The Art of the Technology Contract

Campbell, Jo
August 2004
Tech & Learning;Aug2004, Vol. 25 Issue 1, p7
This article presents tips for coming to terms with vendors in the computer industry. Vendors usually issue the same boilerplate contract to their customers, with a few minor alterations such as district name and number of school sites. Retain a technology attorney to work through one major contract together. When negotiating a district's student management system contract, it is suggested to turn to a lawyer who specializes in tech issues. According to the author, if you are using a Web-based application service provider, guarantee in writing that your data is backed up regularly and will be made available, along with the software code, if the vendor goes out of business or is sold. It may be expensive for a district to maintain the code, but at least you'll have an option. Boilerplate contracts typically stipulate any legal actions and proceedings must occur in the vendor's home state. Since you'd rather have a jury of community members hearing your claim, include a provision that ensures any legal cases are tried in state. Advice on adjusting billing terms was given. To guarantee success, it is wise to negotiate 10 percent of the payment will be held back until the software is fully implemented, not simply installed.


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