|There will always be a requirement for software support for end-users, whether that support is merely telephone assistance in the initial few months of use of a new software program, which type of support is provided by most ‘shrink wrap’ software suppliers or whether it be on-going assistance not only in “bug” fixing but also in satisfying the end-user’s individual requirements. The latter comprehensive support is the type provided for in this contract.
Support services can be a significant generator of regular revenue in addition to being a continued source of after sales contact with end-users. This direct contact with end-users is important for the purposes of receiving feed-back on “bugs” or deficiencies in the software. In addition, such direct contact forms the most immediate customer base for the purposes of “selling” new software, enhancements or consultancy services.
This contract provides for a “Help Desk” or “Hot Line” facility where telephone staff first determine if the problem is “operator error”, (which can be most frequent in the first few months of use of new software); or whether there is indeed a software “bug” or defect which requires a ‘fix’.
If it is a ‘bug’, then the telephone support operator must determine if a temporary “fix” is sufficient or if a programmer will either have to be sent on-site to diagnose the problem or, if there is a modem at the end-user’s location, the programmer can diagnose the problem by accessing the software on the end-user’s system and downloading a fix.
In addition, the Contract provides for the above support services during normal working hours and, if the customer’s business requires support beyond such hours, out-of-hours and weekend support can be included up to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The contract can also provide that support calls are responded to within a specific/guaranteed number of hours.
The Contract also offers optional support terms, such as response times to fault calls, a discount on the support charge if all CPUs or concurrent users are at the same location, or offer to support other software at the same location.
However, such can be the cost of providing such support, that many software authors and software houses prefer to sub-contract this service to a third-party support organisation. This contract can be used by either.