After conducting a thorough diagnostic analysis that included campus interviews and focus groups, conversations with contract administrators at other universities and an in-depth look at data provided by the Office of Legal Affairs, the Contract Administration Initiative committee found opportunities for improvement in the following areas:
• Contract initiators from across campus experience frustration with the contract administration process, specifically citing delays, confusion over roles and lack of transparency in both processes and policies as key areas to be addressed.
• The median number of days to close a contract has fallen in recent years, but nearly half of all contracts in FY14 still required more than a month to be closed.
• The current contracts administration process requires many handoffs, eroding accountability along the way and thereby increasing risk for the University.
• Many trivial tasks fall to the Office of Legal Affairs that could be done by others, undermining utilization of their unique skills and scarce time.
To address these issues, the committee has identified these priorities going forward:
1. Create a new, transparent process for contract administration.
2. Increase standardization throughout the contract administration system.
3. Establish contract leads for each unit of the University.
4. Clarify roles and accountability at each stage of the process.
As the committee begins creating solutions, it will start by designing a detailed contract administration plan that addresses process flow, decision rights, policy updates, roles and responsibilities, and training and communication materials. The committee is also in the process of creating an RFI (Request for Information) for contract administration tracking systems and identifying criteria by which prospective systems will be evaluated and ultimately selected.