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Outsourcing Technology Services – how a lawyer can make a difference

Cape Town - December 26, 2019

Being a Corporate Lawyer and working with international clients brings with it an array of colourful experiences, especially when the legal work being provided evolves around some aspect of Technology Law, which is constantly changing.

In 2018, I represented a client who was a bespoke Software Developer specialising in providing turnkey solutions for his customers. I was hired to develop an Outsourcing Software Services Agreement for his business. My client wanted to utilise the services of an offshore vendor to streamline their in-house Information Technology (IT) services as a means to cutting down on costs, thereby allowing for more time and funds to be spent on developing software systems.

Outsourcing business services and human resources to IT vendors can be tricky when the parties originate from different jurisdictions. In my client’s case, my client was in the United Kingdom while the offshore vendor was in South Africa. Therefore, it was imperative that the governing law of the Outsourcing Software Services Agreement be established from the onset to ensure that the applicable regulatory and statutory provisions are taken into consideration. In this instance, it was decided that the United Kingdom was preferable mainly due to the country having a stronger data protection act and it being my client’s business operation hub.

After the necessary preliminary work was concluded and the drafting process started, open communication was kept with the client at all stages of the development of the agreement to ensure that the client’s needs were always being met. Once the final draft was complete, both my client and the vendor signed the agreement within days and have been in business together since.

It is worth to point out that my client’s goal has been attained thanks to the sound knowledge I had of the client's business, that is to say: the services the company provides; the ownership of any Intellectual Property which is being created or shared with a third party; safekeeping confidential information; knowledge of existing data and security policies; any licensing agreements the business may have in place; and the client’s main concerns when venturing into the outsourcing market. The aforementioned factors all assist in establishing how the client’s business works and ensuring that the best solution is provided to meet the client’s needs.

Indeed, getting the most information out of the client at the start saves time for both the client and the lawyer, allowing for pertinent details to be weaved in when developing the agreement. Add to this, the provision of a top-notch personable service while listening to the client’s needs, all makes for a happy client and an even happier lawyer!

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries on Technology Law!

Dr. Rushmina Murtuza