Surviving an IT contract – a customer’s guide (part 2).

In part 2…

This is the second of a six part series intended to smooth the often-troubled waters of IT contracts. Part one addressed assessing options, and planning the proposed system.

Acceptance tests

You will usually want the opportunity to test the system before putting it into operational use. You will need to agree specific criteria against which the system will be tested. The purposes of the tests will be, as a minimum, to demonstrate that the software has the functionality set out in the specification and operates to the required performance levels on the relevant hardware.

What if the system fails the acceptance tests?

The supplier will normally want to have the opportunity to rectify any issues. In the meantime you may be entitled to liquidated damages if the required delivery dates have been missed. You may also negotiate recovery of your expenses in carrying out the acceptance tests. If defects are not remedied, then you should ensure that the contract allows you either to accept the software at a reduced price or to terminate the contract.


The supplier will usually provide for deemed acceptance once the system has been put into live operation. The reasoning for this is that if the system is good enough to be put into live operation then it is capable of acceptance. You should watch out for this – only use the software when you are ready to do so.

Related posts

Surviving an IT contract – a customer’s guide (part 1)

Surviving an IT contract – a customer’s guide (part 3)

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Posted on: 2 November 2013