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

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.

Even with the standard independent contractor provision in a Master Services Agreement, when employees of the contractor work at a client's site, there can be a heightened risk for joint employment liability, especially where such employees were hired by the contractor as part of an outsourcing arrangement. The US Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to update its interpretation of the standard for establishing joint-employer liability under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The proposal is “designed to promote certainty for employers and employees, reduce litigation, promote greater uniformity among court decisions, and encourage innovation in the economy” by making clear employers’ and joint employers’ respective obligations to pay the appropriate employee wages and overtime for a workweek.

The audit section in a services agreement contains the provisions that specify a party’s right to access and review another party’s information in order to determine such party’s compliance with the agreement. Depending on the scope of audit rights, the audit section can range from a single paragraph to an entire exhibit to the contract.

Many considerations go into drafting appropriate audit rights, including the types of services that the customer is receiving, and the industry in which the customer’s business operates. In many cases, the customer is the auditing party and the service provider is the audited party, but there are situations where the roles will be reversed. Below is an overview of several key issues to consider when drafting audit rights for services agreements.

Forbes has listed its top outsourcing trends in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region for 2019. The APAC region has long been the dominant region for outsourcing, although it is facing competition from emerging outsourcing markets in other regions. Trends include the growing presence of outsourcing in Malaysia, shifting resource models, and personnel shortages.

March is a busy month for webinars at Morgan Lewis. Check out the Morgan Lewis website for a number of webinars coming up in March that are of interest to technology and sourcing lawyers and professionals. A few that caught our eye:

  • March 12 - Cyber Insurance: Is Your Company Covered?
  • March 12 - M&A Academy: Bridging the Gap with Transition Services Agreements
  • March 13 - Global Public Company Academy: Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Developments

For a complete listing of firm events and CLE opportunities, visit our Global Events Calendar.

Outsourcing agreements are typically long-term arrangements and the functions outsourced, whether IT or business processes, often key to the continued operation of the customer’s business. It is therefore important that both the customer and the supplier undertake due diligence prior to entering into such arrangements to ensure that, for example, both parties are clear as to the customer’s service requirements and objectives and how these will be met by the supplier.

In this post, we look at due diligence from the perspective of both the customer and the supplier.

In business process outsourcing (BPO) transactions, some of the toughest negotiation points often involve responsibility for compliance with applicable laws and regulations. If you have negotiated BPO transactions, you know that there is not an industry position that can be applied across the board on all deals. We find key determiners as to how responsibility is allocated to include the type and size of the transaction, whether the service is a “utility” or one to many model, the intended scope of the service offering, impact to fees (if any), vendor capabilities, and negotiating leverage.

Morgan Lewis will co-host an interactive master workshop on negotiations and contracting geared toward business leaders, sourcing professionals, and in-house counsel who work together on complex transactions such as digital transformations and vendor outsourcing. Edward J. Hansen, Vito Petretti, Donald G. Shelkey and Valerie A. Gross of our Technology, Outsourcing and Commercial Transactions practice will present and lead discussions on topics including:

A significant fine imposed by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on an established UK insurer is further evidence of the increased scrutiny being placed on outsourcing arrangements by the financial services regulator, and also of the importance the regulator places on issues that directly impact retail customers.

The FCA is the UK’s “conduct” regulator, with a focus primarily on the regular business conduct of financial services businesses, as compared to the “macro” focus (safety and soundness) of the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) – although there is overlap between the stated remits of the FCA and the PRA, and outsourcing arrangements are subject to scrutiny by both bodies.

A shrinking in traditional outsourcing deal volumes since the United Kingdom's EU membership referendum vote on June 23, 2016, is being partially attributed to business caution following the “Brexit” decision.

According to consultants ISG, the traditional sourcing market in the UK pre-Brexit referendum had a deal volume of circa $900 million per quarter. However, the UK outsourcing market has only achieved this level of activity in one quarter since the referendum.