Working with a supplier can be anxiety-provoking. We get it. You’re putting someone else in control of a major component of your business — your software.
But there are ways to ensure that both you and your suppliers feel safe about your partnership.
Don’t want to worry about what happens if the software vendor goes out of business?
Concerned about not having access to the source code and other materials you need to maintain and update your software?
Don’t want to think about what could happen to your business if your supplier discontinues the maintenance and support of the software?
No worries. We’ve got the insider secrets you need to get the best out of your software suppliers…
Utilise a source code escrow service
You’ll be thankful that you did this. It’s important insurance when working with a supplier. A source code escrow service acts as the third-party intermediary for software licensing agreements.
All those concerns you had about working with a software vendor? Source code escrow resolves those, so you don’t have to worry about them.
You see, the escrow service helps you set up a legal agreement between your company and the supplier that states exactly what happens if one of those risky events occurs. If your supplier goes out of business, that triggers the release of the source code and other materials to you as the beneficiary of the code. If your supplier has to discontinue maintenance and support of the software, that triggers the release of the source code and other materials to the beneficiary of the code.
With source code escrow services there are no worries that you’ll be left without the data and resources you need to continue utilising business-essential software applications.
Ask for documentation to be included with the source code
Just because you have the original code doesn’t mean that you can make sense of where issues may lie or where updates belong in the code. You see, even the most well-written code needs supporting documentation to make clear how it fits with other software components.
Let’s say one of the release events does happen, and you need to take control of maintenance and updates of the software, as the source code beneficiary. Without documentation, it’s going to take a lot longer for your new development team to figure out what they’re doing.
So as you enter a source code escrow licensing agreement, make sure that you ask for the software vendor to include documentation and any other essential information for maintaining, updating, and supporting the software. All of this information should be put into the software escrow along with the source code.
Be prepared for common supplier objections
Sometimes it can be difficult to get your supplier on board with utilising a source code escrow service. Here are some of the common objections that we see, as well as how you can respond to them:
Objection one — The licensee doesn’t have the know-how to use the source code if it gets released from escrow.
It’s understandable that a software vendor wants to protect their creations. But in the case that release conditions are met for source code escrow, that means that either the supplier has gone out of business themselves and has no need of the source code anymore, or they have breached a legal agreement that nullifies their rights to the code.
Remind your supplier that it is unlikely that release conditions will be met, as long as they are upholding their end of the agreement. If they press the issue that you won’t be able to use the source code anyway, remind them that in the event the source code is released to you, you will be able to find developers to work with who are able to make sense of the source code.
Objection two – The escrow won’t get updated as software changes occur.
Your supplier may argue that releasing the source code to you in the event that it is necessary won’t do any good because it will only include the original code and not the updates that have been made to it.
Actually, if you utilise a modern software escrow service as CodeKeeper you can easily settle the supplier’s concerns about this. With integrations to the code repositories, code changes can be automatically added to the escrow as they are made. And the code is still safe within the escrow, protecting the supplier’s business as well.
If source code escrow sounds beneficial to you and your suppliers, click here to learn more about Codekeeper source code escrow.