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					                                                                    E - BU S I N E S S
                                                                                                        BY KUNJAN DAYAL




“Quickforms” IT Contracts—
 A Low-Cost Expert System
This product was reviewed in July 2003.

Contract managers (CM) constantly seek to develop
contracts that correctly, accurately, and strategically
address risks and opportunities. At the same time,
if the contract can be developed quickly and at a low cost,
the CM would have supported organizational goals.
   CMs often undertake special exercises to develop check-
lists, templates, and forms to improve their contracts.
While these exercises result in improving a CM’s perfor-
mance, he has to be constantly on alert to ensure all risks
and opportunities have been covered adequately.
Checklists require constant monitoring; templates require
continuous updates; form contracts somehow remain inad-
equate. And finally, it may not be possible to retain
an expert, if the issue is complex.
   Invisible Hands software, called “QuickForms,” can                    item of the draft in an easy manner with appropriate
draft a complex contract in less than 20 minutes, for about              questions and options. It seeks responses to simple
a dollar a minute. I’d say this is sufficient reason for CMs             questions or provides alternatives from which the CM
to get excited.                                                          may choose.
                                                                            Here’s how it works. First, the CM identifies the kind
Overview                                                                 of agreement to be developed. Agreements are categorized
QuickForms has contributed to making the contract draft-                 into several broad categories, as shown here:
ing process quick, accurate, cheap, and solid. It automates
drafting of agreements for computer industry, Internet                   ■   Service agreements
commerce, and general business transactions.                                 (e.g., a professional services agreement),
  QuickForms is fun and easy to use. A draft contract can
be developed in about five or 10 minutes. Co-founder John                 ■   Strategic alliance agreements
Newman, a practicing attorney, manages the contractual                       (e.g., a software consulting alliance),
content. He has chosen to concentrate on IT contracts,
which assures in-depth coverage of IT contractual issues.                ■   Internet and e-mail privacy agreements
QuickForms promises fast turnaround on a near-custom,                        (e.g., an Internet linking agreement),
better-fitting document that delivers what you want, when
you want it, at an easy price.                                           ■   License software or buy/sell systems
                                                                             (e.g., a software license agreement),
Using the Software
QuickForms works in an interactive, logical manner.                      ■   Post-warranty maintenance agreements
The structure of interaction is objective and addresses each                 (e.g., a system maintenance agreement),

 Reviews are by-lined and express the opinion of the author. NCMA        ■   Software marketing agreements
 and CM do not necessarily endorse or support any vendor profiled/            (e.g., a teaming agreement), and
 reviewed in the EB corner. Anyone interested in reviewing e-business
 vendors should contact Kathryn Mullan at mullan@ncmahq.org
                                                                         ■   Other business related agreements
 or 571/382-1107.
                                                                             (e.g., a technology escrow agreement).



50 ■ Contract Management / October 2003
                                                                                                          E - B U S I N E S S



  After choosing the agreement category, QuickForms           tage without the support of QuickForms or costly,
asks for answers to simplified questions (e.g., names          time-consuming legal advice.
of parties, responsibility, and risk assessment). The CM        The drafting process took about 15 minutes—not hours
should answer the questions as best he can at that specific    and days—which an attorney drafting a custom TEA
time. There are sufficient opportunities to change the        would have surely required. And yes, it cost only $19.95!
answers or check out alternatives to various risk and           The draft was accompanied by an IT contracting guide,
opportunity factors.                                          which a CM will find handy.
  QuickForms is much more than a simple “fill-in-the-blank”      The software is very easy to use and does not require
template. It assembles truly interchangeable clauses into     any IT skills. Users only need to (1) be familiar with the
millions of possible outcomes—all in about 10 minutes.        business at hand, (2) have the ability to assess risks,
The last chance to change the answers is before release       and (3) take advantage of opportunities.
of payment information. Upon release of payment, an
e-copy of the draft is e-mailed to the CM. The draft will     Overall Assessment
invariably be weighted in the CM’s favor.                     Quickforms is an expert system in the myriad world of
                                                              contracts and legalese. It also allows for integration with FAR
Assessment of Software                                        or other legal conditions applicable to the CM’s organization.
For this review, I chose to draft a technology escrow           Quickforms is a leading-edge solution and thus, a useful
agreement (TEA), to verify the claims of QuickForms.          tool for any contract manager. I recommend that readers
TEA is a very specialized field and often only briefly and      check it out at http://www.quickforms.net/. It will be the
mostly inadequately addressed in many primary contracts.      best investment of about $20 and about 20 minutes! CM
Too often, when procuring large systems, licensees rely
on the licensor or primary system supplier to provide                             About the Reviewer
for an escrow arrangement.
                                                              KUNJAN DAYAL, CPM, works for the Public Transporatation
   The interactive session I had was an eye-opener for me,
                                                              Authority in Phoenix, Arizona. He has more than 20 years experience
as QuickForms explored aspects of TEA of which I was
                                                              in domestic and international contracting, procurement, and resource
not previously aware. I am sure that, if in the future,
                                                              management, as well as extensive involvement in IT application
a need should arise to retrieve the escrowed object codes,
                                                              development, design, and implementation. Send comments on
I’ll receive the latest tested version of the object codes.
                                                              this article to cm@ncmahq.org.
A person unskilled in TEA would have been at a disadvan-




                       2003-2004 NCMA EVENTS
      For more information about the conferences listed here, please contact Michelle Bourke, CMP,
                      at 571/382-1135, or visit our Web site at www.ncmahq.org.


             December 8-9, 2003                                              April 26-28, 2004
                   NCMA EAST COAST                                      NCMA WORLD CONGRESS 2004

                      EDUCATIONAL                             Renaissance Orlando Resort at Seaworld

                      CONFERENCE                                                     Orlando, FL

                  Sheraton Premiere

                  Tysons Corner, VA



                                                                                         October 2003 / Contract Management ■ 51

				
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