There is a lot more to a good contract than just a dotted line to sign on. And there is a lot of information that a specialist IT contract requires which traditional contracts don’t. Here are some of the most important aspects that your IT contract should cover.
What is going to be delivered.
This is the meat of any service contract. What it is that is being created and delivered to the client. However, it is vital that your contract lists not just a service that is delivered, but ways to measure whether the client is getting out of it what they actually need. No business wants a piece of software for the software’s sake – the software is a tool to solve a problem. So contracts need provisions for testing and assessment to see if the product is meeting the requirements set out.
At the end of the day, who owns what? Intellectual property in the IT realm is like layers on an onion. The base of a software solution may belong to one or more parties, but customisations could belong to another (or could also have layers of ownership). A contract must lay out who owns which parts of both the deliverable and the documentation. At the end of the scoping phase of a project, can the client decide to take that document to a different supplier if they get a better quote, or does the documentation belong to the supplier? A contract with robust provisions around intellectual property can limit any problems if a business and a supplier butt heads.
A contract should not just cover the activity of one party. The client will need to meet some obligations to make sure that the project runs as smoothly as possible. A contract might lay out provisions for the client putting together an effective project team, getting data ready for migration to a new format, or making sure that documentation is approved and passed on in a timely manner.
A project may not just include the customer and the main supplier. There could be contractors and other minor suppliers who need to be part of any agreement signed. Dealing with multiple parties for multiple parts of a project has all the potential for stalling progress and causing changes, and a robust contract makes sure all parties know what they need to deliver by when.
There are many other important aspects that a contract needs to cover including confidentiality, change requests, warranties, liability and of course, payment. Fortunately, with an IT Contract Template all these are covered in detail, and if a section is not needed they can just be removed. Businesses embarking on an IT project should make sure that their contract covers all the necessities that these specialist projects require.
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