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.