The Roundup: Avoid IT Project Litigation

Steps To Prevent IT Project Litigation
The Cutter Consortium, a IT business consultancy in Arlington, Mass., reports that companies are increasingly heading to court to resolve software disputes that arise from IT projects. Software disputes have increased five-fold in the past 25 years and that is expected to keep rising.

Tim Lister, council fellow on the Cutter Business Technology Trends Council, says litigation “will continue to grow and become a major financial sinkhole until the IT industry reexamines its posture on contracts involving package purchase, contract development, subcontracting and outsourcing.”

The Council offers tips for avoiding contract disputes when working on IT projects. They include:

  • Do a formal risk assessment before the project starts. Lister says, “Do not do this with your organization alone, conduct the assessment with the finalists for the job. Apart from obtaining a mutual understanding of the complexities of the job, you will gain valuable insight into the management style and culture of your future partner.”
  • The contract needs to be the responsibility of IT, not the legal department.
  • Build regular contract reviews right into the original contract.
  • Build measurable, quality-gated progress points into the contract.
  • Consider a clause that calls for all parties to lock in key personnel for key periods of work.

Aberdeen: Linux Growth Continues
IT research firm Aberdeen Group of Boston reports that the drive to push Linux into the enterprise will continue in the coming years and challenge Windows and the Unix operating system for supremacy by the end of the decade.

“Through the efforts of thousands of individuals and many major organizations, Linux is being developed at a faster pace than any other operating system in history,” according to Bill Claybrook, research director, Linux and Open Source Software at Aberdeen. “This development is being carried out in a very organized manner by many individuals at large companies such as Compaq, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Hitachi, IBM, NEC, and SGI, and at many smaller companies like Caldera, Red Hat, SuSE, TurboLinux, and VA Linux.”

Aberdeen cites two major reasons for the fast pace of development:

  • 1. There are thousands of open source developers and many Unix developers (systems and applications developers) who routinely contribute to Linux development.
  • 2. Technology developed for Unix is easily transferable to Linux. Aberdeen reports that large systems vendors like Compaq, HP, and IBM, are working hard to push Linux into the enterprise.

Aberdeen adds, “These same companies are spending significant amounts of money to develop Linux/Unix affinity strategies in order to provide their customers with the capability to run Linux applications on their Unix solutions.

“As Linux moves into the enterprise and continues its ascent to overtake Windows and replace Unix, the operating system suppliers will have to adopt new business models. Models based on the pre-supposition that vendors can lock in customers with their proprietary operating systems will no longer be suitable.”

Security Sales Skyrocket
The worldwide market for Internet security continues to soar across all security markets — firewalls, encryption software, security authentication, authorization and administration (3A) and antivirus software, according to tech research firm IDC of Framingham, Mass.

IDC reported recently that, overall, worldwide Internet security software revenues jumped 33% to $5.1 billion in 2000. By 2005, IDC is predicting the market will reach $14 billion in revenue.

Security authentication, authorization and administration (3A) software is expected to be the hottest growth area through 2005. Antivirus software is also seen growing quickly, in light of the expected boom of wireless handheld devices able to send and receive data.

More than half of this IT spending (52%) will occur in the U.S., while Asia/Pacific will be the fastest growing market for security software through 2005.