Two steps toward contract efficiency – reduce the number of approvals and get e-signatures

A post on the blog of Emptoris relates some of the comments made by Steve Harmon, Cisco’s Senior Director of Legal Services at the Emptoris Empower 2010 conference. I highlight two points.

“As a best practice, Harmon emphasized the importance of streamlining the number of approvals necessary for contract implementation, noting that his department had managed to reduce the number of required approvals in some cases from as many as forty to as few as seven.” Most of those approvals must be on the business side, not within the legal department, so this is a good example of moving beyond your function’s boundary to improve efficiency. It is “end-to-end” process improvement.

Harmon also “reported on the success Cisco has achieved by focusing on the use of e-signatures, which he described as a ‘low hanging fruit’ overlooked by most organizations. In addition to helping to expedite processes – a factor that can have a tremendous impact on operational efficiency – e-signatures are actually much stronger than physical signatures in terms of making it difficult for vendors to repudiate agreements.” That electronic signatures speed up contracting is obvious, that legal benefits flow from it was subtle.

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