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By LegalEdge News

How to ensure your tech project isn’t delayed by contract negotiations


Are you overhauling your tech stack, integrating AI, data analytics tools, and/ or other SaaS / software, and/ or migrating to the cloud? 

Rob Kinder, our experienced tech & SaaS lawyer explains how to avoid the common contracting pitfalls that can delay projects like this.

Is the project swamping your legal team?

Most businesses regularly upgrade/ go through digital transformation to keep pace with technological changes. And the associated legal work for agreeing the contracts can be long and complex – which means internal legal resources (which are typically lean anyway) can quickly get swamped. In-house lawyers can find themselves working full-time on such projects whilst trying to carry on with their day-to-day work.  This can lead to longer turnaround times, an increased chance of their work being compromised or missing something key (either for the project or the BAU), and probably an exhausted and demotivated legal team too.  

Do your in-house procurement and legal teams have the right skills? 

If you’re not a tech business (eg FMCG/ retail, professional services, manufacturing, transport, engineering), your procurement and legal teams may not have had a lot of experience negotiating with technology vendors. Bringing in experienced help to make sure all the relevant issues are addressed efficiently therefore often makes good business sense. As well as enabling the in-house teams to focus on their day jobs. 

Law firm v. in-house lawyers

You need to add to the in-house legal team, ie with lawyers that have been in-house in tech companies, so you can throw them in with minimal handover, and they have enough clout to negotiate on your behalf and get deals done. Law firm lawyers are not usually best placed to help with this as they are specialists in their area of the law, can be impractical/ uncommercial, and are unlikely to be cost effective. 

Case Study: a successful global tech transformation project

Rob recently helped a multinational Automotive business with a lengthy a global tech transformation project. This involved migrating multiple systems to the cloud, integrating several new SaaS solutions, and implementing AI-enabled products to enhance operational efficiency.

Challenges

The project faced several challenges, including:

  • Complex vendor landscape: the company had to engage with numerous technology vendors, each with different contractual terms and negotiation styles.
  • Resource constraints: the in-house legal team was already stretched thin, making it difficult to dedicate sufficient time to the project.
  • Need for experienced help: the in-house procurement team lacked experience in tech-related negotiations, particularly around SaaS and AI products.

Working with the procurement team, as an extension to the in-house legal team, Rob supported with:

  • Drafting procurement contract templates – developing standardised templates that could be quickly adapted for different vendors, ensuring consistency and reducing the time required for contract preparation and negotiations.
  • Scoring vendor responses – creating a robust scoring system to evaluate vendor proposals, focusing on critical factors such as compliance, cost-effectiveness, and technical capabilities.
  • Leading vendor negotiations with multiple vendors – leveraging our SaaS experience to secure favourable terms and mitigate potential risks.
  • Collaborating with the business to meet their needs – working with key business stakeholders, including IT, finance, and operations, to ensure that the contracts met specific needs and strategic objectives.

The company successfully migrated systems, integrated new solutions, and implemented AI tools without major disruption. This hands-on approach helped the project to be completed efficiently and effectively, demonstrating the value of having experienced in-house advisors.

How we can help

We work with in-house legal teams that need additional support to get a project done, on a flexible basis, without adding to headcount. Working as part of your team or behind the scenes, whatever works best for you. We help prioritise, find solutions and get it done. 

To find out how we can help make sure your tech transformation procurement goes to plan, get in touch on info@legaledge.co.uk

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