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Our Contracting Excellence Journal editor recently interviewed Beatriz Antona1 about her unique story spanning her career choices and how each one took her to brighter destinations – and she just keeps going!

  1. Beatriz, why did you decide to develop your career within conract management (CM) and what still “retains” you in CM after several years?

I am a very proactive and curious person, who is always ready to learn and do something new.

I stepped out from my previous inhouse Legal counsel job years ago. By that time, as a lawyer, I felt like I had been wearing a corset limiting my mobility. At that time my expected career growth as a lawyer was mostly to stay as a specialized advisor and become a General Counsel. But this was not for me.

True, I was really fascinated by the business “ins” and “outs,” but I had to seek alternative ways to contribute to the business success with my background, and contract management became a possibility, because I was easily attracted by the challenges and opportunities that CM jobs provide.

The diversity of activities that can be performed (from pre- to post-sales), the broadness of CM scope of work (an interesting mixture of risk/bid/project/financial/contractual management), and the way CM allowed me to penetrate closer and closer into the business operations -- like governance, relationship management, etc. And this is the “why” and the “what” of my choice first, because of the opportunities to further develop my skills and make a positive impact into the business, and second, because I still learn everyday something new, and that keeps me engaged.

  1. As Group Head of Contract Management what is on your focus/radar now?

I would say EVERYTHING ! We are living in a complex socio-economic environment especially when you consider events like post covid recovery; lack of microchip supply; significant increase in transportation costs; not to mention international political tension in fields like energy or environment, etc.

And all of this is impacting and driving corporate decisions, so all of it is on my radar. In particular, within my smaller perimeter of direct action, I am paying special attention to the following:

  • Digitalization. It is a core topic considered from a strategy and budget perspective. I am exploring ways to lever technologies and make CM more valuable and work more efficiently. This covers a wide range of options. As examples: chatbots provide first level guidance to business stakeholders; Robotic Process Automation (RPA) automates some of the legacy manual tasks of our processes; Artificial Intelligence (AI) models used in discovery and analytics functionalities save time in due diligences and data and document analysis.

Digitalization is framing what the CM job will be in the years to come. It is more focused on value added complex work and relationship management, and less focused on processes and methodologies.

  • Talent retention. CM today is a service delivered by professionals, and competition is strong these days to attract and retain talented professionals. The value of CM and the return of investment (ROI) to the business is directly linked to the quality of the professionals delivering it. We all want to hire CMs who possess the right skillsets and who can navigate through the business complexities to generate a positive impact.

  • Change Management. Change is present all over the world! Resilience and Agility are the keys to success. We need to fight the resistance to change and push a culture of continued change management so that it becomes the new normal way of doing business and managing contracts. For that, we need open minded CM teams focusing on the action (“what´s next?”), not on questioning that action (“why do we need this change now?”).

  • Learning, Learning and Learning! CM professionals need to be up to date to continue being business relevant. As information technology (IT) suppliers, we contract managers support our customers in their business transformation into new models of economy, that are formalized and contracted in innovative ways (such as relational contracting and outcome-based agreements about which World Commerce & Contracting (WC&C) is talking quite a bit these days).

This is a great context for learning in many subjects -- from Intellectual property in the complex net of technology developments with open source -- to business offerings “as a service” and licensing regimes -- to the critical compliance regulations regarding security. Consider, for example, the revised Directive on Security of Network and Information Systems (NIS 2 Directive)2 to come soon. We must make the critical effort to watch out, learn and get up to speed.

  1. Why do you believe legal is a good home for the CM practice?

I do not think the success or failure of a CM organization depends on the unit to which it belongs, but the “hosting” unit can most definitively be a good lever to boost success.

At Atos we are part of what we call “the Legal Family” which has certain advantages for us. Having the headcount together under the same leadership creates synergies and smooths cross collaboration. This allows CM to contribute to the development of legal policies and guidelines and helps CMs directly access the most relevant information on both compliance and regulatory issues, all of which are increasingly becoming important into our operations.

  1. How do you see the future of contracting and the contribution the CM role adds to it?

Contracting operations flowing with the support of technology will become increasingly transactional, simple, and efficient because we will be moving away from manual tasks, steps and processes. Within IT, we already see how the new “as a service” contracting business models are greatly improving the complex legacy and lengthy outsourcing and infrastructure contracts.

The contribution of CM in the future contracting cycle will be more focused on strategy and relationship management, helping us set up and manage relationships-based ecosystems, partners and broader alliances and their joint collaborations. Also, we must pay attention to sharing business models, governance, and regulatory and compliance.

  1. What would you tell a CM new joiner, someone who is starting his or her career in CM?

Congratulations, you made the right choice! Developing into the CM job you will be equipped with a broad range of knowledge and skills that will help you learn, enjoy, and succeed in your career progress.

END NOTES

  1. Beatriz Antona, author of the CEJ article titled Think Human, Think Green published in the CEJ August 2, 2019.

  2. Reference article explaining NIS 2 Directive

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Beatriz Antona is a regular contributor to World Commerce & Contracting.

events and publications. She is a proactive and enthusiastic professional with law and economics background and extended expertise in the field of Contract Management particularly in the IT Industry. Since 2013 she has been Group Head of Contract Management with Atos and has previous experience working for Accenture and various law firms.

ABOUT ATOS

Atos is a Societas Europaea (SE) with main headquarters in France, listed on the CAC40 Paris stock index. The Group is a global leader in digital transformation, European number one in Cloud, Cybersecurity and High-Performance Computing. Atos is the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic & Paralympic Games.  Atos operates worldwide under the brands Atos, Atos-Syntel, Atos Consulting, Atos Healthcare, Atos Worldgrid, Bull, Canopy, Unify and Worldline.

 

Beatriz Antona, Group Head of Contract Management - LCM, Atos


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