Subscriber Discussion

Are Software House Maintenance Costs Really That Expensive?

Would someone tell me an idea what maintenance costs for a Software House access system look like? I have heard crazy stories about dealers refusing to work on systems not under a agreement so its like they are putting a gun to peoples head.

I have several potential customers wanting to change systems because the really high cost of maintenance agreements and just want to see if they are true.

Its about 20% of the initial cost per year which is typical with enterprise access control.

As for integrators refusing to work a system with no support agreement you have to understand that if they run into problems they can't call software house for support so they are assuming a lot of risk working on that system.

If one does not pay 20%, no support calls are allowed at all? What about on an hourly basis?

Correct. You can call in but SW House will not help you if you don't have a valid SSA. The integrator can do his best but a lot of times with certain issues such as Database coruption you need Software House.

I would think the integrator would at least make the offer of saying "Look, if you don't have a support agreement, we can still look at the problem and try to fix it, but whether we get anywhere or not we still have to charge you for the time." That way at least the customer has a choice, just be upfront and honest about it.

In my personal experience with the SSA agreements, I have found significant value in having our enterprise customers on board with an SSA. This way we can assist them on nearly any endeavor whether it be simple troubleshooting and maintenance, upgrades/updates, add ons, server or virtual moves. It comes in handy with several of our remote customers as well because I can conference call in Software House engineers and experts. In other words if its an active system and managed by an IT team, it is something I highly recommend to customers and believe it to be of value and affordable.

I've cut and pasted some info from Software House website below.

The value of mission critical software support for enterprise access control systems is of the highest importance to Software House. A Software House Software Support Agreement provides best-in-class coverage and response across integrated solutions. Software House Software Support Agreements are offered exclusively to our Authorized Integrator Network partners. Authorized integrators can be confident that Software House Technical Support Specialists will reactively troubleshoot system problems across hardware, operating systems, databases, C•CURE applications, and peripheral devices in analog and IP networks. This exclusive support provides the foundation they need to offer enterprise end-users with highly available networks.

For more detailed information about Software Support Agreements, contact Software House at (978) 577-4000.

So dealers cant typically do troubleshooting without softwarehouse experts involved? Or they cant just call support because their dealers and they have to call on a specific system with a current SSA?

I can think of tons of lines that give me support just because I'm a dearer a do a lot of installs. They don't make me sell something else so they will support me supporting my customer.

Yes dealers can troubleshoot systems without a SW House support person involved.

As for different manufactures giving you support because you are a dealer, yes some companies will do that. Kantech the sister company of SW House will do that but you have to remember SW House is an enterprise solution and because of that the cost is higher.

Many times I have been on the phone with Software House talking directly with a Software Engieer trying to resolve a bug. 2-3 Days later that same software engineer has written a custom patch for us. You will never get that kind of support from Kantech.

It really depends on the problem. Personally I would have given you that option, saying "Look you don't have an agreement, so if the problem is beyond my skill set, I can't call Software House for help, and you're still going to be billed for my time."

But if we're talking about fixing a faulty door, you don't need an SSA for that...

I have a customer that wanted a reader moved to another door. Not changed out just moved. Because they have a Ccure system without a agreement, there normal dealer just turned down the job unless they paid $3000 to bring everything current.

I am not a Ccure dealer, but I just moved everything over and the system works fine. I chanrged about $500 to do this and made it worth my time even. The customer is happy, but dosnt have the money to spend on a agreement when the dealer is holding it against them.

Let me ask this since this is a IP CCTV site. Does Genetec and Honeywell or even the new Axis system charge an agreement? I do not think they do, so why does Software house?

"Because they have a Ccure system without a agreement, there normal dealer just turned down the job unless they paid $3000 to bring everything current." That sounds like an integrator who got greedy and wanted to leverage a lack of a service agreement as an excuse to generate more business. I've seen underhanded things like that in the IT world. Good for them not being taken in and good for you fixing it.

The agreement covers any upgrade to the software. We installed a panel with options not included in our current version. The software needed an upgrade before the install.