Contracts can often be seen as burdensome entities that service and goods providers can do without. As long as a mutual agreement is arrived at in good faith, so the thinking goes, then a handshake or a verbal agreement should be good enough. Contracts take time, which take money, which is why some don't want to have to deal with them. Yet, as will be explained, the effect of good IT contracts or a good consulting contract is the opposite. If done properly they will indeed save you time and money, and allow for an environment of good customer service, too. For IT technicians in particular, the temptation to see contracts as burdensome might be considerable.
As a technician, you're hired to do a job, you show up and do it, and you get paid for your effort. This is how many technicians would like to see their job environment anyhow. If it were only that easy. The problem is that, without IT contracts ? even something like an IT consulting contract ? you might get lost in the maze otherwise known as the quagmire of IT contract law.
The world of information technology is particularly sensitive when concerning contract law because of the various legal issues involved with things like licensing of hardware and software, the hiring of subcontractors for particular projects, or the crossover that occurs between different fields, different projects, and even different jurisdictions. Without IT contracts that sort out the various legal issues involved, the IT technician might find themselves in a legal nightmare that simply could have been avoided. What IT contacts do, including things like an IT consulting contract, is they detail ultimately who owns what, who is responsible for what, what jurisdictions apply with respect to licensing and ownership, and what dispute mechanisms will be used in the event of some disagreement somewhere down the line. One of the best attributes of IT contracts is comprehensiveness and detail, without losing simplicity. In other words, something like an IT consulting contract will serve its function if it lays down as many terms as possible, while avoiding legal jargon that won't be understood by either party of a contract. As already mentioned, a good contract should be seen as a way of achieving customer service and satisfaction.
By getting things out into the open with simple language and straightforward terms, all parties can proceed with a true sense of mutual benefit. After all, that's what good business and service is supposed to be about, isn't it? On top of the customer service aspect, of course, good IT contracts should also be designed to resolve future conflicts and legal disputes. Bad intentions don't even have to exist in order for a breach of contract to occur.
Sometimes, people are of genuinely different opinions as to what their obligations are in something like an IT consulting contract. Sometimes unforeseen events occur that weren't anticipated in the original contract ? which, of course, is another reason to be as comprehensive as possible when first forming and signing IT contracts. In the end a good contract should be the IT technician's best friend in today's global village. Without one, the modern quagmire of international legal rights can sap away precious time, resources, and energy from your business.
No smart professional wants that to happen. It's why they fall back on things like IT contracts that cover all the bases, and then some.
James Cochran is the founder of ContractEdge, a provider of IT contracts and legal agreements designed specifically for IT professionals and contractors. Created by attorneys who specialize in Information Technology law, ContractEdge IT consulting contracts and legal forms go beyond the standard provisions and include critical special provisions unique to the IT industry.