There are many software contract administration duties that need to be undertaken on a regular basis. Whilst this is not an exhaustive list the most common and important duties that need to be undertaken include: raising new software orders, ensuring that the software vendor is compliant to all of their responsibilities under the contract, ensuring all software contract deliverables are being undertaken to the prescribed delivery schedule and required quality, reporting to management and undertaking contract changes as required.
Software contract administration relies on good documentation to provide a solid foundation to the administration of software contracts. To develop and maintain good documentation, there must be a clear audit trial of all relevant and related documentation. Good documentation is part of good record keeping practices, where records should be available to be accessed to properly authorised personnel. Good documentation practices will have an effective change management process that ensures that updates to documentation is properly authorised. The expiry periods for documentation should be determined by the business requirements, which will be influenced by legal, government regulation, corporate and operation considerations.
The reporting of the software assets to the level of detailed required for the SAM team and the maintenance of those software records is an important priority. A software contract manager needs to take ownership of software that is purchased through a software contract. This ownership is the lead role in ensuring that the software is handled in accordance to the organisations SAM policies, processes and procedures. There will be minimum requirements that must be adhered to, usually these include the correct recording of the software asset into the SAM licence entitlement database, licence agreement filed and recorded, financial invoices and payments undertaken.
Software contract administration requires a sound reporting capability to senior management. This reporting capability needs to highlight to senior management the achievements, operational issues, financial issues, significant events, open issues and any other topical subject at the time.
Changes to the software contract need to be carefully considered, documented and approved through a formal approval process. A change to a software contract requires both parties to the contract to agree to changed terms and conditions. There are many reasons that initiate the need for a contract change, most are due to business issues from either the software vendor or your organisation.
Although you may have a contract with a software vendor, they will continue to provide solicited and unsolicited proposals. As a software contract manager there should be a standard administration process to receipt these offers. Once receipted these proposals should follow a standard evaluation and assessment process with feedback provided to the vendor for clarification or a response to the proposal. In most instances the software contract manager will only be providing an administrative service, the evaluation and assessments will be undertaken by other people within your organisation. During these periods of proposals being evaluated, it is important that the software contract manager remains independent of the proposal and not be seen to be championing the proposal or the software vendor. The only role that the software contract administrator should undertake s the administration functions required for the evaluation process.
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