Metatrend 1: A contract manager is not a J.A.R.V.I.S. but it surely will get one….

Author: Arjen van Berkum
December 11, 2020
December 11, 2020

Most people don’t know what a J.A.R.V.I.S. is, do you? J.A.R.V.I.S stands for ‘Just Another Rather Very Intelligent System’, a fictional artificial intelligence character that was voiced in different science fiction movies. Let me dive into a mega trend, one that drives Jarvis support types and then try to bring it to the level of the day to day contract manager.

It has all started with services like Alexa, Google Home and Apple HomePod. Their expansion in functionality at home shows us the great opportunities that could serve us in the business arena as well. They will travel beyond the home and become your cognitive buddy 24/7 365 days a year. It is not far out there to have, let’s say, a J.A.R.V.I.S software shell that you give permission to listen to all your contract related conversations, read the email of your colleagues to and from your contract partner, monitor the performance all the time in real time, and so on. With access to such data, this AI-enabled software shell around you will learn your preferences, anticipate your needs and behavior, and help you problem-solve in support of your mid-term and long-term goals as a contract manager and as an organization.

Now why do I believe this?

Firstly the rapidly growing market of AI (Artificial Intelligence) in Contract Lifecycle Management systems (CLM) shows that there are huge steps being taken in obtaining and structuring the data that comes from contracts. It is more than automated finding of end dates, but it also structures for you what was really agreed on, what elements are there but also can give you rapid insight in potential quality issues. When I talk with people such as Claude Marais from SirionLabs I see that they and other players in the Gartner magic quadrant on CLM are investing heavily in creating the groundworks for a J.A.R.V.I.S.

The biggest issue with machines that have learning capabilities is that the quality of the data is the key driver to quality of any future-based model. Part of this quality depends on the sheer volume of data, but also on the times you have been compliant to the correct data entry. Of course there are other dependencies. So, my key message is here that if you want to capture the value of a J.A.R.V.I.S you need to standardize the way of working in areas where you want to automate as quickly as possible.

And as I am in the field of contract management and impressed by the great results the methodology CATS CM® of author Linda Tonkes realizes, I recommend using this methodology to standardize your way of working in contract management and use a CLM-tool to capture the data and standardize that. Recently we started a certification program for CLM software providers, so the many organizations that are using this global standard methodology are assured that a tool can actually follow the CATS CM® approach and principles. In October the first certification was concluded with software provider SirionLabs, and the next CLM parties are on their way to also meet the standard the methodology sets.

The contract manager’s life will be made more easy and the business case is simple. Every coin you spend on buying or selling, is bound by a contract. Every organization becomes more and more aware of the fact that creating value is no longer done in splendid isolation, but in cooperation with others. Every partnership and every collaboration is a contract.

And if you do not manage your contracts, you will never be able to manage your organizational goals effectively.