Stories by Stuart van Rij

Legal insight: The wrong development contract

If your project is agile, and your contract isn’t, you may be signing up for a major dispute, writes Stuart van Rij of Wigley & Company.

Written by Stuart van Rij22 April 14 22:07

Manage to advantage

In those frantic days leading up to the execution of a large software implementation deal, there is frequently a trade-off between getting a contract “right” and getting it “done”. In particular, there is inevitably a pressure to cut corners early on to achieve internal or supplier-driven deadlines.
Our experience in numerous projects shows many of these trade-offs could have been avoided if the wider issues and risks in the deal had been worked through earlier. We repeatedly see lost opportunities for greater wins — such as more services or flexibility — for the same or less price, when a little more time and focus could make a real difference.

Written by Stuart van Rij13 April 11 22:00

Implementing ERP

ERP implementations are complex, expensive and prone to failure. As Thomas Wailgum notes, “ERP projects have only a 7 percent chance of coming in on time, most certainly will cost more than estimated, and very likely will deliver very unsatisfying results” (See “Why ERP is still so hard” ).
And yet, these ERP solutions still play an essential part in many businesses.

Written by Stuart van Rij13 Oct. 09 22:00

No schedule is an island

Every now and then a case comes along that is a timely reminder of the dangers of preparing statements of work and schedules in isolation from the rest of the agreement.
Earlier this year in the UK, retail chain Marks & Spencer was caught out when a slip up in a schedule cost the company a year’s worth of maintenance fees.

Written by Stuart van Rij30 June 09 22:00

Service provider security

Just how secure is your service provider? A report this year found that business partners are behind over a third of all data breaches (see the 2008 Data Breach Investigations Report at This was highlighted by a recent embarrassment in the UK when a contractor’s memory stick full of user names and passwords was found in a pub car park, potentially exposing the personal details of 12 million users of an online government services portal.
What can you do on the legal front to help protect your sensitive data and stem potential bad press? While only part of the solution, it is critical to get decent security provisions in your contracts with service providers. If you don’t, key responsibilities may fall between the cracks and you may be unduly exposed if there is a security breach.

Written by Stuart van Rij01 Dec. 08 22:00

Relationship enhancing contracts

Getting the relationship outcomes right in ICT service arrangements is critical. But how can the contract and negotiations advance these outcomes?
The pressures, gaming and arguments that often feature in finalising an ICT agreement can risk compromising a critical relationship from the get-go. If the relationship gets off on the wrong foot, it can threaten the long-term success of the engagement.

Written by Stuart van Rij06 July 08 22:00

Virtually exposed

If you’re a CIO, chances are you have either just finished implementing a virtual server environment, or are thinking about it. By all accounts more and more businesses are taking the leap to virtualisation. With the benefits of server consolidation, along with the enhanced flexibility and business continuity that virtualisation offers, it’s no surprise.
However, what might surprise is that despite the advances in virtualisation technology, many applications targeted for migration to a virtual environment are encumbered with licence and support terms that have not caught up with the technology.

Written by Stuart van Rij08 April 08 22:00

New IP guidelines

If there’s one issue that often creates confusion and bogs down negotiations, it’s who should own the intellectual property created in an ICT deal and how it should be licensed. In the past, many public sector agencies have been too quick to insist that they should own any new IP.
The State Services Commission has recently produced the ‘Guidelines for Treatment of Intellectual Property Rights in ICT Contracts’. These provide much needed guidance as to when agencies should seek to own the new IP that’s created under many of their ICT contracts.

Written by Stuart van Rij02 Feb. 08 22:00

Capping liability

“So, what should the cap on liability be?”
This is a common question for all who have been involved in negotiating an IT or telecommunications agreement. Getting to that magical figure can often resemble a shot-from-the-hip instead of something that has been carefully considered and negotiated.

Written by Stuart van Rij17 Oct. 07 21:00

Service-level blunders

Service levels are ubiquitous in the ICT industry. However, many service levels are riddled with problems that can be landmines in the path of a successful customer-supplier relationship. The last thing you want is deficient service levels for your SaaS (Software as a Service) or hosted solution, which could land you in disputes or require additional dollars to get the service you thought you were entitled to.
Set out below are six service-level blunders to be avoided at the outset.

Written by Stuart van Rij03 Aug. 07 22:00

Fine-print finesse

“Our ERP solution is the best thing since sliced bread” was CIO Steve Smith’s lingering impression after reading the vendor’s proposal for the $2 million ERP system that was to be rolled out in his company’s hardware retail stores. However, when Steve looked at the warranty in the licence agreement he couldn’t help but wonder whether the vendor would actually stand behind their software. There seemed to be a disconnect between the sales pitch and the fine print for this mission critical system.
Although Steve was signing up to a support contract, he still wanted to make sure he wasn’t going to pay support fees for any problems that should be fixed for free under the warranty.

Written by Stuart van Rij04 July 07 22:00

The price of predictability

Fixed-price contracts are indeed a persuasive means of obtaining price certainty in ICT projects. There's nothing better than knowing in advance the numbers to plug into the business case or budget. However, there are limitations to the fixed-price model that can cause a project to become unstuck. Consider the following:

Written by Stuart van Rij27 March 07 20:44