Category Archives: partnership

Keeping Track of Your Stuff is Easy with a Good CMS

D.C. Toedt over at On Technology Contracts posted a recent article about keeping track of Insurance Certificates.  He relays a great story about the importance of asking for them, but more importantly, being able to produce them when needed.

This is such a simple thing to do when you have a good Contract Management System.  It’s merely another document you’d upload and track.  Heck, Novatus Contracts even allows you to create event notifications for certificate renewals.  Need to remember to ask that it’s expiring?  No problem – the system will automatically send the alert to the vendor (you can get cc’d if you wish) asking for a new one.  It’ll even take it one step further.  If you don’t “close out” the event after a certain date (such as when you receive the new certificate), you can re-route the alert to you (or whomever is in charge of managing that vendor) for handling.

Of course, this is also available for any other supporting documents you want to include or for any other trackable metrics (milestone due dates, payment dates, etc).

But you have to have a system that can handle it.  What would you rather have: the mild expense of a good contract management system?  Or the exhorbitant expense of an unexpected and uncovered personal injury claim?  Yeah, I thought so.  Tell Novatus I sent you or request information here.

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Baseline Partnership Announced

As others have been, I’m very interested in technologies which can improve the lives of contract negotiators, purchasing managers and other folks engaged in the process of contract review. Dozens of software packages have been released in the last few years which purport to help ease that process. I’ve played with many of them – most end up being focused on document assembly. What I’ve been looking for is a tool that helps when I’ve got a non-standard agreement and want to quickly compare it to my standard preferred language.

This is usually a highly choreographed event. I start with needing a 22″ monitor so I can see two documents side-by-side at 100%+ size (my eyes are getting old). Then, with the proposed agreement on the left and my template language on the right, I systematically move through the proposed agreement and bounce around my template to find the matching sections. I read the proposed language, consider its phrasing, see what can be kept and how I can make my preferred language work without appearing to bloody up the proposed agreement too badly. I redline the proposed agreement accordingly and then turn it back around to the other side. Depending on the length of the agreement, font size and other issues, I typically move at a pace of about 4-8 pages per hour for the complete process.

When I first heard about Baseline, I was skeptical. Baseline Solutions advertises it as a document review and knowledge management tool. You upload your preferred language (the baseline information) and then you can bounce any other proposed agreement off your preferences. The software uses proprietary algorithms to review the wording and match the sections. It looks for common phrasing but also appears to recognize intent. Frankly, I’m not sure how it works, but it does.

After a few seconds, the system returns to me a Word document with track changes turned on showing changes to the document corresponding to my preferred language. The result is that the first review of my prior two-documents-on-the-screen-at-the-same-time exercise is accomplished in a few seconds. The basic review is complete – now I can spend my valuable time reviewing the unique contract issues. I’ve just saved time and produced a better document.

In the first iteration, Baseline was focused exclusively on NDAs, as they’re seen to be the most static of standard agreements. But the newly released Baseline product tackles software licenses and services agreements as well. Added into the product now are two new features, both of which Licensinghandbook is proud to participate. Several sections of the Software Licensing Handbook are available as a Knowledgebase within Baseline. This is like Pop-Up Video for your contract. See a section you’ve never heard of or don’t know why it’s there? The Knowledgebase is there to explain.

Over the years, many folks have asked for my template software license agreement. I’m reluctant to hand it out – it’s not only the product of a decade of refinement, but it’s also detailed enough that failure to use it properly could result in problems. Baseline uses template language as the reference point for comparison, so in a first for Licensinghandbook, I have agreed to allow Baseline to use my template software license language as a template against which customers can bounce their proposed agreements.

Please join me in welcoming Baseline Solutions to the contract management marketplace!

[Disclaimer: My partnership with Baseline provides me revenue based on the use of the Software Licensing Handbook Knowledgebase or the Licensinghandbook Software License Agreement.]

Novatus Contracts Summer 2009 Promotion

I just received notice that Novatus has created a promotional pricing offer valid from June 1 to September 30, 2009, which includes low-cost licensing options, rapid deployment and pay-as-you-go licensing – no commitments required.  Released in light of the current global economic condition and Novatus’ desire to address prospective client’s budgetary requirements, the best contract management system just became easier to adopt.  To learn more, contact me here (select Novatus from the drop-down menu).

About Novatus, Inc.
Novatus delivers contract, compliance and supplier management software via On-Demand SaaS delivery and On-Premises installation. With a focus on customer driven requirements, mobility and integration, Novatus provides the right fit for companies seeking a proven provider with superior technology who offers cost efficient applications and rapid deployment. Novatus was founded in 2008 by well-respected and globally recognized contract and supply chain industry leaders and is comprised of domain experts who have been top tier software and services providers since the contract management space formed and evolved into a recognized software category and formal discipline throughout the last decade.

Announcing a New Partnership with Novatus

I am very pleased to announce the creation of a new partnership with Novatus Contract Management Systems.  The simple truth is that contract management systems aren’t a fad – they’re a necessity.  If you’re going to get one, then, I would suggest getting one that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.  I’ve been waiting several years to finally find a system (and a company) that I feel truly delivers on the promises they make regarding their system and provides a product that is best for managing my deals. [Disclosure:  I receive compensation for referrals who actually make a purchase.  Clicking on the links in this article are NOT revenue generating.]

CMS’s are currently enjoying a new life in the procurement and sales contract team arsenals these days.  I don’t think it’s a lack of understanding about their value – from being able to do internal metrics tracking to providing increased value to your clients, a contract management system is a must-have for anyone handling more than one contract per month.  The barriers to adoption have been any combination of installation, scalability, ease-of-use or, as usual, price.

Novatus solves all of them.  First, Novatus comes in different flavors to accommodate anyone’s IT infrastruture – offered both as an in-house and a SaaS solution.  For environments which mandate all in-house solutions (or even if you’re a bit skittish about your data living off-site), you can have a local installation of the Novatus system completed by their expert professional services staff.  On the other hand, if you don’t want to manage the perceived in-house headaches or ongoing system management tasks, the SaaS solution is right for you.

Scalability is equally simple.  You can start with a small number of users and ramp up based on need and on internal adoption without batting an eye.  What’s even better is that the system is at full-power from the first user on the system – no crippled versions or limits exist simply because you’re not a large installation.

Ease of Use sometimes seems like it should be a given in today’s software world.  But what most people discover with even long-time applications is that it’s not the basic functionality that’s hard to use, it’s everything else.  This is the reason why most people don’t use more than about 10 main functions of their word processing application and leave everything else undiscovered.  Wanting to not only be the “hairclub president, but also a client”, I asked for a full version of the system so that I could manage my own contracts.  From the point where I got the e-mail notification of my login credentials to the point where I had all of my contracts in the system and the various options configured the way I wanted them to look only took me about a day (I don’t have that many contracts, so most of the time was spent doing minor configuration tweaking).  Out of the box, this product just plain works – and it’s easy to customize to your specific needs.

Oh yeah… price.  In the many years that I’ve been advocating the implementation of contract management systems, the biggest barrier, especially for organizations with an underdeveloped contracting team, is ALWAYS price.  No one wants to risk buying a lot of access only to discover that the application has no value or that no one wants to use it.  Novatus solves this problem by simplifying the user access model (there are only 2 classes of user – the ones that can enter data and the ones who can just look).  You can start your system off with as few a number of users as you possibily could want (yes, just 1 full access user can get you going).  Combined with the SaaS model, there is virtually no risk to building your system and adding more users as you gain internal traction based on demonstrable evidence of the system’s value.

If you’re in the market for a new or replacement CMS, visit Novatus and tell ’em Jeff sent ya’.  Or contact me (or them) for more information.