By Jeremy Holt; Jeremy Newton; Sarah Ellacott; Andrew Katz; Jean Morgan; All authors
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Extra info for A Manager's Guide to IT Law
I) Make sure that you know exactly what you want and what is achievable because if you do not know, then you are not going to get the contract right. ) ii) Make sure that all the prospective suppliers sign a confidentiality agreement with you. If you are going to give them a detailed functional specification of what you want and information about your business you do not want there to be any question of that confidential information being obtained by your competitors. iii) Beware of falling into the trap of entering into a contract before you intend to.
Instead of debating abstract concepts like ‘consequential loss’, suppliers and clients alike should focus on the specific risks associated with the particular system. The client will generally accept that the supplier has a legitimate concern about exposure to unspecified types of liability, but the kinds of loss that will flow from a breach of an IT supply contract can be classified, at least in general terms: ● loss of cost or salary savings, or other expected benefits; ● costs of repairing or replacing the defective system; 23 A Manager’s Guide to IT Law ● costs of additional IT staff and consultants required to make the system work; ● loss of profits resulting from non-performance; ● costs of wasted management time; These categories of loss are not intended to be definitive: there is no ‘definitive list’ as such, and each client and supplier will have its own specific concerns.
The failure to include such clauses was a frequent weakness of early SLAs. Migration is critically important in relation to facilities management contracts and, as a rule of thumb, a year is generally allowed for this. The supplier should also be required to provide all reasonable assistance to the client with the migration to another system. 11 A Manager’s Guide to IT Law APPENDIX: MAIN POINTS OF AN I T CONTRACT Read this on its own if you have not got enough time to read the rest of this chapter.