The IT vendor management specialist is responsible for managing the contract life cycle, which includes changes, modifications, and enforcement of performance clauses, including incentives and remedies. The IT vendor contract manager acts as the key contact and subject-matter expert for all contract-related and tender activities. This includes assisting with negotiating contract terms, conditions, modifications, incentives, and remedies, while working with key stakeholders to ensure that their requirements are met. Additionally, this position manages the contract execution process, resolving problems, mitigating delays, assisting with audits, mediating disputes, and escalating issues.
Vendor Contract Process Development
• Work alongside procurement colleagues to assist with developing statements of work (SOWs) and understand any current requests for information (RFIs), requests for quotation (RFQs), and requests for
proposal (RFPs) that are in the pipeline.
• Establish contract management objectives, procedures, templates, and workflow processes for vendor contracts and deliverable schedules. Maintain a contract management database that contains all
executed contracts, as well as contracts that are under development but are not yet active. Moreover, track obligations, deliverables, and contract change notes. Manage and control access to documents as
• Work with legal representatives to develop and insert appropriate legal protections in contracts, as warranted.
• Work with all teams (security, compliance and tax, HR, accounts payable [AP], etc.) to ensure that vendors are performing in accordance with existing requirements and regulatory obligations.
• Develop a knowledgebase of negotiating strategies, best practices, and negotiation personnel and teams. Make improvements to processes, procedures, workflow, and organizational structures for contract
• Administer commercial and financial arrangements with vendors to include billing, invoicing, performance incentives and remedies, and internal chargebacks, where appropriate.
• Work with vendors and key stakeholders to establish clear contract change control processes.
Vendor Relationship Management
• Develop strong relationships with IT managers, business owners, and IT procurement. This will help to support enterprise objectives, influence key stakeholders (CIO, CFO, CTO, etc.), and jointly develop
strategic sourcing strategies.
• Establish governance to be applied, particularly during the contracting process. This will identify and limit points of contact for vendors, and clarify rights of authority for decision making.
• Handle internal contract-related complaints or disagreements from the business or other internal stakeholders.
Vendor Contract and Market Insight
• Understand relevant market trends and vendors. Track, gather, and analyze market and industry data.
• Effectively communicate a clear and concise contract overview (summary of key contract terms, risks, opportunities, and service delivery guidelines) to key stakeholders, and provide clarity on contract elements when required.
• Be responsible for ensuring that pricing is competitive by commissioning benchmarks as needed during the lifetime of the deal.
• Manage contract review meetings to ensure delivery against objectives and contract budgets. Develop regular reports on contract milestones, execution, and risk, and inform internal customers, vendors, and
management of activities and progress through regular written and verbal communication.
• Minimum of five years’ experience with negotiating and managing contract life cycles, with an emphasis on technology or IT service agreements.
• Experience in managing large complex contracts in one or more IT categories, including hardware, software, service, and communication.
• Strong interpersonal and communication skills.
• Experience working with all key departments (security, compliance, finance, tax, AP, legal and procurement), and knowledge of procurement and vendor management practices and certifications (CIPS, ITIL, and COBIT).
• ITIL experience desired, but not required.
• Knowledge of IT concepts and systems.
Required Knowledge and Skills
• Able to determine contractual and financial exposure and negotiate contracts.
• Able to participate in the development of the asset management mission, goals, and objectives.
• Knowledge of contracting trends, licensing models, and traditional and emerging contract and vendor performance models.
• Deep market knowledge of the category of IT vendor for which the contract manager is responsible.
• Strong project and process management skills, with the ability to handle multiple vendors and multiple contracts, as well as a wide range of tasks.
• Able to understand contract risks and to work with other parts of the organization in crafting tactics and strategies for risk mitigation.
• Knowledge of best practices for IT contract negotiation tactics and strategies.
• Able to structure bids, evaluate bids against a broad set of evaluation criteria, and provide recommendations for vendor selection.
• Where applicable, understanding of government and industry regulations that will influence contracting approach and vendor behavior (for example, FINRA for financial institutions, and U.S. Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act [HIPAA] for healthcare organizations).
• Strong ability to communicate with IT users, legal and procurement staff, and business leaders to craft contracts that align complex needs with contractual requirements to achieve business outcomes.
• Customer-focused approach to delivering contract management services to internal customers.
• Strong relationship and interpersonal skills to be applied in working with vendors across the entire contract life cycle.
• Able to distinguish what is required versus what is “nice to have.”
• Able to manage conflicting stakeholder needs and wants.
Key Behaviors and Competencies
The successful candidate for this role will possess the necessary competencies to:
• Bridge communications between the IT and business organizations, with a focus on developing an understanding of how to structure contracts to deliver against business needs and goals.
• Protect the enterprise’s interests, comply with applicable regulations, and mitigate risks, assembling the appropriate set of clauses and schedules, without hampering delivery methodologies and processes.
• Leverage interpersonal relationship strengths to manage disputes and drive change in vendor behaviors, and create a working environment where vendors receive incentives to change behaviors and meet
• Adopt an analytical approach to problem solving, with a focus on managing tasks with appropriate urgency in a results-oriented team environment.
• Manage multiple complex contracting initiatives across organizational boundaries.
• Make decisions efficiently that add value and are achieved in what can be tight time frames.
• Communicate with clarity to internal and external stakeholders and with vendors.
• Use technology and tools effectively in managing the contract life cycle.
• Create a customer-focused, service-based approach to working with stakeholders and vendors that emphasizes the creation and cultivation of cross-organizational relationships.
• Analyze and evaluate change to drive continuous improvement in the process of contract management, and incorporate contract management trends.
Potential candidates for this position are IT procurement, contract administrators, and IT asset managers. Many business managers, IT managers, and knowledge specialists – as well as procurement or purchasing managers and agents, and inventory managers and agents – will also make the transition successfully. They may come from a similar position in a different industry or a vendor position in sales, marketing, or service delivery.
• A bachelor’s degree is typically required, preferably in an analytical field (such as general business, economics, psychology, computer science, mathematics, statistics or finance).