Negotiations have evolved beyond traditional conference room meetings. Technology’s impact on every facet of our lives is undeniable, and the realm of negotiation is no exception.
From virtual meetings to data analytics, information technology (IT) has reshaped how parties interact, exchange information, and reach agreements.
We’ll explore how digital tools streamline communication, enhance decision-making with real-time data insights, and even bridge geographical gaps. Whether you’re a seasoned negotiator or new to the game, you should understand the role of IT in negotiations and how it can affect strategy.
Get ready to uncover the synergy of bytes and bargains in a world where IT and negotiation meet.
Table of Contents
- How IT Is Integrated Into Negotiations
- What Is the Role of IT in Negotiations, and How Does Technology Impact Negotiations?
- The Role of Universal Digital Technology
- The Role of Negotiation-Focused Digital Tools
- Why Is Negotiation Software a Useful Tool?
- Does AI Technology Play a Role in Organizational Negotiations?
- The Maker Group: Giving You the Tools To Make IT Work to Your Advantage
How IT Is Integrated Into Negotiations
There are two ways of thinking about technology in the world of negotiation:
- Universal digital tools like email, smartphones, and video conferencing, that can make communication easier and reduce the number of in-person meetings required.
- Digital negotiation-specific tools that allow stakeholders to plan and execute negotiations with real-time information and historical data at their fingertips.
We’ll look at both types of technologies, their roles in negotiations, and their impact on the negotiation process.
What Is the Role of IT in Negotiations, and How Does Technology Impact Negotiations?
The Role of Universal Digital Technology
Negotiations are no longer reliant on face-to-face meetings. Modern technology has introduced several digital tools routinely used to cut costs and streamline negotiations:
- Internet access for information gathering: what once required weeks of research and multiple phone calls can now be completed in a fraction of the time.
- Email exchanges: stakeholders may initiate, progress, or even finalize a negotiation via email.
- Video and teleconferences: utilized to minimize the expenses and challenges associated with organizing in-person meetings.
- Document sharing: stakeholders can see contributions from everyone involved in real-time.
- Digital signatures: finalizing a negotiation can be completed almost immediately, reducing the risk of an agreement falling apart in the final hour.
- Business communication platforms: messaging software like Slack allows multiple people to communicate simultaneously in real-time.
For better or worse, technology — and the immediate access to information that it allows — has changed the way organizations prepare for and conduct negotiations of all scales. For many negotiations, more than half of the process may be complete before the parties involved even communicate.
How Negotiations May Be Affected by Universal Digital Tools
Although 96% of negotiators prefer in-person meetings, they all concede that email — and other technologies — have become a “primary medium” for their negotiations. With this shift to digital tools, it’s essential to understand how the transition may impact individuals and the negotiation process.
Visual and Social Cues
Except for video conferencing, most digital tools used during a negotiation remove the ability to read visual and social cues that may add to or undercut the communicated words.
This can be a positive and a negative for the negotiation process. On the one hand, stakeholders will focus more on the actual words being communicated and not be distracted by implicit bias and other misconceptions.
On the other hand, observing the body language of or witnessing a look exchanged between members on the opposite side of the negotiation can provide valuable information regarding underlying feelings about an agreement.
Attention, Empathy, & Trust
In a study on the impact of smart devices, researchers concluded in part that:
The permeable and fluid pervasive computing environments of our technological society and the array of behavioral demands they create … dramatically change the socio-physical context of face-to-face communication.
The use of technology can create a lack of attention and focus on our peers and counterparts. This lack of attention leads to a lack of empathy and difficulty building trust — which are often crucial components of the negotiation process.
The Role of Negotiation-Focused Digital Tools
Purpose-built, negotiation-focused tech solutions are few and far between. There aren’t many solutions to date that integrate technology and data into organizational negotiations — and not many organizations implement the solutions that do exist.
- Contract management software: digital tools specific to contract negotiation. This type of tool may not be suitable for helping organizations manage negotiations outside of contracts.
- Virtual negotiation training: workshops intended to provide an introduction to negotiation, establish negotiation foundations, and develop an edge in future negotiations.
- Holistic negotiation preparation and execution software: collaborate in real-time on a single platform that allows stakeholders to sort and rank variables, analyze negotiation capability, track progress, and more.
The Maker Group aims to help our clients achieve their negotiation objectives through consulting services and practical training with tech-focused solutions that improve collaboration and negotiation capabilities.
How Negotiations May Be Affected by Negotiation-Specific Digital Tools
Universal digital tools used for research and communication will forever be a part of the negotiation process. With this decline in face-to-face interaction, negotiation teams must explore and utilize technology designed to support the negotiation process.
Can Minimize Confusion and Human Error
Negotiation-specific digital tools are designed to remove the guesswork from the negotiation process. They provide step-by-step guidance backed by data and the psychology of negotiation for preparing, planning, and executing deals of all types.
With all historical data and deal-specific strategies available in one place, there is less room for confusion and human error. Instead of sifting through multiple drafts of agreements reviewing changes and additions from all involved parties, all of the work is completed in one place in real-time.
Perhaps most importantly, a holistic platform will help a negotiation team ensure that all parties adhere to agreements through deal compliance and tracking.
Improved Negotiation Capabilities
The ability to attend virtual negotiation training workshops can revolutionize the capabilities of a negotiation team.
Workshops typically allow attendees to hone individual and team negotiation skills through hands-on negotiation practice and consultant-led sessions.
Virtual training allows negotiation team members to practice their skills in an educational environment that will enable them to identify their strengths and pinpoint areas that need improvement.
Participants can also learn more about the psychology of human behavior to help make sense of actions and decisions and learn how to use that knowledge in their favor during future negotiations.
Why Is Negotiation Software a Useful Tool?
There is a lot of contract management software available for companies to use when negotiating contracts, but as we mentioned earlier, there is not a lot of negotiation-focused software available.
The Maker Connect Negotiation Management System (NMS) is our best-in-class negotiation planning tool built to fill this void.
Allows Stakeholders To Use Historical Data To Inform and Improve Negotiation Decisions
Large organizations are continuously bombarded with data. But there is often a lack of ability to parse data and make informed actionable decisions based on that data.
Companies pay millions of dollars to access real-time data streams, but they don’t always know how to action that data, so they aren’t getting as much out of it as possible.
With Maker Connect, we are getting granular with data and using it to help organizations inform their negotiation decisions.
Our negotiation software allows stakeholders to access and utilize data from previous negotiations to inform and prepare for negotiations in the future.
Data retention within the platform gives organizations access to their critical institutional knowledge for negotiations, including:
- Negotiated variables
- Offers and counteroffers
- Size and timing of concessions
- Final agreed-upon deal terms
All in one place, all the time.
Supports Collaboration and Alignment Across the Entire Organization
Negotiation software provides a platform for all internal areas of an organization — sales, finance, legal, marketing, and supply chain — to collaborate and operate from the same playbook.
Maker Connect allows all stakeholders access to the same historical data and can see the progress of every step of negotiation planning and execution. They can work with colleagues around the world with multi-party editing functionality.
Provides Unique Strategic Guidance for Every Deal
Unlike some platforms in the negotiation software arena, Maker Connect can provide insight to assist a negotiation team in planning and executing negotiations of all types.
Stakeholders can access organization-wide metrics and actionable information through every step of the negotiation process for all ongoing and completed negotiations.
With specific guidance for every unique deal, your negotiation teams will be able to see real-time feedback on the following:
- Perceived power states
- Incremental value created
- Negotiation confidence levels
Does AI Technology Play a Role in Organizational Negotiations?
Currently, AI plays a role in straightforward transactional negotiations — typically non-strategic tail-spend procurement negotiations. For example, since 2021, Walmart has been utilizing negotiation chatbots to connect with Walmart’s 100,000+ suppliers to assist with procurement contract negotiations. These chatbots now negotiate and close contracts with 68% of the suppliers they approach.
AI is years, maybe decades, away from taking the lead in complex, relationship-centric negotiations with high stakes. This means humans must keep developing and honing their negotiation skills and using technology like The Maker Connect Negotiation Management System to take a holistic approach to negotiation planning.
The Maker Group: Giving You the Tools To Make IT Work to Your Advantage
Aligning your team and effectively managing every negotiation from the planning stage through execution has never been easier with The Maker Framework and our proprietary technology Maker Connect.
Our goal is always to enhance perspectives around negotiation — helping our clients evolve into more confident and effective negotiators.
To achieve this goal, we have long supported a technological approach to negotiation and strive to incorporate technological advancements and integrations in our consulting and educational services.
Book a consultation today and start your organization on a journey to improving negotiation capabilities and driving profitability.