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Is Your Organization Taking Pole Position in ICT Contracting?
13 Apr 2017 Over the past years customer organizations launching new ICT projects have become increasingly accustomed to offering their own ICT project or procurement contract templates as part of the RFPs (Request for Proposal). Lately, however, e.g. the cloud services suppliers have been somewhat more reluctant to accept customer contracts as a starting position for the negotiations. In fact, the cloud service suppliers have increasingly insisted and pushed for using their own standard cloud services contracts. This battle-of-forms situation leads to a question: Are cloud services so different when compared to the more traditional ICT services and on premise –licensing? Does the mere fact that customer wishes to procure a cloud services solution entitle the supplier to adopt a take-it-or-leave-it bargaining position? Things are never black-and-white; however, from customer's perspective a short-sighted acceptance of supplier's standard terms "as is" without using any real negotiation effort is definitely a risky approach. If your organization is procuring several types of different ICT services and solutions simultaneously, you would be better of to have the possibility to effectively compare and evaluate different suppliers' offerings also from contractual risk management perspective. Using your own contract structure and contractual documentation also makes it easier for you to protect your organization from contractual pitfalls. It also enables you to align the multi-vendor co-operation and related service level agreements of the suppliers in an effective way. So how can you as a customer manage the tendering and negotiation process in a manner that takes your organization to the pole position in this battle-of-forms race? First, certainly you must have your own organization aligned and ready for the battle. Your ICT procurement and sourcing teams should have adopted clear processes and contractual documentation for inviting tenders for the ICT projects. Ideally, at least a term sheet of the key legal provisions should be attached to your RFP. Secondly, you need to have the right line-up in place for the negotiations. Your dream team should possess adequate knowledge of the relevant business requirements within your organization, the necessary ICT sourcing expertise as well as experienced legal skills. Thirdly, as a customer you should embrace the race mode in the negotiations. Having at least 2-3 actual suppliers taking part to the tendering competition is the key. There are far too many examples of situations where one supplier has been 'given a project' before finalizing the contract negotiations. This type of approach is like trying to win a formula one race with a punctured tyre – challenging to say the least. Effective ICT contracting may require a change in perspective and a new approach, however, this transformation project within your organization certainly pays off in the end. The reasonable price tag on better contractual documentation saves your company from many troubles and costs down the line in ICT projects. Be ready and eager to take your pole position!  
New Perspectives on Assets and Services in the Era of Technology Revolution
2 Dec 2016 Today's companies are faced with limitless possibilities and massive challenges in developing their businesses to survive in the years to come. Digitalization, cloud services, Internet of Things, social media, inventive mobile solutions and novel applications are driving a myriad of successful and revolutionary businesses in all industry verticals. To meet the clients' evolving needs in the unchartered waters of the technology revolution, it is a must-win for legal advisors to embrace technology themselves and develop an in-depth understanding of what the clients are actually going through. The ownership of traditional physical assets such as equipment, facilities and real property are quickly becoming less and less important. Smart use of assets like business data, customer databases, innovations and other intangible property has become the real lifeline of businesses.A wide spectrum of disruptive technologies is challenging not only the traditional business models but also the legitimacy of the established legal and regulatory framework. The new global business models do not always recognize or respect the legal boundaries of the local territories and legislators in different jurisdictions are trying to keep up the pace in this constant change with varying results. Intangible Assets as Game Changers On November 1, 2016 we hosted a D&I Seminar on "New Digital Innovations in the Era of Technology Revolution". We had a full house of corporate legal counsels present from the largest Finnish listed companies, all eager to participate in the discussion with our men in black, the three heads of our uniquely integrated Technology, Data Protection and Intellectual Property practice groups. Our team on stage brought forward their insights on customer data and data protection aspects, technology-affiliated contracts, trade secrets and IPR issues relating to the new digital business models that end up on the corporate counsels' desks. In addition, Kai Holkeri of D&I's Tax & Structuring practice participated through offering analysis on e.g. the choices to be made regarding ideal location of the client's data assets as a part of a holistic intangible asset portfolio. A solid and well-thought-out corporate structure is an invaluable business asset in itself, while it also protects against costly international tax disputes. Thinking ahead, a successful risk-mitigating opportunity approach requires one to step out of any and all legal silos and look at the matter at hand with a comprehensive, multidisciplinary legal mindset. "It's all about our clients' ideas and our ability to offer holistic solutions withstanding the test of time." - Jukka Lång Key Insights presented at the seminar: 1Data has considerable economic value. Plan and structure your organization's agreements and processes so that you can maximize its value. Make data a part of your plan in corporate restructuring. 2Trust in contracts can be grounded on a reliable third party or on a trusted transparent system. Technology maturity and introduction of new systems should be evaluated carefully. 3Digitalization changes the way agreements are drafted and their structures. Lawyers should be ready for the changes and they should understand how they affect the business environment. 4Prepare yourself for disruption. By investing in the protection, management and defence of your intangible assets you have an advantage in the inevitable changes to your firm's operational environment. 5Take advantage of the increasing compliance obligations as tools to drive your business goals.  
New Partner Kai Erlund
3 May 2016 Leading Technology Expert Kai Erlund joined Dittmar & Indrenius partnership in March 2016 to become the new Head of Technology & Outsourcing practice. Q: Where Will You Be Taking Our Technology & Outsourcing Practice Within the Next Two Years? What I envisage is that, in the next two years, the Technology & Outsourcing practice will raise its profile significantly. I want to see us advising a growing number of big name clients, including listed companies, on their business-critical software and information system projects as well as outsourcing activities. At the moment, some may consider us as a first rate challenger but, in the next two years, we want to be considered as a leading practice in this field by knowing clients. I am confident that with my extensive experience on both sides of the table on large-scale IT projects representing both suppliers and customers in the private and public sectors, combined with D&I's uniquely integrated Data Protection, IT and IPR services, we will be delivering a clear advantage and beneficial advice to our clients. "An excellent understanding of this area and a very solution-oriented way of working. He has the client's best interests in mind at all times." - CHAMBERS EUROPE Q: What's Keeping You Busy Right Now? Our world is becoming increasingly digital and, across all areas of business, the importance of legal counsel in the area of practice I represent is rising rapidly. At the moment I am working on outsourcing arrangements and several projects where clients are replacing their legacy IT systems with new better performing systems and cloud solutions. I also anticipate that there will be growing demand for legal advise involving agile projects in addition to more traditional waterfall projects. "Displays very good industry knowledge and flexibility" - THE LEGAL 500 Q: What Is Good Customer Experience Made of? We are in the business of trust and professionalism. I personally believe that trust is something that can be established very quickly but only if you are able to deliver expert input and clear solutions serving the clients' needs. Let me put it this way; if you compare the client to an ice hockey coach (a sport that I love), the coach needs to be able to trust his players enough and know that they will not only posses the skills needed to play smartly but that they also have the guts to throw themselves in front of a flying puck where needed. In a similar fashion an experienced attorney can be a game changer for the client in its demanding business challenges and negotiations. "Strong experience and knowledge, especially in licensing-related cases. Offers invaluable help when negotiating with other companies." - CHAMBERS EUROPE Listen Kai's Spotify-list for an All-Nighter at the Office: Kai Erlund is a leading and highly regarded expert within technology, media and telecommunications law. He advises listed companies, private enterprises and other corporate clients in the procurement of business critical ICT systems and services. He also supports ICT suppliers and customers in their outsourcing arrangements, project agreements and licensing contracts. Kai was a member of the working group assembled by the Central Chamber of Commerce of Finland to draft the Finnish IT2010 and IT2015 standard contract terms and conditions. Prior to joining Dittmar & Indrenius in 2016 Kai has had an extensive career working for leading Finnish law firms and as in-house counsel e.g. for Oracle in Finland and Symantec in the UK.

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