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How IT leaders can negotiate a SaaS partner contract

John Moore | July 11, 2012
All companies great and small will eventually work with a SaaS provider. In most cases, the standard contract should suffice, but CIOs will never know what they can add (or subtract) if they don't ask.

SaaS Vendor Contract Management Now Standard Operating Procedure

Once SaaS terms are accepted, the next chore becomes vendor and contract management.

"Once an organization has done all the hard work of negotiating suitable contract terms and conditions, it can be easy to sit back and think that their job is done," Trappler says. "Unfortunately, that's when the real work begins."

Trappler says any organization or business unit that adopts a cloud computing solution needs to establish and/or identify the IT vendor management staff resources needed to ensure that the cloud vendor continues to fulfill the obligations stated in the contract.

Keep in mind that management may fall under a couple of business functions or formal programs dedicated to minding contracts.

D'sa says larger companies may need to establish contract management programs; for smaller firms, it is not a huge issue. For companies under 250 employees, he adds, SaaS contracts are generally overseen by the organization's IT and finance groups, with speed of deployment without serious impact to business process being of primary importance.

Aruba Networks, a network access systems vendor, approaches SaaS contracting primarily through the business function that has driven the selection process and decision, says Chris Leach, director of technical training at Aruba.

"Our IT and purchasing departments assist in the selection and supplier vetting process, and our legal department helps to evaluate terms and broker negotiations if needed," he says, adding that Aruba is in the process of developing a standardized vendor management program.


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