5 Tips for Successful Contract Negotiation


A successful software implementation project starts at the beginning of the negotiation phase. If anything goes wrong, and sometimes even when it all goes right, the software agreement will dictate how costs are determined and specific situations are handled. Though it can be painful and daunting, negotiating a good agreement is a critical part of any software decision. Take the time to do it right and it will yield real payback.

There are a number of areas where software agreements can fail. Here’s a list of five tips to help you avoid the common pitfalls of contract negotiation.

  1. Engage in detailed planning before committing to a project plan, including defining the buyer’s and vendor’s responsibilities.
  2. Use legal counsel specializing in intellectual property (IP) law.
  3. Understand what is and is not negotiable (and what might be negotiable).
  4. Document modifications as part of the services agreement so you can avoid misunderstandings about desired features and unexpected costs.
  5. Avoid signing agreements prematurely, without completing due diligence, in order to get a discount.

While these are all important elements, knowing what to focus on in a given situation takes expertise and experience. Legal support is a must and needs to come from a reputable lawyer with specific experience in this area. Understanding the technology elements is just as important. What are you trying to do with the software? When do you need support? Is there a firm commitment on implementation resources? And it goes on.

Make sure that you commit to giving yourself the time and resources to negotiate the best agreement, and don’t be afraid to call a third party advisor to help you navigate what may be untraveled territory.

Ready to learn more about how your organization can navigate a successful software implementation project? Contact Hartman today to speak to our experts and schedule a free consultation.

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