With constant developments in technology and the applications of technology, the need for clear IT and software agreements has never been greater.
It always surprises me, therefore, that so many people fall back on good relationships and well-intentioned promises as they enthusiastically embrace the implementation of IT solutions.

I can’t stress enough the importance of pausing and taking sufficient time to ensure you have a solid contract in place that has been independently reviewed. In the long-run it really can save a lot of time, money and frustration.

The key with IT and software agreements is to clearly define the scope of your contract. Does it relate to the development or provision of software, websites and IT services? What are the obligations of both provider and customer?

As IT projects unfold it is all too easy for requirements to shift and goalposts to move, which can put IT providers in a difficult position and leave customers feeling short changed. By setting out the specification for what is to be delivered at the outset, expectations can be clarified and potential disputes avoided.

It is also important to consider how your investment in technology can be protected. What ongoing assistance will you require from your provider in terms of maintenance or source code escrow arrangements to protect you should the software supplier go out of business or discontinue support for the software you purchase?

Finally, one of the principal considerations will invariably be intellectual property rights. If new software is being created or software changed, who will own the copyright and what licences are required? Careful thought needs to be given to issues arising from whether the rights in question are being licensed, developed or transferred.

Implementing new IT and software solutions can be enormously beneficial to businesses, but the expense can be considerable, as can the risks, which is why my advice would always be to have a proper IT and software agreement drawn up or, if you are presented with an agreement, to arrange for a commercial solicitor to review it for you. A solicitor acting on your behalf will ensure the agreement meets your needs and protects your interests.

If you need help with IT and software agreements, call our commercial solicitors on 01782 205000 or email enquiry@beswicks.com