When you’ve had your job scheduling software for a long time, you might have some questions about the way your tool is supported or why the maintenance costs are the way they are. We’ve put together an FAQ to help you understand the situation.
Q: What does it mean if my enterprise job scheduling software provider says my software is “support focused”?
A: This typically means that instead of adding new features or improving the software, any new releases will be to maintain the current features and performance. That phrase, “support focused,” often means that your software is headed toward a slow death and the vendor is only concerned with “maintenance milking.” Maintenance milking is where the vendor attempts to get as much money out of existing customers as possible without providing new features or value. When you hear “support focused” from your software provider, it’s often time to start looking for a new solution.
When you hear that your job scheduling software is “support-focused,” evaluate the support quality you’ve experienced so far as well as the software’s sustainability. If you have top-notch support and a sustainable product, it might not be so bad to continue on with your current software and a support team behind you to help you keep things running as they are. However, if your software provider has outsourced support to a group who don’t know how to answer your questions or if you’ve found little value in the support you’ve received over the years, it might be time to move on.
Q: Why do I have to pay for the license changes or upgrades to my product?
A: There are some legitimate reasons to pay for a license change or upgrade. If the software vendor has made significant improvements to the product that make the upgrade similar to purchasing new software, that might warrant a charge to existing customers. When it comes to license changes, the larger or more functional the change, the more reason a vendor has for charging. License changes might be anything from changing a machine to changing quantity of licenses or changing the features available to the customer.
However, sometimes vendors push customers into a “forced upgrade,” where customers have to move to a newer version of the software AND pay for it. When your jobs depend on the system you currently use, this kind of ultimatum puts you in a tough spot. At this point, you need to evaluate the benefits of the newer version of the software – does it fit your needs? Would an upgrade make your life easier? At this point, it’s also worth considering alternatives, particularly if you start feeling like the vendor is holding your jobs hostage with the hefty ransom of a forced upgrade.
Q: Are the maintenance increases I’m paying normal?
A: Most software providers will have some sort of maintenance increase, whether it’s annual or every few years. 5% is a pretty fair increase year over year if you’re continuing to get the maintenance and support you need. Normal maintenance costs shouldn’t exceed 20% year over year unless you’ve bought additional software or functionality.
If you’ve been grandfathered into a lower maintenance cost and the vendor’s business can no longer support that, you might encounter higher-than-average maintenance costs one year. If you’re seeing high increases every year, however, that sounds like the vendor cares more about their bottom line than about your partnership.
A good gut check if you have a large maintenance increase is to evaluate if the value of your software also increased proportionally. If you haven’t gotten more features, better support, or increased functionality, it might be time to reevaluate your provider.
Q: Why is my vendor charging double or triple last year’s maintenance?
A: One of the easiest ways for your vendor to increase revenue is to simply milk the customer base for more money, without changing what the customer is getting at all. In instances where vendors hit customers with 100%, 200%, or 300% maintenance increases, it’s almost always because they’ve recently taken on funding or sold to the highest bidder – and the investors want to see the bottom line improve. For existing customers, that means squeezing out profits at your cost. Because scheduling software is typically integral to operations and takes some effort to replace, vendors do this with the expectation that companies will have no choice but to renew.
If you’ve had one year of high maintenance increases, you might be wondering what to expect in the coming years. You might think that since they’ve increased your maintenance by a large amount one time that the next increase will be reasonable. Typically, that’s not the case. The large increase should be an alarm bell that the vendor sees you as a source of income instead of a partnership to be nurtured.
Q: How can I avoid large maintenance increases?
A: Because these large maintenance increases are often last-minute changes, it can be hard to predict whether one is going to occur. The best case is to always ensure you’re in a good spot with your software by performing yearly Sustainability Evaluations. If you’re not prepared for a move and get hit with an unjustifiable maintenance increase, the best option is to find a new partner who is capable of helping you migrate you off your old system. The cost might rise a bit initially, but working with a good vendor will be more than worth it in the years to come.
Why JAMS is different
- We’re consistently updating our product with new features, and those updates come to customers as part of their regular maintenance, with no extra charges to download the latest version of the software.
- While JAMS maintenance increases are in line with (or often lower than) the competition, what you get with JAMS maintenance is a cut above.
- The support you receive from JAMS will be top-notch from day 1 – just ask our current customers! JAMS support engineers are committed to your success, and it shows.
- The JAMS team has migrated hundreds of organizations and has the tools and expertise to make sure your migration goes smoothly. See how it worked in this case study.