For whatever reason, you are terminating a contract with a key outsourcing vendor. Perhaps their prices are too high, or they \n\nfailed to meet performance goals. You look over your contract and\u2014surprise! Very little is said about what happens when the deal ends and you need to transition to a new \n\nvendor.\n\nMore on CIO.com\nEnding an Outsourcing Early\n\nContracts often do not address this critical issue in sufficient detail, making a difficult situation even worse. Instead of \n\nfocusing on the new vendor, CIOs find themselves negotiating with both vendors to avoid a service interruption or other \n\nadverse effect on business.\n\nThe time to set the groundwork for a termination transition plan is when you negotiate the original contract. No one likes to \n\ndo this\u2014focusing on a relationship's end before it starts is viewed as bad karma. But unless you do so, the vendor has \n\nno incentive to do more than the contract requires when it comes to transitioning out of a deal.\n\nHow can you mitigate this risk? Start by making sure your contract addresses the minimum requirements for a termination \n\ntransition plan. The plan should provide a detailed rule book for doing this in an organized way.\n\nTo begin, the vendor should be contractually obligated to aid in the development of a transition plan. The vendor and customer \n\nshould review and approve the plan as part of the initial contract or right after it begins. Basic requirements should be \n\nspecified, such as requiring details of activities performed by the vendor, the customer and affected third parties, as well \n\nas a process allowing activities to be validated and updated during a transition.\n\nKey issues include: ownership and return of data, documentation and intellectual property created or used to develop the \n\nservices and knowledge transfer; determining whether a new vendor may obtain hardware, software, staff and business procedures \n\nused by the incumbent; and detailing the incumbent vendor's obligation to perform the steady-state services during transition.\nAll relationships have a beginning and an end. A well-designed contract ensures a successful exit for everyone.