The acquisition costs of complex software products, including ERP systems, are only one aspect of the cost factor. The costs of software maintenance and servicing apply in addition to the licence fees. These costs are sometimes eye-watering and seem unavoidable. Or are they?
It is well known that there is no such thing as perfect software that works for a long time and causes no problems. This applies to tailor-made solutions as well as to standard software that is used worldwide. Software maintenance costs and hardware maintenance costs already account for a significant portion of original vendor revenue.
Why is software maintenance necessary?
Software vendors bring their programs to market for use by their customers while they are still working on them in the background. The customer is therefore continuously involved in the sustainable improvement of a software application: on the technical side through automated error messages, on the cost side through maintenance contracts via which the original providers guarantee the availability of the application. Bug fixes are an important aspect of software maintenance. However, few software providers are likely to embed these in a maintenance contract.
What types of software maintenance are there?
Users are primarily offered services as software maintenance and care such as adjustments to altered technical or legal framework conditions. In addition, providers of software with maintenance contracts guarantee that the user participates in every upgrade of the program. Software products are constantly evolving to optimise their performance, which enhances user performance. It is certainly the case that the providers have a good part of their development work paid for through maintenance contracts. However, this procedure is common practice in the IT industry.
What needs to be considered when it comes to maintenance contracts?
Providers like to price a maintenance contract based on the number of licences that a company purchases. When purchasing all-inclusive licence packages, customers should therefore be aware that the maintenance costs for the software can be worked out from this as a percentage. The annual contract costs can amount to 15 and 25% of the purchase price of the licence rights. Therefore, planning how many individual licences are actually required as precisely as possible is one way of keeping maintenance costs to a minimum.
Is software maintenance worth the effort or is it better to buy new?
Switching to another provider can be worthwhile for companies that work with comparatively old software. If the costs for maintenance and servicing exceed the quantifiable benefits that the application still offers, a clean break is often the best option. However, this doesn’t alter the principle that the new software comes with a new maintenance contract. When it comes to business software, it is almost impossible to buy an application without a maintenance contract – and this isn’t recommended either – because “new” in the latest software releases in the IT industry doesn’t necessarily mean that the application is stable and reliable. So one option is to take the opposite approach, especially for small and SMEs: previous software versions can also be purchased as used software without a maintenance contract. Certain program versions of an item of software are often considered to be particularly reliable and stable. A new maintenance contract can still be arranged with the vendor or original supplier. This aspect is particularly interesting for companies that don’t necessarily need to have the very latest features of a software product at their disposal.
Conclusion: software maintenance contracts are essential for maintaining performance. Precise planning of the user licences actually required can save costs, as can purchasing older versions in the form of used software. The Microsoft-certified consultants from VENDOSOFT are at your service for information about software maintenance and used software. Be sure to obtain comprehensive advice! You should definitely obtain a comprehensive consultation!