...Previous Page: New Book
Rising trends in disputes
Dr Ang also believes that the number of disputes between companies will increase as outsourcing becomes a more popular option for many corporations.
The study she conducted together with Koh shows that most clients will complain about vendors with in the areas of maintenance and expectations, but fail to fulfill their own obligations.
"We find that the clients have undue expectations of vendors," said Dr Ang, who has conducted various research projects on outsourcing. "Clients don't know what they are getting. They don't realize that the end product needs to be evolved."
Parties also forget to contract 'soft-deliveries', like manuals or documentation for products, she says.
Much of the issue is based on an Asian culture that would rather pay more for the product, rather than the service, she concurs. And though the mindset is rapidly changing, there still needs to be a paradigm shift for the industry to realize that service costs.
Mediation: the first choice
"It is more pragmatic, (and) cost effective, to try to settle the process amicably than to bring it to court," said Phang, who also serves as a district judge, and is a member of SITDRAC.
"Very often, it's the nitty-gritty," said Phang, referring to the mediation process. "Settle it - yes. But on what terms?"
"It's the nitty-gritty. Settle it - yes.
But on what terms?"
- District Judge Phang Hsia Chung
Arbitration: the 2nd mechanism
Arbitration is a confidential alternative of handling disputes, in which parties can get to discuss the issues with a technical expert as an arbitrator, said Ang, who is also a bilingual (English-Chinese) arbitrator.
Unlike court cases, in which a judge may be assigned who has little knowledge of technical details pertaining to most IT disputes, parties have the choice to agree on a neutral party to hear their cases, said Ang.
Parties are also free to choose the 'rules' with which the cases are judged, providing for more flexibility than the typical court system.
Formed in August of 1997, SITDRAC was at first a joint project by the National Computer Board (now Infocomm Development Authority) and the Singapore Federation of Computer Industries, on how IT disputes can be resolved in a non-confrontational manner.
The project was eventually absorbed into the Singapore Mediation Centre in 1997, and consists of representatives from bodies including:
- Singapore IT Federation (SITF)
- Singapore Computer Society (SCS)
- IT Management Association (ITMA)
- Infocomm Development Authority (IDA)
- Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC)
- Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC)
SITDRAC is an advisory committee set up under the IDA, SMC and SIAC. Its objectives are:
To advise SMC and SIAC on matters relating to IT disputes; and
To monitor IT practises and issues, formulate policies and educate users and providers on IT-related matters such as IT disputes.
Effective management of IT disputes will be available at Comdex/Asia 2000, taking place from 5-7 April 2000, at the Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre. It will subsequently be available through Butterworths Asia. The retail price of the book is S$60.