Creating a Roadmap for your Contract Management System (CMS)

Carolyn Jungclas, Senior Vice President/ Director- Procurement & Vendor Management, First Citizens Bank

Carolyn Jungclas, Senior Vice President/ Director- Procurement & Vendor Management, First Citizens Bank

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there” These are wise words from the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Before starting roadmap planning, here are 4things to consider:

1. Is the complete functionality of the CMS understood?

2. Is there business value in implementing any or all of the functionality?

3. What is the level of effort to implement each of the functionalities?

4. Is there a logical order to implementing any or all of the functionality?

Answering these questions will help you establish the roadmap. Let’s look at each of these considerations in-depth:

Understanding the functionality of the CMS

The basic contract repository and contract management functionality are likely the foundation of the CMS. Scheduling a demonstration with the CMS vendor to understand the software’s full capabilities is the first step. Work with internal users to understand pinch points and wish list items prior to the demonstration, to be on the lookout for potential solutions during the demonstration. Understanding what is possible will provide an initial scope for the roadmap.

Identifying the business value in the functionality

There may be features in the CMS that will drive business value by reducing time, creating efficiencies, and improving overall data quality. Give each scope item identified above a business value rating of high, moderate, or low.

 Establish priorities based on the firm’s internal business needs.  High business value and low effort items may be prioritized first, in order to have quick wins 

Establishing the level of effort for implementation

Once you’ve determined the business value, estimate the time and effort to implement the changes/ configurations; again, high, moderate, or low effort. A simple chart with the functionality, business value (high, moderate, or low), and time/ effort (high, moderate, or low) will facilitate the beginnings of a prioritized list.

Determining the logical order of implementation

It’s important to complete a more detailed evaluation of the data and configuration changes necessary to execute against the prioritized list. For example, if creating contract documents from the CMS has a high business value and one of the requirements is to set up a clause library, the clause library must be added as a precursor to the prioritized list. Sending automated notifications to contract owners for expiring and auto-renewing contracts may have high business value and require that each contract owner has updated name, title, and email address information in the CMS. Again, obtaining and uploading this data must be added as a prerequisite to the prioritized list. This establishes the true level of effort to implement each of the functionalities on the roadmap.

Now that the scope, business value, level of effort, and logical order have been determined, you’re ready to establish a roadmap. I recommend including all desired functionality on the list and then reviewing with internal stakeholders and the CMS vendor to validate the information. Establish priorities based on the firm’s internal business needs. High business value and low effort items may be prioritized first, in order to have quick wins. Revisit the roadmap on a monthly (or more frequent) basis to take stock of lessons learned, completed items, or the need to incorporate any new functionality released by the CMS vendor. Knowing where you’re going, with a roadmap in hand, will ensure that the CMS journey is moving in the right direction. 

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