Archive: September, 2015

Don’t MacGyver Your Contracts

We all appreciate clever solutions to problems. For those of us old enough to remember, MacGyver was an action-adventure television series whose hero, secret agent MacGyver, solved complex problems via his inventive use of common items like his Swiss Army knife and good old duct tape. These solutions led to the saying “to MacGyver,” which, according to Urban Dictionary and many a dad, means “to use ingenuity to fix or remedy a problem using only the tools available at hand.”

MacGyverisms are alive and well in the software world where solutions are employed that serve a tactical purpose but are far from optimal. Sharepoint is often referred to as the Swiss Army knife of applications: it has many different features but does nothing very well. It can be used as a client portal, an intranet and a basic document management system. It can do some simple workflow and has social media features. Salesforce is another example – it is a very good enterprise CRMS and sales enablement tool plus it has its own application exchange that allows ‘related’ custom solutions to be bolted onto its core offering. You can duct tape any number of custom document and contract management applications onto systems like Salesforce and Sharepoint, but do you really want them to house and manage your contracts?

Your contracts are your business’s most precious documents. They represent what your company owes and is owed, what you have been promised, what you are obliged to do and what your expectations of suppliers are. Do you want your precious contracts in systems that have general access or are used by corporate functions that have the highest staff turnover rates? What would happen to  your contracts during litigation? Is it clear what is covered by legal privilege? What state are your documents in for an M&A event? How certain are you about what they represent?

At Exari we believe that your contracts should be separated from all of your other documents because they are special. Contracts need be managed by secure software that is specifically designed not just to handle them, but to put them to work offering insight into your business. Access to contracts and contractual data should be strictly controlled and limited to  people who understand and need to know their details. With contract visibility, you should be able to run targeted reports that show where your risks and obligations are and how these trend over time. Eventually you can use this data to improve and streamline your contracting and negotiation processes.

Exari’s Contract Hub is the starting point for getting organized and gaining visibility into your contracts. It’s not a MacGyver solution to a complex problem: it’s an easy-to-execute, easy-to-swallow tool precisely designed to set you off on the road to complete contract certainty.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments or @liptonj.

Justin Lipton is Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Exari. 

It’s Not About Words. It’s About Risk

Every day we talk to companies about their enterprise contract management systems, and every day I hear substantially the same thing. Help us automate the drafting of our contracts and we’ll be all set.


Contract Management is not about business process efficiency. Sure, you can be more efficient by using a template system, but contract management is really about risk. What’s in your contracts is more important than what’s on the paper.

The reason many contract management programs struggle is that they fail to deal with the elephant in the room; legacy contracts represent the current risk view, not future contracts. Without addressing your legacy contract assets, you’re not addressing the areas of risk most likely to jump up and bite you.

Unfortunately, most contract management systems focus on document automation and workflow. While companies need these things, they are often the most difficult to implement because they represent change- change in both processes and organizations- and they can be VERY expensive.

That’s why we developed the Contracts Hub. The Hub gives you the ability to store, report and analyze your legacy contracts regardless of how they were created. Once you have that mastered, you’ll be able to see the areas of risk in your contract assets. That’s step one in our maturity index. The Hub is cloud-based for easy implementation, fixed price for both implementation and number of contracts so it’s easy to budget for. The end-user reports are pre-built so a user can be viewing contract data in less than an hour of training.

Make your life easier. Start where the risk is greatest- and the value.

Bill Hewitt is Exari’s CEO. Reach out in the comments or @billhewittCEO. 

What’s Your ROR?

Lots of people talk about Return on Investment, ROI. They also say that the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. So what’s your Return on Risk?

Most people view risk as a bad thing, but calculated risk can be very rewarding. Without big risks, there would be no great leaps forward. I recently worked with a company that would cut down a project into four management chunks rather than doing it as one big project that would take at least three years. Not all 4 month efforts took 4 months, but at the end of three years they had accomplished more than any one big project had.

What is the risk of an enterprise contract lifecycle management (CLM) project? It’s mostly has to do with changing behavior. The high degree of business process re-engineering makes people uncomfortable. That’s one of the reasons we think of CLM as a journey; you should start with the highest value/lowest risk component. That’s why we developed the Contracts Hub. It’s a relatively small step in terms of behavioral change, but will give you significant benefits. It gives you one place to store and analyze your contracts. It’s SaaS based and totally secure. And you can starting seeing results in a few weeks, not years. Small steps that lead to measurable results ease the journey and the risk.

Risk is for daredevils. You need results.

Bill Hewitt is Exari’s CEO. Reach out in the comments or @billhewittCEO.