Why are WMS software maintenance and support fees critical to your overall solution? Here are the four key benefits this coverage provides.
When you purchase a warehouse management system (WMS), maintenance and support fees are a critical element of your software solution. Simply put, such coverage plays an important role in the continued development of your WMS.
Author Robert Glass explains the importance of software maintenance in his 2002 book, Facts & Fallacies of Software Engineering: “Maintenance typically consumes 40 to 80 percent of software costs. It is probably the most important software lifecycle phase.” Some Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) WMS providers market their products as maintenance- and support-free services. “No additional fees required” sounds like a great deal until you weigh your software selection against your overall business plan. Will your WMS software evolve with your business?
The fact is that software vendors today must constantly innovate and evolve their offerings in the face of rapid technological change and demanding customer requirements. Your business must be agile enough to respond nimbly to market forces, yet intelligent enough to forecast the effect emerging technologies will have on your industry.
4 Key Ways Maintenance and Support Fees Enable Your Business
1. Fixing software issues
Support fees help handle any major software issues you might run into, as well as keeping your software solution under warranty.
Support fees provide you with peace-of-mind when you encounter issues in your software solution. Your software has a warranty, like you might see with a vehicle or an appliance, which lasts for a certain period of time.
Paul Patin, Vice President of Technology at Accelogix explains why it is crucial to keep your vendor software support up to date.
“It is important to remember that software vendors typically discontinue support for releases after a few years, just like Microsoft eventually discontinues support for Windows versions. Even if you pay support and maintenance fees, you must upgrade every few years to take full advantage of your investment and maintain full vendor support coverage.”
Support fees help handle any major software issues you might run into, as well as keeping your software solution under warranty. If you do not include support fees as part of your solution you will not have the ability to reach out to your software vendor to request assistance.
2. Improving software performance
Software is not a static resource. Improved hardware and database technology, as well as demands on your information systems, will provide new challenges to your business. This requires continued software production and development. SaaS providers must respond to the market as well, which means that your pricing plan includes paying for that work so the product remains competitive.
Incorporating maintenance fees into your software solution allows you to upgrade your software to newer versions as they are released. If you forego maintenance fees with your solution, you will have to pay full market price for any upgrades you wish to install. This threatens to reduce your return on investment (ROI).
3. Adapting to your business environment
It’s vital to keep your WMS in tune with your company’s changing business requirements and the myriad business rules written into your software logic. Regulatory and compliance issues may require you to change workflows or processes in the future.
Regular maintenance and support updates can keep your software up to date and provide you the ability to stay compliant and competitive. Without the ability to adapt to the changes your business faces on day to day basis, your company opens the door to potential market disruption.
4. Reducing overall software costs
With maintenance and support fees, you have the ability to control your overall software costs moving forward. Such fees will be a fixed cost, either monthly or annual expenses that you can plan for within your budget.
Patin relates the importance of including proper planning when it comes to long term company growth.
“New WMS releases usually include enhanced platform capabilities and optimized business processes that can help your operation scale to company growth. While your vendor or a third-party partner can almost always adapt your release to suit your business needs, development costs can be reduced by monitoring product road maps and planning your upgrade path.”
If you decide to not add these fees on at the start, there is no way to control how much your software maintenance and support fees might cost in the long run. By being proactive you will have greater control over your finances, allowing you to focus on improving other aspects of your business.
Accelogix provides value-added supply chain IT support services for small and midmarket enterprises. If you would like more information about our support services for JDA RedPrairie, fill out our short contact us form and we’ll get back with you shortly.
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