Evaluation of any new software, system or product prior to contractual commitment is a hugely valuable facility to be allowed to carry out for any prospective end-user/licensee or distributor of that product.
For end-user/licensees, as they are increasingly aware of their own specific business requirements and how, more often than not, standard software programs fail to meet these requirements, it is in the interest of the end-user to request an evaluation period prior to accepting new software, for the purpose of assessing the capabilities of the software to meet the end-user’s requirements or assessing if the software can be modified to meet these requirements or indeed can be integrated with its existing business system.
For the evaluation process, it may be useful for an end-user to contract the services of an appropriately qualified consultant to be present at or to carry out the evaluation to ascertain the functionality and acceptability of the software with or without modification, to meet the end-user’s specific business requirements. (See Contracts 43, 44 or 45 for simple consultancy agreements under which such a party may be contracted.)
It must be noted that an evaluation period is not often granted by the software supplier especially in standard type programs where the nearest an end-user will get to evaluation is a demonstration by the sales personnel of the supplier.
Evaluation is much more commonplace with respect to a prospective distributor of the product where this type of agreement affords the distributor’s technical staff the opportunity to full assess and test the product’s e.g. compatibility with other software, hardware or system it may already be distributing or the product’s robustness before taking on support commitments or the product’s marketability in a particular territory or business sector especially if the distributor has to commit to sales targets.
In this particular contract, the end-user customer is interested in licensing software but wishes first to evaluate the software for a specified period prior to fully entering into the software licence agreement.