In a recent Pinhawk Law Librarian Digest (an email subscription service) there was a mention of an article by Susannah Tredwell.  The article, Negotiating Contracts: Not Fun, But Necessary provided a brief synopsis of Tredwell’s takeaways from a 2014 SLA Annual Conference presentation.

It reminded me of an article that summarized a 2015 Session sponsored by the SLA Legal Divison, Working Together is Success: A Vendor Relationship Revolution.  This program provided by Kris Martin of HBR Consulting  and Jamie Marie Keller Aschbach was summarized by Victoria North of Kirkland & Ellis in the SLA Legal Division Docket.

North breaks down Martin’s D.A.T.A. approach to contract negotiation and renegotiation.  That renegotiation term is pretty important, librarians are rarely starting completely new with many of their vendors.

The four stages of negotiation are:

Discovery
Analysis
Transform
Approach

At Discovery stage you should be collecting all the qualitative data relating to the contract including costs and usage.

At Analysis stage you need to  extract the really useful data that you are going to be able to use in the negotiation.

Transforming the data means presenting it in a compelling fashion.

The Approach stage is when you consider what your goal is for the negotiation outcome, who is going to be included in the meeting, what questions will be asked.

Using data to leverage all negotiations, with new vendors and established vendors, can help buyers find a way to gain an advantage that diminishes the need to rob Peter to pay Paul to keep necessary resources.

Of course, there is much more to the negotiation process. North’s article should definitely be reviewed to get more details from Martin’s perspective. Perhaps the D.A.T.A. approach is right for you too.

Constance Ard
January 5, 2015