FSU Contracts: Frequently Asked Questions

What is changing?

Florida State University’s Office of Procurement Services’ is implementing updated contract administration processes and a new Contracts module within SpearMart. This is a change for the university that will mitigate University risk and create a consistent and efficient workflow for the authoring/drafting, routing, obtaining signatures, and management of contracts University-wide.  The Contracts module will also serve as the University’s central contract repository for all contracts (excluding grants* and personnel related agreements). Updated processes and workflow will allow FSU end users to track and manage their agreements in one location, with customized notifications and reporting on demand.  The entire process of executing and managing a contract, from cradle to grave, will be automated, faster, and more transparent. The addition of this program also allows more resources, training, and process improvement for our end users.

Why are we doing this?

Currently, the contract process varies across the University as there has not been a standardized process. Contracts are executed in various ways and with varying records keeping processes making reporting and transparency difficult. Additionally, approvals and signatures that are required are often not captured because the process is currently manual. By standardizing and streamlining the process, we are able to allow visibility into contracts University-wide which allows better contract review, faster and more efficient workflow, and potential cost savings. What was once a manual process with little to no reporting is fully automated and provides end users the ability to receive notifications on expiring contracts, for example and other features that make managing contracts easier. These changes will result in greater efficiencies and better management of contracts, not to mention a better tool for end users to use.

Which processes will be affected by this change?

All contract types are affected by this change, with the exception of grants* and personnel contracts. The processes of contract routing and approval, signature, and contract management will ultimately be impacted.

What is the timeline for this project? When will my department implement be trained on the new process?

We are hoping to roll out the module to all end users by the end of the 2019 calendar year. The updated policies supporting some of the changes are in the process of being implemented and so once they are approved a more formal timeline will be announced. The project rollout will be prioritized to be implemented in areas that have the highest number of contracts first.

What has been the reported impact so far?

The new workflow and repository processes utilizing the Contracts module have been part of a “soft rollout” to a few test end users who agreed to pilot the program. Generally, the feedback has been that the new process has provided a more streamlined approach to drafting, tracking, processing and submitting contracts. The cycle times are available for reporting and so far, the average turnaround time for a contract to make it through the entering and approval phase is less than one (1) day. The average time to capture a signature is less than two (2) days, for a total of less than three (3) days total for a contract to become executed. Users have also reported that the time it takes for a contract to be reviewed by bot the Offices of General Counsel and Procurement Services is significantly less as the process is more standardized and more efficient.

How will this affect me?

Overall, the new processes should decrease the time it takes to review and execute a contract and also provide a system for reporting, notifications, and tracking of contract actions. When the module and the new processes are fully operational, all end users will reap the benefits of a fully automated and transparent process. We anticipate that end users will have a less confusing and more efficient way of tracking their contracts from cradle to grave. Additionally, Procurement Services will be able to use the centralized information to provide better overall University-wide contracts and savings to our customers.

Will we be able to reach the Contracts module remotely or via an app?

Yes, if you are traveling or working from home, you can access SpearMart through your web browser on your PC, tablet, or smart phone.

Will end users get to weigh in on the changes?

Yes! During the soft rollout phase where we had a select number of end users pilot the system in advance we were able to make changes to enhance the module. As we continue the more formal rollout we are hoping to continue to gain feedback from our end users on how the module can meet their needs in a better way and anticipate updates. A Contract Administration Forum is being created to continuously gain feedback from our customers on the services we provide so please let us know if you are interested. Contact the Contract Administrator if you would like more information!

Will there be training sessions?

Yes! As soon as the policies and processes are finalized, we will begin the formal University-wide training and rollout. The project timeline and detailed information will be available on the Contracts website. We will have in-person and web-based training options available.

Will there be a “practice module” that could be utilized for training purposes?

Yes. A “test site” has been developed and it can be accessed during training sessions to allow users to gain familiarity and knowledge of the module.

Should I be doing anything now to prepare for the upcoming change(s)?

Please watch for future announcements about the formal rollout and project timeline. End users should start thinking about their internal contract processes, contract inventories, and contract types or templates that are used. All of this information will be needed as the rollout reaches your unit.

Will “testers” be utilized from the University to ensure the module and new processes are working as intended?

Yes. In fact, University staff have already started testing the new module and processes.

Where do I go to find the most current information about the project?

Please visit the project website at https://procurement.fsu.edu/contractsor by emailing contracts@fsu.edu.