The IACCM Global Collaborative Platform: Delivering The Power For Change (IACCM Profile)

Posted on September 15, 2008


“The International Association for Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM) is a non-profit foundation recognized as the international authority on the role of contracting and Commitment Management in the global networked economy.

A leader in research and innovative learning techniques, IACCM works with corporations, public and academic bodies to provide thought-leadership and understanding of “best practice” contracting and relationship standards.

IACCM defines organizational models and skills to ensure integrity, trust and the collaborative trading relationships that are necessary to support the continued development of the global economy.”  

From The IACCM web site(


If you are like most people, the wave of self-congratulatory rhetoric that floods the Internet has in many ways numbed the collective mindset.  Or as I had lamented in the September 5th lead-in story to today’s post, “truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance” – thank you Aldous Huxley.  As it turns out discernment has been reduced to an exercise of a been there, done that, heard it all before process.

This is a challenge that is faced by most organizations that attempt to reach out to a targeted audience.  But it has never been as acute a problem as it is today with association’s operating under the traditional membership model.  The issue of course is that in conjunction with decreasing numbers and an outdated mode of collaborative interaction, the majority of associations are vying for the attention of an increasingly demanding group of emerging professionals.

Placing too great an emphasis on their respective designations as the means of creating a path to an elevated income and an improved status within the corporate world, this tastes great-less filling debate has caused many supply chain related associations to lose sight of their place in the emerging global economy.  And in the process has reduced their value proposition to a mercenary type status i.e. our designation will boost your income more than the other guy’s.  No wonder the findings from a 2007 industry report indicated that recently graduated supply chain professionals spend on average just one and a half years in their first position before testing the waters of “increased riches.”  Further to this, the majority of professionals who attend my conferences believe that changing companies every two to three years is the best way to increase their earning power.  In one such example, a professional indicated that his income increased by more than 25% as a result of changing positions three times in the past six years.

What is interesting is that the vast majority of supply chain professionals are hard working, dedicated men and woman whose passionate edge for their craft is being blunted by the overly simplistic view that money alone, and not relationships is the decisive factor in joining a particular association.

Against this backdrop the IACCM tagline, “Join the leaders in making business relationships work,” acts as a beacon in the increasingly cynical darkness of muted expectations. 

A Passion, Not A Position Of Leadership

Rarely, if ever will I read the last few pages of a book to discover the ending.  The same usually goes for my interviews.  However, and in the instance of my session with Tim Cummins – founder of the IACCM, I will make an exception.  Specifically, I am  referring to his closing statement that it is the passion of the association’s team or “the love of what they do” that is the key to IACCM’s success.

Passion is certainly an important consideration in that it is an essential element for building the framework of collaborative efficiency.  And it is also the substance of the IACCM mandate and its ability to deliver tangible benefits to its membership.  (Note: IACCM draws its membership from more than 1,600 corporations and public sector organizations in over 90 countries and represents a community of contract and commercial managers, attorneys and supply management executives and professionals (Source: the IACCM Web Site).

Unlike a Hollywood movie set in which the outward facing facades are the most substantive elements, the basis for IACCM’s mandate goes back to its founder’s roots in 1995 (although the association was incorporated until 1999).  In short, and to coin a famous John Houseman phrase their membership thrives “because they earned it.”

This isn’t meant to suggest that other associations are somehow deficient in the sincerity of their commitment, nor does it imply that a reasonable portion of their membership is not being well served (at least in intent, if not entirely in practice).

What it does suggest is that waning interest and purported declines in membership numbers may reflect that a well intentioned, but often (mis)placed emphasis on increasing industry muscle (or the sphere of influence) is more of an isolationist process that a relational imperative.  And proficiency in relationships both within and external to the profession is the primary ingredient of the IACCM’s winning formula.    

Technology Is An Extension Of A Sound Collaborative Platform

Long before Web 2.0 and social networking became the catch phrases for effective interaction between interested stakeholders, Cummins’ association had already created the blueprint for effecive collaboration on a global basis.

The principles upon which the organization was built centered on the facilitation of progressive thinking that attempted to address the challenges member companies faced in terms of selling and delivering their respective solutions to customers around the world.  This vision, and its successful execution prompted Cummins to suggest that it is actually the tools themselves (re Web 2.0, 3.0 etc.) that are catching up with the IACCM and not the other way around.

Given IACCM’s success in core areas such as member satisfaction and perceived value as well as the association’s contribution to industry as a whole, it is hard to argue this point.

And while IACCM will leverage all of the latest tools to enhance these as well as other attributes of a successful program, they do not view the technology as the gateway to rediscovered relevancy.


For those of you who are part of my reagular readership, you already know that an important tenet of the Procurement Insights Sponsorship Program (which includes these profiles) is my total commitment to neutrality.  In assessing the viability of the IACCM value proposition, it will be up to you to determine how they may be of service to your organization.  And as is the case with all sponsors, I will direct you to the Sponsor Presentations section of the PI Blog to investigate their value proposition in greater detail, and at your own convenience.

The question of course remains, “why IACCM?”

The short answer is that it is for all intents and purposes already a social network in its own rights.  Even with a cursory visit to their site, it does not take one long to recognize the framework and substance of a dynamic hub in which a vast range of resources are readily available at the user’s/member’s fingertips.  And even though the forums lack the intuitive mechanisms of the semantic-based Web 3.0 or the soon to emerge Web 4.0 platforms, it is still a far cry from the static information booths of pedestrian-like association web sites.

Add into the equation the expansive resources with a global versus domestic perspective that have been accumulated since its inception in the mid-nineties, and you have the basis for providing both a remarkble and unique lens through which members can learn about and effectively adapt to the evolutionary nature of business on an international stage.

Web Resources:

Link to the IACCM web site:

Use the following link to learn more about our Sponsorship Program;

The Procurement Insights Blog reaches 300,000 syndicated subscribers each month worldwide, and is currently available in English, Chinese, Portugues and Russian with new language versions being added in the near future.

Posted in: Sponsor Profile