflows even further by making it all available on a mobile device with a custom user interface. The case worker is now able to complete forms, audio record interviews, and collaborate with their supervisors on a mobile device.
Custom ECM solutions should not be the only answer You will still need custom ECM solutions for large focused social services solutions that don’t replicate easily at the state or national level. Those common services provided at the local, county or municipal level cannot afford solutions that require weeks of discovery, followed by months of development. Every extra penny that goes into developing a solution for services is a penny that’s being kept away from an individual in need.
As I dig deeper into Contract Life Cycle Management, I’m finding a lot of interesting tidbits. I already said that I was surprised by how large the market is already. My next big shock is that it’s not only customers that are buying CLM but the investment community as well. Continue reading “It’s Not Just Customers that Buy the CLM Vision”→
Draft – Draft is when an organization creates a new contract. Drafting is usually done from a contract template or previous copy. Each type of contract – employment, vendor, franchisee, etc. – would have its own template. These templates could include clause support, where individual paragraphs or entire sections are represented by different attributes of a contract. For instance, an employment contract for Florida may have different clauses than one for California.
Drafting, or authoring, can be done manually or automatically. With manual drafting, the user would select, or be sent a workflow task with, a template for the new contract. In automatic drafting, a tool is used to select the appropriate contract template and clauses for that individual contract. This tool can be a wizard which requires manual entry of data, or a button that generates the new contract based on a data file.
Review – Review is when an organization receives an external contract. Typically an organization will have a stated policy that all contracts must go through a review process before acceptance. This corporate policy is one that should identified by Information Governance. The first step in review is ingesting the contract into the system and entering relevant data to the index. From this point the contract follows the normal path.
Negotiate – Negotiate is the process of give and take on a contract to reach an agreement. Contracts and changes to contracts are reviewed or created by both parties. This includes red line or markups and annotations. This process can be performed independently using copies of the document that are downloaded or sent via email. The second party may be able to access a CLM directly to change the contract. The actual negotiation process can be performed in real-time over the phone or on-line through a single instance of the solution. The negotiation process ends when both parties reach an agreement to approve the contract.
Approve – Approving a contract is a separate part of the negotiation process. The individuals that negotiate a contract are not necessarily the same individuals that approve a contract. Much of the negotiation process may deal with terms and conditions of a contract that may not require involvement of the person that will approve, or sign, the contract. For example, an executive may not read every line of a contract but instead rely on corporate counsel.
Approval typically ends with a signature either in “wet ink” or electronic form. Different laws and requirements govern the use of electronic signatures. Internal electronic signatures are typically a matter of corporate policy. In the U.S., external electronic signatures are governed by the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN), the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act for each state, and the Federal Trade Commission. Which electronic signature is used for each type of contract is part of Information Governance. It is this signed, “wet ink” or electronic, contract that falls under the control of Information Governance.
Administer – Administer addresses the contract life cycle from signed accepted document until the contract expires. Usually this step addresses tracking contract expiration or contract renewals. Administration of contracts is now starting to track obligations, both date and event based. For example, ensuring that an updated inspection certificate has been received or that pricing changes reflect purchase levels met according to the contract.
Renew – Renew addresses the issue of continuing the terms of an existing contract. Contracts can take many forms but some representative options are expiring, auto renewal and evergreen. An expiring contract has a defined end and in order to renew, a new contract is needed. An auto renewal contract has a contract period defined, for instance one year, with a predefined number of review periods. For example, an annual contract with 3-years of auto renewal. The final example is an evergreen contract. An evergreen contract renews automatically after a predetermined period and requires termination to stop the contract.
A component of contract renewal is contract amendment, or making changes to a contract. While contract amendments are typically made as a contract nears its renewal timeframe, the actual amendment may be submitted much earlier during the administer phase.
Retention – Retention of contracts occur once a contract expires or becomes superseded. Retention is the concept of maintaining contracts for a predetermined period of time, usually tied to a regulatory requirement. Retention looks to minimize any potential risk of not having access to the contract that may come about from regulatory audits or potential litigation. Retention is a key concept in Information Governance.
Audit – Audit looks at individual contracts and their history through the organization. At a minimum, the audit process should capture who created the contract, who approved the contract, and who renewed the contract. Other items that may be of interest to most corporate counsel are who edited the contract, and who reviewed the contract. These same questions may be asked of the templates or individual clauses stored in the system. For example, who reviewed and approved a specific clause. The audit process covers all aspects of a contract’s life.
Analytics – Analytics looks at the contracts as both a collection and as individual documents. In its simplest form, analytics takes the role of reporting and custom reporting. A CLM solution needs to be able to identify which contracts are due to expire or are up for renewal. It should also be able to report on workflow processes reporting on queues and task durations. Analytics can go further and report on the contract level. For contracts, this means tracking the value of contracts.
Like any other content solution, Information Governance addresses many functions of contract life cycle. This goes beyond roles, groups, and workflows. CLM solutions offered by traditional vendors, unlike those developed on ECM platforms; often miss critical Information Governance concepts like document retention policies. Information governance is not just part of an ECM solution but any solution that touches corporate documents and information.