With all the energy surrounding the Federal Government’s announcement yesterday about forming its own company to facilitate the new National Broadband roll-out its a good time to remember some common traps in IT, Internet Service and Telco contracts.
1. Up-time guarantees – far better to state what history has shown to be the up-time than make promises, that for any number of reasons beyond your control you are simply not able to keep.
2. Trouble shooting response times – a wise man once said to me, “under promise and over deliver“. No technology user expects that any system (no matter how good or expensive it is) will never break. However, the business leaders of your customer will have a clear memory of assurances that were made to them about how quickly problems would be fixed. An off-the-cuff sales pitch may cost you dearly.
3. Offer what you “have”, not what you “might have”– the temptation in an industry that moves so rapidly is to sell what I call, “vapor-ware” rather than “software” and solutions that have already been developed and tested. You think to yourself, we developed the last upgrade in two months, let’s promise what the next version will deliver and we’ll use this contract to pay for the development. Sober reflection will remind you that upgrade paths never move in straight fully predicable lines. If part of what you are delivering is “developmental”, say so.
For these and many other good commercial reasons, it is a great idea to have our IT, Technology, IP and eLaw savvy lawyers look over your intended IT, Internet Service (ISP) or Telco contract before you sign it.