Refer to Chapter 27 - Software Licensing and Maintenance Contracts, Software Licensing and Maintenance, for a comprehensive discussion of intellectual property. In relation to technology transfers from U.S. federally funded resources, you may want to become familiar with the Bayh–Dole Act or Patent and Trademark Law Amendments Act that deal with intellectual property arising from federal government-funded research. Technology transfers are more likely to be used in projects by universities and institutions, including technology and knowledge transfers between colleges and non-profit organizations; however, they may also occur between states and the federal government for major initiatives like health, medical, social services, homeland security and such. In rare cases, technology transfers may be used in projects where the agency business owner is familiar with existing technology from other states.
In all technology transfers, an agreement of associated usage, transfer, access, modification, etc. rights and restrictions between the transferor (granting source) and transferee (agency) will be required to actually use the technology in your project. It is advisable to have the Commonwealth's Office of Attorney General review any such agreement your agency may need to sign prior to confirming the technology transfer in your project strategy. Be sure to pass on any restrictions of use, confidentiality, etc., to all involved suppliers and agency agents like VITA. Also, your agency may need to discuss using the technology with VITA's Enterprise Architecture division to ensure any infrastructure compatibilities, limitations, dependencies, governance requirements or approvals.
SLAs are critical to a technology transfer relationship because they provide accountability and serve as the basis for measuring the supplier's performance. The closer the application is to the core of an agency's business processes, the more important the service level agreement becomes. Such agreements should detail the specific quality, availability, performance levels and support services the agency can expect from its service provider. In addition, the SLA should address the factors that directly affect the agency's business, such as expected response times for computer applications, system capacity and interface compatibility.
Response time metrics are often developed in contract negotiations. The minimum threshold in negotiating performance expectations in the service level agreement may be the existing service levels the agency is receiving from its prior technology. In addition, particularly where the supplier is developing new technology, the agency should consider involving user groups for establishing metrics. Suppliers are typically hesitant to provide warranties regarding response times because of the effect of external factors such as hardware, software and telecommunications. The contract should specify a system's components. Once the equipment is clearly identified, the supplier may commit to certain performance levels based upon use of the specified equipment. The supplier also may be willing to give a terminal response time warranty if the hardware and software configurations are stated with specificity. Agencies may seek financial penalties for failure to meet established minimum requirements, or offer positive incentives based on performance. Response time terms also protect an agency from the effects of a successful supplier's inevitable difficulties in handling growing business. Below are special considerations for including in technology SLAs: