Negotiating License Terms - IT Help Desk & Customer Service Software

Negotiating License Terms - IT Help Desk & Customer Service Software
Whitepaper Series: Avoid Mistakes When Buying Any Software or Cloud Services
This whitepaper is part of a series to help avoid mistakes that even the most senior and experienced professionals make that cost companies a lot of time and money. Now, learn to approach the software and cloud services buying process in a much more rigorous and analytical manner.

Key Point: Negotiating License Terms

  • Negotiate a discount now for future major upgrades of traditional software licenses.
  • What happens if stop paying annual maintenance?
  • Integrate an arbitration clause; inexpensive means of recourse.
  • SLAs for technical product support & reports to measure SLA compliance.
  • Clear documentation of termination clauses, contract lengths, discounts & hidden fees.
  • Post implementation customization/configuration costs; who pays for what?
  • What is considered routine technical support vs. professional service fees?

Negotiating License Terms - IT Help Desk & Customer Service Software

Here are important questions to ask and some key contract terms to negotiate into your software license agreement:
"What is exactly included in annual software maintenance? Will we receive new major releases or just bug fixes and minor enhancements? Can you please show us exactly where this is documented in your Software License Agreement?"
"We know that in a few years we may have to purchase a new major release. We would like to lock in a significant discount now for that release, since we will have to repurchase the application and probably have to do a new implementation."
"Of course, we hope that we do not have to do this, but my company may want to cut costs in the future by not paying for annual software maintenance. Our CFO is concerned about commitments for ongoing fees."
"Can we stop paying software maintenance any time we want but continue to use the software licenses? Do we need a license key from you each year? What happens if we stop paying annual software maintenance, and then we want to start paying again to obtain support? Do we have to "back pay" all of the software maintenance fees for which we did not previously pay?"
"What happens if our companies have a disagreement about roles and responsibilities? What is your dispute resolution process? Does it include an arbitration clause in your Software License Agreements, or will we have to pursue litigation as our only recourse? What is your track record with respect to litigation and customers? How many customers have sued your company, and what were the outcomes? Did these disputes go to court? How were they settled?"
"Does your company provide contract-mandated respond and resolve Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for product support? If so, how can we measure if your company is meeting or exceeding these SLAs? Can we terminate our contract if your company does not meet these support SLAs? Is there a clause in your contract to allow termination for material breach of support SLAs?"
"How do I get support? Do I have to send an email, open a web request or can I call your company and speak with a live person? What are your standard support hours? Do you offer extended support hours for evenings, weekend and other non-USA regions? What are support costs?"
"If we have a support issue that requires some reconfiguration, does your company charge professional services fees for this work, or is it covered under routine support?"
"We will learn a lot about your product during the first six months. If we want additional customization and configuration work after the initial deployment, will your company charge professional service fees? Is this covered under routine support?"
"Do you offer a Service level Agreement (SLA) for uptime? What is it? Is it included in the cost, or is there an additional charge for providing an SLA for uptime? Is there a financial penalty for downtime? How do we apply for credits? What is your history of uptime? Can I obtain a copy of the uptime Service Level Agreement to review?"
"Do you measure and monitor application responsiveness on an ongoing basis? Your service may not be down, but how do I know if it will be responsive and usable? Do you provide a Service Level Agreement for application responsiveness? If so, what is it?"

Giva White Papers - Tough Questions to Ask Vendors

Giva has three white papers that will help you ask the right questions to more quickly qualify and evaluate and software or cloud vendor and specifically customer service and IT help desk software vendors. A software vendor is like a spouse--while "dating," it is better to understand what life may be like after the "honeymoon." Ask these questions early in your qualification process to focus on the vendors that will be there for you long and after they have your company's money. Use these questions to poke and prod at your list of vendors, and then listen very carefully when they speak. What you learn will save you a great deal of time and money. Make sure to get their responses in writing!

Part 1 - Tough Questions to Better Qualify Any Software or Cloud Vendor

This white paper discusses ten groups of penetrating questions to ask any software or cloud vendor (for example, Customer Service and IT Help Desk) to help make a more rigorous and objective comparison.
Some topics covered include:
  • What if my company is dissatisfied?
  • What if my company finds better technology?
  • Deployment "out-of-box" vs. time and cost of customization/configuration
  • Preparing and comparing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of all alternatives
  • Most overlooked critical fine print in software maintenance agreements
  • Vendor product roadmaps and commitment
  • What are the costs for post-implementation customization/configuration?
  • What qualifies as routine technical support vs. professional services fees?
  • Using uptime and support service level agreements to manage our relationship
  • Termination clauses, contract term commitments, discounts and hidden fees

Part 2 - Tough Questions to Better Qualify Any Cloud Vendor

This white paper discusses ten groups of penetrating questions to ask any cloud vendor (for example, Customer Service and IT Help Desk) to help make a more rigorous and objective comparison.
Some topics covered include:
  • Using uptime and support service level agreements to manage our relationship
  • How to qualify the reliability and security of a data center; SSAE 18 (formally SAS 70 & SSAE 16), Trustwave PCI Certification and SysTrust Compliance
  • Access to your data and rights in the cloud
  • Source code escrow rights and responsibilities
  • Termination clauses, contract term commitments, discounts and hidden fees
  • What if my company is dissatisfied?
  • What if my company finds better technology?
  • Deployment "out-of-box" vs. time and cost of customization/configuration
  • Preparing and comparing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of all alternatives
  • Most overlooked critical fine print in software maintenance agreements
  • Vendor product roadmaps and commitment
  • What are the costs for post-implementation customization/configuration?
  • What qualifies as routine technical support vs. professional services fees?

Part 3 - More Tough Questions to Better Qualify Any Software or Cloud Vendor

This white paper discusses ten more groups of penetrating questions to ask any software or cloud vendor (for example, Customer Service and IT Help Desk) to help make a more rigorous and objective comparison.
Some topics covered include:
  • What happens if we have a disagreement? Mediation/arbitration or litigation?
  • What are the costs of additional modules and licenses purchased in the future?
  • What are license options for part-time usage?
  • Are customer case studies with business results achieved available?
  • Are your customer references compensated in any way?
  • How will our future feature requirements be obtained?
  • Will we have an Account Manager (i.e. one neck to squeeze)?
  • Are thirty-day supported production trials available without obligation?
  • How many new releases are provided per year?