Editorial

The Digital Marketplace Contenders, 2: ContractsWise

How can public sector organisations win the 2% back off contract management the NAO says they should? Our next Contender thinks it has a clue

Posted 20 December 2016 by

Our next Digital Marketplace Contender is Gloucester-based contract management specialist ContractsWise, a provider of innovative contract management and supplier performance management solutions. We spoke to its founder and director, Noel Green.

Welcome to the Digital Marketplace Contenders, Mr Green. Let’s start by you telling us about your company; what is your value proposition?

ContractsWise exists to help organisations maximise value for money from its contracted services and also avoid unexpected expenditure. We do that off a solid foundation of many years’ experience in procurement, supply chain management and contract management from both the buy-side and the sell-side. Over those years, we have seen many organisations struggling to achieve the benefits and rewards that were expected when agreements were first signed.

As ardent users of technology to support business processes, we looked for a software solution that would help contract managers realise the expected benefits of a contract. However, we couldn’t find one that suited our needs, so we decided to design our own with the needs of the user at its heart.

We don’t see ourselves as a tech company, but more as providers of effective contract management solutions. This includes our two software offerings, ECAS and ECMS, and we also provide e-learning as well as advisory support. We are ISO27001:2013 Data Security certified.

Our first product was ECMS (The Effective Contract Management System), centred on a secure, searchable contract database with automated alerts and provides the functionality to help manage and report on contract performance and risks. Uniquely, ECMS enables organisations to easily engage with key stakeholders to identify where contract performance can be improved as well as tracking KPIs.

Following feedback from potential customers who loved ECMS, but felt they weren’t ready internally to properly manage contracts, and who also wanted to start getting better control over contract information, documents and key milestones, we then released ECAS (The Effective Contract Administration System). ECAS provides the same contract database functionality available in ECMS at a very low cost. It then becomes an easy upgrade to ECMS whenever an organisation feels it’s ready to take the next step.

Finally, can I say we were incredibly proud to be awarded the runner-up prize in the 2016 global innovation awards by the International Association of Commercial and Contract Management (IACCM).

Sounds interesting. What is the relevance for the public sector?

Seeing as the vast majority of public sector organisations are awarding contracts for services of some kind, contract management should be a core skill. In fact, the National Audit Office says that, on average, 2% of a contract’s value in the sector should be allocated to ongoing contract management, and that this investment would easily pay for itself.

Unfortunately, the role of contract management is often overlooked, or is by default handled by the contract owner who will be highly skilled in their own area of expertise but who doesn’t necessarily know that much about contract management. This is where we can help.

Not only do we have the software that will support contract managers in maximising performance and reducing risk, we offer an e-learning module that will improve the skills of both novice and experienced contract managers.

Why are you on The Digital Marketplace now, and what do you hope to achieve?

We know that framework agreements provide the public sector with a quick and low cost process for procuring the goods and services they need. We also know that responding to full tenders is incredibly time consuming and costly, especially for an SME like us.

Even though our software prices are well below any OJEU thresholds, we would like the public sector to take confidence from the fact that we’ve been through the framework procurement process and use G8 rather than incurring the expense for all parties of conducting full tenders.

Finally, how did you find the process of on-boarding onto the Marketplace, and do you have any guidance or others on the basis of that experience?

As an organisation that has previously completed the procurement of contracts on behalf of the public sector, we found it relatively straightforward and probably not as alien an experience, perhaps, as those new to interacting with the public sector.

If ThinkDigitalPartners.com came back to talk to you in a year, what would you like to be able to say you’d achieved in the public sector?

Obviously we would like to be able to say that we have picked up many new clients – and we would want those new clients to be making a lot of noise about the achievements they’re making.

Thanks for your time, Mr Green – and good luck on The Digital Marketplace.