Data Integration: The Future of Vendor & Contract Management Software

One of my trusted colleagues, Patrick O’Connor from Gatekeeper, recently showed me a new feature his company was rolling out for their contract lifecycle management software solution.  He explained it as ‘touchless contracting’.  And it got me excited because I believe it’s going to be the next evolution in vendor and contract management software – full data integration into workflow.

Most modern vendor and contract management software solutions support workflow management.  This isn’t new. And many are beginning to integrate external data sources into their solutions from third-party data intelligence platforms like Argos Risk, BitSight and others.

In most cases, when this data is integrated, it is available to view and report on from within the actual system.  For example, the ability to pull up a profile of a vendor from within the system and view their most recent business health score from Argos Risk or latest security rating from BitSight. This is a really good thing as these systems allow you to bring this external data into your vendor and contract management software solution to support point-in-time decision making along with continuous monitoring.

However, there are a few vendor and contract management software solutions that are thinkingbeyond just data integration. They are creating ways for you to see this data at the point in time you need to actually make a decision by integrating it directly into workflow.

In the Gatekeeper example, Patrick walked me through their standard electronic signature (eSign) workflow which sends an email to contract approvers when a contract is ready to sign electronically.  Gatekeeper has had this functionality for a while.  But the piece they added more recently was embedding data directly into the email approval.  In this case, providing a snapshot of the vendor’s business health profile in the actual email.  This came through their integration with Argos Risk, a business health monitoring solution.

What this does is give the contract approver an additional layer of real-time data on the vendor’s business health before executing the contract.  The approver didn’t have to go into the system to find this data.  Didn’t have to run a special report. The data was right there, at the time the decision to execute the agreement was being made.

This is exciting and, in my opinion, the direction that the leading vendor and contract management software providers should (and will) be heading. Full data integration into everyday workflow, making the data ubiquitous in the tools we already use, allowing us to make smart, timely decisions that impact risk and cost and compliance – all in one place.

If your organization is still mired in Excel, Word and other outdated tools, now is the time to upgrade your technology and modernize your third-party risk management. Vendor Centric can help you assess your current technology and workflow, and implement modern processes and software to support your vendor and contract management activities.

Author:

Job Title: CEO
Organization: Vendor Centric

Tom is the founder and CEO of Vendor Centric, he has been a trusted advisor to nonprofit organizations for 30 years, with a focus on helping them align the right people, processes and systems to mitigate third-party risk and drive more value from third-party contracts and relationships.

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