More than 80 business software suppliers, including Microsoft and Sage, have agreed to a code of practice to guarantee high standards for their products.
The wide-ranging code of practice from the Business Application Software Developers Association (Basda) sets standards for the development and supply of business applications.
The code covers product development, testing, quality assurance, documentation and software support. Thorny issues such as upgrade paths, minimum notice for product withdrawal and testing are also covered by the code.
Signatories promise that, in the event that a user has a dispute with the supplier that might be service- or product-related, it will provide the user with a clearly defined escalation process for resolution.
"This will help customers to identify those companies which are offering a quality assured product and a high level of service to their users," said Dennis Keeling, chief executive of Basda, which represents more than 250 software suppliers.
It is not only supplier bodies that are trying to improve relations between IT users and suppliers. User group The Corporate IT Forum (Tif) has set up a workshop at its February 2005 conference in which IT decision makers and supplier executives will be encouraged to discuss common concerns such as software quality in a frank and informal manner.
Tif, which represents more than 140 IT departments from Europe’s largest organisations, announced its plans to coincide with a survey of its members on their satisfaction with IT suppliers. It found that 94% of those questioned thought suppliers "oversold" their software, creating false expectations about how easy it would be to install and support.