SaaS Agreement Templates are Too Important to Leave to the Lawyers!
Seth Godin did a great job with this perspective on marketing (‘why marketing is too important to leave to the marketing department’) but it triggered something in me (at least from the perspective of a software attorney): SaaS agreement templates are too important to be left to the lawyers. Let me explain.
I have found that most IT companies or companies have end user agreements provided from their outside lawyers. These agreements look like a corporate type agreement (pretty formal) and are long/way too complex. On the other hand, IBM and Oracle had non-lawyer consultants help their legal departments to simplify and streamline their end user agreements, as they realized early on that their agreements were an impediment to closing a sale (not a good thing). I doubt most IT companies can afford to hire a bunch of consultants to help them with their agreements the way IBM and Oracle did, but what they can do is not accept such complexity and length in their SaaS agreement templates. They should challenge their lawyers to simplify and shorten these agreements. Remember that lawyers are paid by the hour, so the longer the agreement the better. Do you think a longer agreement is easier to explain to a jury? I don’t think so.
More to come on this topic, but I want to plant the seed that you don’t want to put a complex SaaS agreement template in front of your customer and expect them to sign it!