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Formerly a China Law and Business Blog–Now a Techie General Counsel's Musings

Looking for Sanity in SaaS Contracts (Part 5 of 5)

Just some closing thoughts as I wind down this article.

Ante Up

If you’re going to be purchasing a serious SaaS or cloud service, chances are that there are going to be significant implementation costs and investment on your side.  IT departments and executives seem to believe that a move to the cloud will be a magical reduction in IT resources and personnel.  This may be the case for the long term, but in the short term, implementing SaaS solutions can be actually very resource intensive.

A sidebar to Mr. Classen’s article highlights the case of the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR): IBM won an RFP to consolidate 27 state agency data centers into two.  Things fell apart and both sides blaming each other.  The article’s sidebar cautions that there is a need to careful planning and making sure both sides understand the agreement.  I personally don’t buy that.  I am willing to bet that the DIR was the main cause of the flub because they assumed that things would work smoothly and IBM would do everything.

After watching enterprise and SaaS implementations, I can tell you: it’s not that simple.  If you’re buying more straightforward SaaS services like BaseCamp, sure.  But if you’ve ever done a salesforce.com enterprise edition implementation, then you know you will need an implementation consultant, some in-house expertise and resources, and/or likely both.

So when you are going to sign a contract with a SaaS or cloud service, you need to have your skin in the game or you’re going to get burned.  (Of course, I would also advise to choose a vendor which can successfully implement you…  not something I can say about Vindicia’s competitor frankly…)  It’s a two way street.

Conclusion

This blog post series was part informational, part training, part expectation setting, and slightly a rant as well.  I hope this was helpful and that you learned something.  With all of these in mind, you won’t get riled up that this is one of those scary SaaS or cloud contracts.

Any questions?  Feel free to comment.

Update: our competitor complained about my post linking even though hundreds of lawyers read this and had absolutely no problems with what I wrote.  However, I’ll oblige them by removing damaging links.  

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A bit about me

Thomas Chow is a seasoned executive with 20 years of experience in technology, legal services, and startup companies. A former China law and business blogger, he is currently General Counsel & Secretary at PubMatic, a digital advertising platform providing automation technology for publishers and programmatic tools for media buyers.  He still enjoys a good chat about all things Chinese.

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