IT directors increasingly frustrated at software procurement process

Buying software is becoming increasingly complicated, according to a new survey of IT directors.

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Buying software is becoming increasingly complicated, according to a new survey of IT directors.

Some 63 percent of the 200 IT directors questioned said software procurement was one of the top areas where dealing with vendors had become a challenge.

And nearly two-thirds believe that implementation of software is delayed by complex procurement processes.

Four out of five said increased flexibility in contracting can improve the efficiency of software procurement. And 72 percent felt lack of vendor accountability had a negative effect on the deal.

Gillian Austin, legal director at solicitors Olswang, told Computerworld UK: “Buying a piece of software is only as good as the licence you get with it. Really you want to make sure your licence agreements are easy to understand.”

“Usually there’s a mix of legal and technical speak, and some people in a company understand some parts, some understand others. Many companies make sure they are cautious about it all but others throw in the money and run away, hoping it’ll be all right.”

Tim Cummins, chief executive at contracting industry body the International Association of Contract and Commercial Management, said collaboration between procurement, contract management and legal departments helped those departments to “play a leadership role and deliver greater value to their businesses”.

Microsoft, which conducted the survey, said it was simplifying its software agreements under the Customer and Partner Experience programme. It was also lowering costs and better balancing risk, it said.

Dervish Tayyip, UK legal head at Microsoft, said: “Our customers have welcomed some of the added flexibility in licensing in recent years, but this has come at the expense of greater complexity. There’s clearly a need for industry-wide change and we believe this can result in a far better experience for customers.”

In spite of the prominence of worries over software procurement, testing and integration were challenges that had become a problem for the highest number of IT directors when dealing with vendors, after 76 percent highlighted it as an issue.

Some 72 percent said solving the security questions around products was a major issue, including data protection, governance and regulatory and compliance requirements. Other issues were controlling costs, highlighted by 53 percent, and providing support and staff training, an issue for 47 percent.

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