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MB0049 - Q2. What are the different phases of contract management?

Answer: Contract management or contract administration is the management of contracts made with customers, vendors, partners, or employees. Contract management includes negotiating the terms and conditions in contracts and ensuring compliance with the terms and conditions, as well as documenting and agreeing on any changes or amendments that may arise during its
implementation or execution. It can be summarized as the process of systematically and efficiently managing contract creation, execution, and analysis for the purpose of maximizing financial and operational performance and minimizing risk.

Common commercial contracts include employment letters, sales invoices, purchase orders, and utility contracts. Complex contracts are often necessary for construction projects, goods or services that are highly regulated, goods or services with detailed technical specifications, intellectual property (IP) agreements, and international trade.

A study has found that for "42% of enterprises...the top driver for improvements in the management of contracts is the pressure to better assess and mitigate risks" and additionally,"nearly 65% of enterprises report that contract lifecycle management (CLM) has improved exposure to financial and legal risk."
There may be occasions where what is agreed in a contract needs to be changed later on. A number of bases may be used to support a subsequent change, so that the whole contract remains enforceable under the new arrangement.
A change may be based on:
  • A mutual agreement of both parties to vary the contract, outside the framework of the existing contract. This would be an independent basis for changing the contract.
  • A unilateral decision to vary the contract, contemplated and allowed for by the existing contract. This would normally have notice periods for fairness and often the right of the other, especially in consumer contracts, to cease the contractual relationship. Be careful that any one-way imposition of change is contractually justified, otherwise it may be interpreted as a repudiation of the original contract, enabling the other party to terminate the contract and seek damages.
  • A bilateral decision to vary the contracting, within the variation or change control process outlined in the existing contract. These are often called change control provisions.

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