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This code of conduct relates to the commercial and contractual relations between customers and ICT suppliers …

This code of conduct relates to the commercial and contractual relations between customers and ICT suppliers

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  • 1. How a professional code of conduct can bolster the competitiveness of regional ICT businesses The ‘eTIC’ Code – 16 / 05/ 2011 - London
  • 2. No admission to the profession
    • There is a lack of confidence between ICT suppliers and their SME customers (BtoB market).
    • Who has not heard of businesses:
      • complaining of being insufficiently informed by their ITC service provider of the terms governing the transfer of intellectual property rights or the amounts of recurrent costs,
      • that have been hogtied to a solution and a supplier who fails to meet their needs and requirements,
      • or that are even left completely abandoned in cases where their service provider goes bankrupt.
    eITC Code
  • 3. ‘ eTIC’: a ‘bottom-up’ approach
    • The main victims of this climate of mistrust:
    • Small businesses that only have their own reputation or that of the brands they represent, are having to compete with multinational corporations or large Brussels-based companies
    •  Regional competitivity challenge
    • Initiative:
    • A number of these small businesses operating as part of a cluster in Liège got together in 2004 and decided to take action in response:
    • Pledging confidence-building measures to customers
    eTIC Code
  • 4. Professional code of conduct to distinguish ourselves!
    • Setting out from the main reasons why potential legal disputes arise between ICT suppliers and SME customers, they sought to improve the level of professionalism in this sector of industry by jointly compiling a Code of Conduct that was unheard of in the profession in Belgium.
    • The Economic Development Agency of the Province of Liège (SPI+) got involved to assist this SME cluster in writing up this Code 5 years ago.
      • Aim: to enable local businesses to show that they too are every bit as reliable – if not more so – than the major corporations operating in the ICT industry.
    eITC Code
  • 5. What does the eTIC Code involve?
    • The 7 clauses contained in the Code relate to the commercial and contractual relations between customers and ICT suppliers:
      • service adapted to the customer
      • the joint definition of the scope of the project (content, limits and exclusions)
      • cost control and lead time management
      • responsibilities
      • available resources and qualifications brought to bear to accomplish the project
      • sustainability/transferability of the solution or the service
      • intellectual property rights
    • The full text of the Code of Conduct is available to be consulted at http://www.Charte-etic.be/publications/etic-code.pdf
    eTIC Code
  • 6. What does the eTIC Code involve?
    • The Code requires the supplier , from the time the offer is made, to address a number of key issues together with his customer that might prove to be sources of legal dispute in due course unless they are properly clarified.
    • Aim:
    • Through its emphasis on dialogue, this Code of Conduct sees more balanced contracts being drawn up that are better equipped to stand up over time and, above all, the scope of which has been properly defined by the 2 parties.
    eTIC Code
  • 7. What does the eTIC Code involve?
    • The Code sets out a series of rules on what is professionally ethical conduct, relating to the commercial practices involved in the ICT industry
    • It is not a quality label in the usual sense: it does not provide the customer with guarantees that the service delivered will be of an impeccable technical quality.
    • The ‘eTIC’ Code stands in complement to the current ISO standards and is more of a moral undertaking on the part of the Code signatories relating to what are strictly commercial aspects.
    eTIC Code
  • 8. Who supervises compliance with the professional code of conduct?
    • To lend added weight to this commitment, a system has been put in place to examine customer complaints relating to alleged non-compliance with the Code, which may see the authorisation for the supplier to refer to the eTIC Code withdrawn.
    • This system rests on the arbitration efforts of the ‘eTIC Committee’
      • The Committee is a joint committee, made up of representatives from specialist companies, representatives from the professional users, several public institutions
      • The Committee manages any incoming complaints on the basis of a procedure aimed at mediation
    • The customer has a serious pressure tactic in cases where the supplier’s conduct is seen to evade compliance with the Code (26 complaints out of 30 have been settled through conciliation).
    eTIC Code
  • 9. Who can sign the eTIC Code?
    • The right to use the ‘eTIC’ trademark is awarded to businesses specialising in the delivery of ITC products and services, that are signatories to the Code of Conduct
      • The service providers unreservedly undertake in writing to act in compliance with the clauses of the Code and its requirements
      • They are to carry the ’eTIC’ trademark logo on all of their commercial documents
    • This undertaking has become important as many SMEs, as well as public authorities (local councils,…), are now asking their ICT suppliers whether they have signed up to the ‘eTIC’ Code of Conduct before signing any kind of contract!
    eTIC Code
  • 10. A successful approach
    • Currently, 560 ICT suppliers have signed the Code, representing a significant number on the Belgian and Luxembourg market
      • Supported by the ‘Agoria’ industry association
      • Supported by many regional economic development institutions (Chambers of commerce, …), centres of excellence (Technopôles) and the Agence Wallonne des Télécommunications
    • Developments:
      • Specific supplementary undertakings from ICT businesses offering e-commerce and Search Engine Optimisation services
      • The scheme has been adopted in France by the Club ‘e-entreprises’ Club of the CCI in Valenciennes. It is up and running in the Nord Pas-de-Calais and Bourgogne Regions and was launched in Alsace and PACA in spring 2011.
    eTIC Code
  • 11. eTIC Code secretariat Damien JACOB, Agence Wallonne des Télécommunications Tel.: +32 81 77 80 65 [email_address] Answers to your questions: http://www.Charte-etic.be http://www.Charte-etic.fr eTIC Code