Virtual contracting and the new normal

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The need to adopt a new normal and redraft the rules of the game during the pandemic is paramount to keeping business operating as usual.

As the world continues to embrace the new normal of working virtually – including working from home, video conference calls, virtual negotiations, and a lack of business travel – organizations are adopting new ways of negotiating business deals.

Adopting new technology for virtual contracting

With so many people working remotely during the crisis, organizations are implementing work from home measures and tools to help the process. These include integrated contract lifecycle management platforms and video conferencing to ensure contract negotiations and business continues as smoothly as possible.

While contracting has always relied on personal interaction at every step of the process, this move away from more traditional ways of signing contracts to e-signatures opens ups a world of possibilities in contract negotiations – it’s fast, safe, and doesn’t require a face-to-face meeting. Likewise, contract teams are now being created virtually, and the negotiations are discussed and agreed via video conference. People who are not used to working remotely will need to learn and adapt to this practice. Organizations such as the International Association of Contract & Commercial Managers (IACCM) has launched a training program on “managing contracts virtually” to help contract managers embrace the new normal and ensure business continuity.

In previous blogs, I touched on how the future lies with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools. As automated tools become increasingly accurate, activities such as metadata extraction, creating the first draft of contract, redlining contracts, and workflows are becoming the new normal. Organizations are using these systems more effectively, and it is starting to deliver the desired results.

Alternative security standards

Pre-lockdown, due to customer requirements, organizations had clear and stringent security requirements around dedicated workspaces with restricted entry, separate LAN connections, and dedicated VPN connections firmly in place.

However, with more and more people working from home, customers have relaxed certain physical requirements on the location of service delivery. This has created new challenges around how to protect customer data when teams work remotely without direct physical supervision.

Force majeure and other regulatory provisions

In the past, a pandemic could have been considered as a force majeure. In the current crisis, AI and other technology has forced organizations to redefine what a force majeure is and to reexamine practical questions that arise during periods of business disruption.

Regulatory issues relating to cybersecurity, health and safety, data privacy, data localization, and export controls will find renewed interest and scrutiny, which needs to be customized or re-written with the virtual world kept in mind.

While we recover from the pandemic, the need to adopt a new normal, redraft the rules of the game, and play within them, while maintaining social distancing, is paramount to keeping business operating as usual!

Capgemini helps Fortune 100 companies drive meaningful intelligence out of their thousands of contract documents. To learn how Capgemini can provide the correct contract management platform for your organization, please contact: mani.agarwal@capgemini.com

Click here  to learn more about how Capgemini’s Contract Compliance & Optimization (CCO) solution provides a broader and deeper solution to your compliance, cost reduction and spend protection goals, from an often-overlooked area – the written contract.

Mani Agarwal advises clients on commercial and contract management transformation initiatives. He helps organizations to transform their contract lifecycle and contracts portfolio by implementing the right machine learning/AI tools. He also uses his expertise in optimizing the performance of contracts to ensure maximum value through all contractual opportunities and avoid any revenue leakage. Mani is a qualified lawyer and a nominated member of the prestigious IACCM Council for IT and Outsourcing Networks.

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