Chances are, if you’re in-house counsel at a large company, sooner or later your IT group will ask you for legal input on an enterprise resource planning implementation or a software development project. If you don’t know what ERP or software development projects entail, you’re not alone. Since these projects come along only every few years, not many lawyers have deep experience with them. Also, many lawyers are uncomfortable with IT terminology and don’t often negotiate complex IT agreements. Here are tips on how to avoid disasters.
ERP implementation: An IT buzzword for 15 years, ERP describes software devoted to managing business and accounting functions that may include some, or all, of these components: human relations management, financial management systems, customer relations management, supply chain management, product lifecycle management and business intelligence. Oracle Corp., SAP America Inc., and Microsoft Corp. dominate the ERP market, but other companies also provide ERP products.
ERP software must be customized for a specific customer’s unique business and accounting operations. ERP software vendors don’t implement and install the ERP software — that job is provided by an ERP implementer. Four of the larger ERP implementers are Xerox Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., and Dell Inc.