Contracts and Commercial Management:Defining organisational roles by their outcomes

Published: 15 Mar 2013 Average Rating: unrated Print
This article appeared in Contracting Excellence magazine on 15 Mar 2013 view edition

When it comes to defining the role of the Contracts and Commercial Management (CCM) globally, what do we consider 'normal'?   How much does this role vary? What about transferable skills?

By Stephen Davis, Senior Contracts & Commercial and Manager, Logica (now part of CGI)

When it comes to defining the role of the Contracts and Commercial Management (CCM) globally, what do we consider “normal”?   How much does this role vary? What about transferable skills?

Tim Cummins, CEO of IACCM, has evaluated the role on the company website in 2008[1] and has regularly updated his research ever since then[2].  Research shows that although different organisations, geographies and industries may have different concepts of what good CCM looks like, skills are common to all and are eminently transferable[3].

So why have we continually asked these questions?  And why are we still asking? Accountants, lawyers and procurement professionals do not seem to suffer from this affliction, so why do CCM professionals?

The aim of this article is to suggest that as contracts and commercial managers, we wrongly focus too strongly on the activities we do -- which could be quite 'specific'  -- rather than emphasize results we achieve.  This distracts from the value we add.

Scoring Goals – what exactly do we do and what value do we produce?  

When CGI, a leading Montreal-based IT provider acquired Logica[4] there was no contracts and commercial function as we would define it today. Instead legal managers, bid managers, opportunity owners, delivery managers and sales people all shared the tasks that CCM would normally call 'their own'.

After the acquisition and the resulting changes, the new UK Contract Management team decided to try a better approach. They asked, “What exactly does the contracts and commercial management function do? And what value does it really add?” 

The answer is best defined by using the analogy of a soccer coach.  Asked if he was a “shooting coach,” he replied, in effect, “No, I'm a goal scoring coach. Players on offense do not say they are attackers. Their job is to score goals. Defenders don't say they're defenders, their job is to stop the other team from scoring.”

Just as the coach defines his role by what he sets out to achieve, rather than what he does on a daily basis, in responding to the question 'What does CCM do?', the response is instead based on 'What business outcomes does CCM deliver?'

Results – Winning Outcomes

By doing this, the CGI Contracts & Commercial team developed a list of the top results CCM must achieve.  These are as follows:

  • Turn talk into work - Sign contracts faster.  By negotiating in a fair and principled manner to obtain the best balance of terms for the deal (which is not necessarily the same as the best terms for the stronger party) negotiations can be concluded quicker, and form a better basis for a strong and effective relationship.
  • Turn work into good business - Sign better contracts. By taking a disciplined and consistent approach, we can deliver better contracts which more accurately reflect the risks and rewards and build on the lessons learned of the past, as well as best practice from elsewhere.
  • Turn good business into cash – Deliver the commitment.  By ensuring that appropriate acceptance and delivery processes are in place, we ensure that a company is able to turn its products or services into cash in the shortest possible time, with the minimum cost to transact.
  • Turn good business into opportunity –
    • Manage contracts better to protect relationships and value for both parties.  By taking the contracts out of the drawer, dusting them off and applying them to real life situations --whether by educating an account team, or playing a more active management role -- both parties can continue the basis for the relationship started with the contract.
    • Enhance and protect profitability by solving problems at cause, not at effect. By taking a proactive role in projects, we can prevent problems before they happen.
  • Turn opportunity into relationships - Establish and enhance effective trading relationships to deliver business outcomes   By ensuring our trading relationships with our suppliers/customers/ partners are effective -- not necessarily the same as friendly unless this achieves all of the above-- we help the business achieve its overriding objectives and deliver sustainable, ongoing value.

By responding to the need for change, CCM became a central part of the way CGI does business in the UK, adding value both pre- and post- contract signature.

So, next time someone asks you 'What exactly is it you do?' think about the above example, and instead of answering with a set of documents you have written, meetings you have attended or processes you follow, describe what you deliver and what goals you score! 


[1] http://commitmentmatters.com/2008/08/11/the-role-of-a-contract-manager/

[2] http://commitmentmatters.com/2009/04/14/the-role-of-a-contract-manager-revisited/

[3] http://commitmentmatters.com/2012/05/03/are-contract-and-commercial-management-transferable-skills/

[4] http://www.cgi.com/en/CGI-completes-Logica-acquisition-new-leadership-team



Stephen Davis is a contracts and commercial manager with Logica (now part of CGI, UK based). Having worked in this capacity for over seven years, his career path spans BAE Systems, Fujitsu and Logica (now part of CGI).

"I've been fortunate enough to have some great experiences along the way and work with some great people, including pre-contract and post-contract work in both the UK and France. In whatever role I find myself, I aim to ensure that contract and commercial management is a central part of business decision making and really adds value both to business winning and how we execute delivery, working in partnerships with other functions."

TO CONTACT THE AUTHOR, please mail your question to info@iaccm.com or connect using the IACCM Member Search (login required)



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