Contract management is an integral part of procurement and supply chain function and it has undergone a tremendous amount of change in the past few years. However, you will still find a lot of companies where contract management is done like it was done in 1990s.
The same old manual, siloed processes that consume all the time of procurement professionals unnecessarily are still working in many companies. Their procurement function is the one which is far from new technology and digital tools. Sounds strange? Unfortunately that’s the reality.
At the same time, there are businesses which are taking their contract management practices to the next levels. They are leveraging technology and are not shying away from investing for a better future. There is a big shift in the way business leaders perceive contract management and procurement function as a whole. It is taken more as a strategic activity then routine buying tasks done by office administrative staff.
And that’s just the beginning. I see a whole lot of change in the coming years wherein the entire picture is going to change. If I were to speak about the next 5-6 years, then these are the trends which are evolving very strongly:
Use of big data:
The availability of critical data related to consumer behavior and markets is going to change the way we make those ‘big’ decisions. There will be no space for guess work any longer as the big data will result into powerful analytics that will help answers to the questions that used to remain a mystery for procurement leaders.
Integrated online systems:
In the next few years, there will be no choice for companies but to shift their contract management and all other procurement activities to integrated online systems that will host all the information at one place. The age of scattered data and inconsistent information will be history and all of it will come on one platform.
Soon, mobile applications will become a part of our lives. A large number of procurement and supply chain activities that are done on paper will be done via mobile applications on the ground. All the contracts will be available at a click of a mouse and thus manageable from anywhere. The field staff will be using mobile devices to capture diverse information and share that with their managers in real time.
All of these trends are already visible in many overseas markets and the Indian market is fast catching pace with these evolving practices.
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Author – Aval Sethi, Founder