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9/22/2004
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DiCarta Unveils Contract-Management Software Upgrade

New version interfaces with ERP and procurement apps, simplifying contract processes.

Contract-management software vendor diCarta Inc. this week will take the wraps off the newest version of diCarta Contracts, which offers features such as universal contract coverage, proposal management, in-bound fax scanning and processing, and improved Microsoft Word integration.

DiCarta Contracts, used by companies such as ConocoPhillips and Kohler Co. for more than five years, was created with large companies in mind, diCarta CEO Mike Kaul says. The software drives contracts into multiple enterprise-resource-planning systems and provides prebuilt integration adapters. It then synchronizes procurement, supply-chain, and other transaction systems with contract information. The latest version of diCarta Contracts was designed to fit the needs of even larger companies, Kaul says.

Version 6 of the software has the ability to manage externally generated contracts created by outside suppliers and customers. Improved integration with Microsoft allows for external negotiations through Microsoft Word, as well as desktop integration with Microsoft Word 2000, XP, and 2003. Self-service contract creation has been added, letting companies embed diCarta Contracts icons and functionality into existing operational systems. Version 6 also has proposal-management capabilities, which automate the proposal process, as well as other contract processes such as contract requests, amendments, change orders, renewals, terminations, and consolidations. Pricing for diCarta Contracts ranges from $250,000 to $2 million, depending on the scope of the implementation.

Ineffective management of supplier contracts costs companies about $153 billion per year, according to research from Aberdeen Group, an IT market-analysis firm.

AMR Research analyst Pierre Mitchell adds that many companies lose money each year because of lack of compliance with corporate contracts, mainly because companies haven't digitized their contracts and tend to store them manually, Mitchell says. He points out that automation is important because it provides contract visibility and better tracking of corporate agreements. "It's the visibility and hooking it into the execution of the purchasing systems or the sales-orders systems that really drives the compliance against these negotiated agreements," Mitchell says.

Mitchell adds that software-suite vendors are starting to work on contract-management modules, but the pure-play vendors are the ones getting the most traction in the market.

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