Software development contracts are always a tricky subject. While the basic principles of contract remain the same in software development, you need to give specific attention to a few select differences, or neither party is going to get exactly what they want. But when the software being developed is intended as a software as a service (or SaaS), these differences are even more overt. So what exactly do we need to do differently in SaaS development contracts?
SaaS development contracts are the same…
Like almost all other software development contracts, SaaS development contracts deal with a few standard issues. For example, deliverables and development are important. Do the developer and customer actually agree on exactly what the deliverable is going to be, and when it is going to be delivered? What specifications must it meet? Is delivery split into separate milestones, each with their own set of delivery requirements?
Other similarities include:
- acceptance procedures and change control – How does the customer accept the deliverable? Are there any periods for testing it? If the parties want to change any of the specifications, how do they go about doing so?
- warranties and disclaimers – What warranties must the developer include in the contract, and what must they avoid?
… but different
There are some differences, however, that make SaaS development contracts stand out from the rest. For example, software often needs to be supported after development, and none more so than SaaS. Even if the developer is not going to provide support services for the SaaS after delivery, it may be wise to specify this in the contract. This helps to prevent there being an expectation on the part of the customer.
Other key differences include:
- development methodology – Will the developer use waterfall, agile, or a hybrid of both? The methodology may affect how the SaaS is delivered, and when the customer can begin deploying it;
- intellectual property – Will the developer maintain rights to the IP, or certain aspects of it? This will likely be very different from normal software development services, particularly if the customer wants the developer to stay on to support the SaaS for them in the future.
How can we help you?
Do you need help with your SaaS development contracts? If so, we can help you to:
- enjoy safe and clear development relationships, by guiding you through what you should look out for in a workshop;
- sign contracts quickly and easily by asking us to draft bespoke SaaS development contract templates for you;
- avoid legal troubles in your existing SaaS development contracts by having us review your contracts.
If you are interested, please complete the form on the right or enquire now. We will contact you to find out more about your requirements and give you a quote.