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

In April, we shared a LawFlash Outsourcing and Managed Services Agreements During COVID-19: Our Perspective. With the continued and unprecedented impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on business operations, we thought it would be timely to provide a brief update on five top-of-mind issues that we are addressing with outsourcing and managed services clients.

Remote Working

  • Many outsourcing and managed services agreements include strict requirements on the location of personnel, including the location of certain personnel onsite at a customer site and/or the location of offshore personnel at secure delivery centers with no permitted remote working. These physical location restrictions often are coupled with requirements with respect to the type of technology that can be used when connecting to or accessing the customer’s systems or interacting with end users (such as hardened desktops only, no personal devices), security requirements and detailed connectivity and bandwidth requirements (particularly if there are end user facing activities such as call centers).

In cloud services, whether it is infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), or software as a service (SaaS), service availability is often a significant customer concern because the customer is relying on the vendor to provide and manage the infrastructure and related components that are necessary to provide the services. To address this concern, vendors will often provide a Service Level Agreement (SLA) containing a commitment that the service will be available for a percentage of time (e.g., 99.9%) during a certain period (e.g., week, month, or quarter). This is often referred to as an uptime or availability commitment. When reviewing and negotiating an SLA with an uptime commitment, it is important to consider the following issues.

Uptime Percentage

Given the different types of cloud services and how those services are used, there is no standard uptime commitment provided by vendors. Rather, uptime commitments can range from 99.999% to 97% or even lower. It is also not uncommon for vendors to provide different uptime commitments for different parts of the service. Ultimately, a vendor’s uptime commitment will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of service, how a customer will use the service, negotiating leverage, and vendor’s business model.

The United States and the United Kingdom entered into the world’s first ever Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD Act) agreement on October 3, 2019 (the Agreement). The Agreement, which will enter into force later this year after review by lawmakers in both countries, allows each country’s law enforcement agencies to demand, with proper authorization, electronic data regarding serious crime (defined in Article 1 of the Agreement as an offense punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least three years) directly from technology companies based in the other country.

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.

Morgan Lewis partners Mike Pierides and Simon Lightman, in our technology, outsourcing, and commercial transactions practice, and Louise Skinner and Lee Harding, in our labor and employment practice, will be presenting "Ahead in the Cloud: Outsourcing and the Fourth Industrial Revolution" at the 2019 Strategic Sourcing Symposium on November 18.

They will discuss the challenges of workplace disruption arising from the insourcing or outsourcing of talent, and how businesses can ensure that their employer standards are not compromised by such outsourcing. Specific discussion topics will include the following:

  • How technology developments are changing the world of work
  • The multigenerational workplace
  • The rise of automation
  • The availability of remote working

The presentation is part of a daylong event in London that will include presentations from leading academics, business professionals, and legal practitioners in the technology industry. To register, visit the Global Sourcing Association event page.

Partner Barbara Melby, the leader of our technology, outsourcing, and commercial transactions practice, will be presenting “Intellectual Property Issues in Outsourcing” at Practising Law Institute’s (PLI’s) upcoming Outsourcing 2019: Innovation and Disruption program in New York. Barbara’s one-hour presentation will take place on Thursday, October 31 at 1:15 pm ET. She will discuss intellectual property (IP) issues in outsourcing, including the following topics:

  • Recognizing and avoiding common IP pitfalls
  • Copyright, patent, and trade secret issues from vendors’ and customers’ perspectives
  • IP representations, warranties, and indemnities in outsourcing transactions
  • Open source considerations
  • IP issues in cloud deals

We found interesting a recent Forbes article by Cody McLain that discussed the top trends to watch in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. The article highlighted the following four trends for 2019.

1. Increase in Process Automation

As artificial intelligence (AI) expands to nearly every aspect of our lives, the BPO industry is also impacted and must adapt to the AI revolution. The article estimates that nearly 40% of American jobs could be lost to automation by the 2030s. While BPO companies often thrive in completing manual tasks outsourced by their clients, if AI software were able to do those same services at a fraction of the cost, then BPO companies would lose as their clients choose the more cost-effective solution. The article suggests that BPO companies should adapt to the use of AI and switch their services to work alongside AI (such as managing and maintaining AI) to stay competitive.

Join Morgan Lewis at our Philadelphia office on April 11 for a discussion on hot topics impacting services contracts in the digital economy. Morgan Lewis labor and employment partner Sarah Bouchard, litigation partner Greg Parks, together with technology, outsourcing, and commercial contracts partners Barbara Melby and Michael Pillion, and associates Christopher Archer and Katherine O’Keefe will speak at the event.

Topics will include:

  • Ethical considerations for lawyers working in a digital world
  • Common issues to consider when using vendor cloud agreements
  • Industry updates
  • Contracting for automation solutions

A networking reception will follow the discussions. We hope you can join us!

Register here.

Morgan Lewis partner Peter Watt-Morse (Pittsburgh) and associate Eric Pennesi (Pittsburgh) will be participating in the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s 2019 Cyberlaw Update, which will address trending topics, including blockchain and cryptocurrency and security and privacy concerns related to social media, in addition to GDPR.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Social Media Ethics – Its Use and Impact on the Practice of Law
  • IP in the Age of Cloud Computing and Artificial Intelligence
  • Responding to Data Breaches – Legal Update and Practical Counsel

The event will be hosted at the PBI Professional Development Center (Heinz 57 Center, 339 Sixth Avenue, 7th Floor, Pittsburgh PA, 15222) on Tuesday, April 30 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Register for Event

Towards the end of 2018 we ran a series of Contract Corner blog posts on the GDPR and Data Processing Addendums. (See here and here.) December brought detailed guidance from the UK Information Commission’s Office (ICO) on contracts and GDPR compliance (the New Guidance), which replaces draft guidance previously issued as part of a consultation by the ICO in 2017 (the Draft Guidance).