This page describes the policies of our company: how we communicate with our clients and how we work.
We created these policies because they help us delivering the best results we can to our clients. For this reason we are always looking to improve them.
We also believe that is important to clarify what can be expected by working with us. If you have any doubt about these policies, talk to us.
Communication is key to ensure that all stakeholders’ interests are aligned. For this reason, we encourage our clients to identify clear point of contacts. On our side, we will send regular reports: short and straight to the point. We believe the client should always have a clear idea of where the project stands and the reality should not be hidden within rivers of words.
If issues are encountered, they are communicated as early as they appear, together with mitigation strategies identified. We do not hide the dust under the carpet.
Depending on the needs of the project, we use the appropriate task managements tools (like Jira or Basecamp).
Time of validity of our proposals
Unless otherwise stated, proposals are valid 14 days upon reception. The reason for that is that we consider them binding for us. As we send them we commit to deliver a work at certain conditions in a certain time-frame. We cannot commit indefinitely because we frequently receive requests and because business conditions could change.
We are available for discussions and clarifications to help our clients getting all the elements to take the best decision for their interests. However, we need them to take that decision in a timely manner once they request us a proposal. This is important because other clients could we waiting to work with us. For this is the reason we need to allocate our resources correctly, so that we can serve best all our clients.
We have observed that we work best with organizations which are able to take decisions in a reasonable time-frame. For this reason we prefer to work with companies that are able to reply on time. For companies that decide to move on with our proposal after the deadline we reserve the right to re-discuss our offer and we have necessarily to reconsider our availability.
We understand there are situations in which clients could have difficulties in replying within 14 days because of particular situations (e.g., holidays, vacations of key decision takers). In this case we could agree for a longer validity of the proposals, if it is specified at the time of the request.
We Work Remotely
We work remotely. In our experience, this leads to better results because it forces to focus on deliverables and tracking progress. The result is a more productive relationship. We experienced that this work well when parties are willing to communicate clearly.
While we believe that written communication is very important, we are available for video conference meetings. They are particularly useful to know each other, especially at the beginning of projects.
We are open to travel within Europe. Travel requires an investment in terms of time, and we think there are alternatives to physical meeting but in some cases it could be useful.
We can provide all discussions and documents in either English or Italian. For clients which require it we can have conversations also in French, but we are unable to provide written reports in French. If needed we can prepare contracts in French, but this come at an additional cost.
We understand that our clients need to protect their confidential information when working with us, as we are involved in R&D projects which have a significant impact for them. For this reason, we engage in mutual NDAs when agreeing on working on a project.
However, we do not sign NDAs as a prerequisite for initial discussions. There are several reasons for that.
The first reason is that we have to protect our clients. We work in a well defined field: Language Engineering. In this field we work with multiple clients and we end up hearing ideas that have similarities between them. In case a potential client shares with us an idea that is similar to one we have already heard from an existing client, we would need to prove that if a controversy arises. We would have to demonstrate that we and the existing client behaved correctly, and did not take possession of the idea shared by the potential client. In order to do that, we could be forced to share the identity of the existing client, the period of our collaboration, the nature of their projects and other informations that are deemed confidential. This is not a position in which we want to put our clients.
The second reason is that we have to protect ourselves. We understand NDAs are contracts that bind us and we take seriously. As we are approached regularly by new potential clients, we are requested to sign a number of NDAs. We simply cannot afford the time necessary to carefully examine them.
Initial conversations with potential clients often permit to figure out early obstacles that prevent us from working with them. This could be due to incompatible economic requests, deadlines we are not able to guarantee will be met or the fact that we do not believe we are in the position to offer the level of quality we aim for, in the specific project proposed by the client. In these cases, having signed an NDA before the initial conversation would bind us unnecessarily, constituting a risk for us and our clients that we could have avoided.
We understand that there are very special circumstances in which a mutual NDA is required to be signed even before having an initial conversation. In that case, the potential client should consider that we would need one week to examine the NDA and having our lawyer examine it. This would require the potential client to upfront the cost of the lawyer. The client should expect this cost to be between 500 and 1.000 Euros (circa 600 and 1.200 USD).
Strumenta is committed to keep time spent on contract discussions and administrative pro-cedures to a minimum. For this reason, we can offer the prices specified in the proposals under the condition that the client does not require complex specific procedures, additional documents such as Master Service Agreements (MSA), requests of documentation on the operating modes of Strumenta, and lengthy standard contracts for vendors.
If this condition is not satisfied, we cannot guarantee the prices set in our proposals.