When a business establishes a relationship with a software vendor, hopes are usually high for both parties that the relationship will work out as planned, with the business receiving a solid product and appropriate levels of support while the IT company providing the software will receive funds that will help it thrive in the future. Like in all relationships, however, the unexpected can occur and things can go awry. When it comes to software vendors, some of the possible scenarios include the launch of a new product, making the old one obsolete or even unsupported. Still more serious can be the advent of a bankruptcy for the vendor company, leaving the business using its software cut adrift.
While no system to prepare for the future can anticipate every contingency, businesses considering new vendors or renewing contracts with old ones should carefully consider establishing a technology escrow. These documents are roughly equivalent to pre-nuptial agreements, providing safeguards for the customer in case the relationship with the vendor fails for some reason. Escrows can help businesses retain access to the source code for mission critical applications, for example, so that customers can feel secure that in no circumstance will they be cut completely adrift.
Technology escrows are important even when businesses and other organizations have implemented a managed services model of IT services. To help managed services providers remain as efficient as possible, they need to have continued access to any programs and code being supplied by third-party vendors.