Technology Negotiations Can Be Difficult

"Whether you're bargaining over the purchase of a new companywide network, coping with a possible infringement of patented technology, or seeking better customer service from a software supplier, technology negotiations have become a fact of managerial life.

How do such negotiations differ from those that are less technologically complex? You can anticipate four specific problems to crop up more often in the technology arena:

1. Complexity. Negotiations over new technology require sophisticated knowledge of hardware or software that's beyond the scope of most managers. If those trained in science and technology assume that others at the table speak their language, serious misunderstandings can result.

2. Uncertainty. When highly complex systems are at stake, no one can be sure whether they will perform as promised when configured for a particular business environment. Different estimates of how a technology will perform can lead to negotiation battles.

3. Egos. Those who design or advocate for a new technology often become additional players when they have a vested interest in the outcome of a negotiation. Technology advocates—and their egos—can complicate otherwise straightforward talks.

4. Organizational change. The various organizational changes required by negotiated agreements can provoke conflict between parties during implementation. Staffers may have trouble maintaining or repairing new technology, accessing its intellectual underpinnings, or acquiring replacement parts..."

Read more in this article from HBS Working Knowledge from which the foregoing was excerpted.

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