Australian Software Asset Management Association




Software Asset Management 

Software Disputes

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It is inevitable that at some time there will be a dispute with a software vendor, no matter how good the relationship is. What is important is how you handle this dispute, as it will affect your ongoing relationship with the software vendor if the dispute is handled poorly.

Disputes can take a lot of time to resolve, they can be unpleasant for all parties where both the opportunities costs and cost of remedies can be high. If the relationship with the software vendor previously has been adversarial, then the whole dispute process can be quite drawn out as both sides look to protect their own positions without seeking a compromise.

The processes and procedures for handling disputes should be clearly documented in the contract with the software vendor. This is important as it immediately removes one area of potential conflict between the software vendor and yourself. The contract should state the dispute resolution techniques that are to be applied, including the escalation paths and when these escalation paths should be used.

The management of disputes will require a high level of skill and expertise. An active management approach should be undertaken, particularly if early action to a potential dispute can be undertaken to stop the dispute happening. Inaction to a dispute will see it quickly become more serious, with the likelihood that it will take longer to resolve, require a significant investment of time to resolve, whilst the opportunity costs and potential remediation costs increase.

There are a number of dispute resolution approaches that can be used. These include using existing working level relationships, executive negotiations, expert mediation service or legal services. Dispute resolution at the lowest possible working level will result in the quickest resolution time at the lowest cost. The longer the dispute is ongoing and the requirement to escalate the dispute will see the amount of time, effort and cost increase.


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