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TECHNOLOGY, OUTSOURCING, AND COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS
NEWS FOR LAWYERS AND SOURCING PROFESSIONALS

In the wake of the reinvigorated call for equality and greater diversity and inclusion, many companies—largely through their procurement organizations—are taking the opportunity to revisit their diversity supplier programs, including assessing impact and reevaluating best practices for pursuing supplier diversity and tracking the impact of these programs.

Most major companies include a supplier diversity program or mission statement as part of their procurement guidelines, often highlighting such programs on their external supplier portals. Some companies flow these guidelines down to their vendors in large procurement/services contracts, requiring compliance by such vendors with respect to their subcontractors.

In an ideal outsourcing relationship, technology transformation through innovation, continuous improvement, and future project work is never really “over.” When documenting an initial transformation program and individual project statements of work, however, there are typically specific end dates in mind to achieve the desired outcomes. But defining when transformation is “done” is not as simple as agreeing on the end date or even the final deliverable.

Earlier this month, we discussed the significance of the transformation workstream in outsourcing transactions and outlined important topics and points to consider when documenting the overall transformation methodology exhibit. Depending on the scope and timing of the transformation, there may be a need to document individual projects in separate statements of work or project schedules.

Transformation is often a critical component of outsourcing and managed services transactions. The transition of core or non-core functions to a third-party provider can provide an opportunity for the customer to leverage the service provider’s expertise and experience to transform its underlying systems to more modernized and flexible technology. For instance, a customer running a business platform on old mainframe technology may want to move off the mainframe to a cloud solution that enables the customer to better respond to market needs and offer enhanced services and products to its clients.

Please join us for our first webinar of the year where Morgan Lewis partner Barbara Melby will discuss the top trends that will impact the outsourcing market in 2020. Topics will include:

  • Forecasts of where the outsourcing market is going
  • Outsourcing as a way to disrupt business operations
  • The impact of cloud, automation, and AI on outsourcing transactions
  • A look at the “Partner Ecosystem”
  • Focus on customer experience and outcomes

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, January 15, 2020, from 12:00 to 1:00 pm (Eastern Time). Register for the webinar.

You signed a long-term deal. It would be embarrassing if, in a few years after signing, the pricing is significantly higher or your service levels are significantly lower than market. Benchmarking provisions are intended to provide a mechanism for ensuring that your pricing and/or service levels are within market (taking into consideration the unique factors applicable to your deal). Set out below are some of the key components of a meaningful benchmarking provision.

In this contract corner, we consider the concepts of “good faith” in commercial contracts under English law.

The General Position Under English Law

The notion of good faith is a complex and evolving concept under English law, and it has important implications for those drafting commercial contracts. In contrast to many other civil (e.g., France and Germany) and common (e.g., United States and Australia) law jurisdictions, there is no general doctrine of good faith either in negotiating or in performing a contract. Instead, parties are free to pursue their own self-interests, so long as they do not act in breach of contract. However, the notion of good faith can still impact commercial contracts in three main ways:

We have all heard the horror stories: system implementation deals costing 300% more than the original budget, go-live dates for development projects being way past the scheduled dates, and deliverables that do not meet the customer’s expectations. These are the stories that keep us lawyers up at night. So what can we do in the contract to incent timely, on-budget performance by the vendor? First, there is no substitute for a detailed and well-thought-out requirements document, which provides the roadmap that shapes the design, build, and deployment. Then, while there is no magic bullet, there are numerous contractual mechanisms to be considered that are designed to provide guideposts and checkpoints to enable success.

Set out below are 10 contractual mechanisms for providing meaningful performance commitments and consequences if the commitments are not met. Maybe you will not need to invoke these mechanisms, but having firm rules may help drive good behavior (you know the old adage, “good fences make good neighbors”). As is always the case, the appropriate mechanisms to be used are deal specific, and not all deals or relationships require the full spectrum of contractual commitments set out below (but some do!).

Please join us for the next installment of the Morgan Lewis Automotive Hour Webinar series.

This webinar will be hosted by Rahul Kapoor, a partner in our Silicon Valley/San Francisco offices, Robert W. Dickey, a partner in our New York office, Daniel S. Savrin, a partner in our Boston office, and is the latest in a 10-part series covering a variety of topics related to clients in the automotive industry. This session will focus on the impact of automotive joint ventures and alliance issues on the automotive industry.

Complexity in sourcing transactions relates to the interdependence between the parties executing a program. However, “complexity” can be a surprisingly nuanced concept whose meaning can vary under different circumstances. Here are a couple of these nuances.

What Is Complexity?

If you are buying a physical product, the transaction is not truly “complex” if it can be described completely in the contract, although the product itself may be complicated. For example, a rocket ship is a complicated product, but with specifications that can (and probably should) be described in perfect detail, there is no requirement for an overly complicated contract structure, and the relationship between the parties may not be complex. Contrast this with an engagement that involves business process redesign accompanied by software development and implementation like an enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation, or a large-scale robotic process automation (RPA) initiative. Although the contract can specify the desired result, in many cases the results will depend on both parties working together to realize that result. This interdependency makes the relationship complex and requires a more nuanced procurement and contracting process.