Milestone 'CARES' About End UsersBy Ethan Ace, Published Jun 16, 2015, 12:00am EDT
Milestone has announced CARE which they tout cryptically as "Service Offerings for Continuous Return on Investment."
If you are familiar with Software Upgrade Plan (SUP), their previous program, this is SUP with more tiers.
In this note, we explain the CARE program, how it compares to the previous Software Upgrade Plan, and potential impact on end users, integrators, and Milestone themselves.
Milestone's SUP program offered two key benefits to XProtect users:
- Free new releases: Users carrying a valid SUP on their system were entitled to new major version releases (8.0 to 8.1, 8.1 to 2013, etc.) at no additional charge. Those without SUPs needed to pay full price (or purchase a SUP) in order to upgrade.
- 100% Trade In Value: Users with current SUPs upgrading from one version of XProtect to a higher tier (e.g., Professional to Enterprise) receive a 100% credit for their existing licenses, paying only the difference in cost between the two versions. Users without SUPs receive only 30% of total value on this trade in.
Users could purchase a SUP at any time, not only at the time of purchase, as in some systems.
CARE vs SUP
The chart below outlines what is included in each Care plan. Users may see this brochure for more details on what is included at each level.
- Care Basic is included with all Milestone offerings at no charge, offering all the benefits (or lack thereof) users without SUPs previously received: basic support (via certified integrators, not direct) and maintenance releases (no major version upgrades).
- Care Plus offers the same services as Milestone's previous SUP program, includes new major releases at no additional charge, and a customer dashboard showing system health.
- Care Premium and Elite include services listed under "Problem Resolution" (24/7 and localized support, response and resolution times, etc.), which were previously not formally offered by Milestone (though some large accounts may have received them informally).
CARE essentially changes nothing for the bottom two tiers, simply renaming the SUP program to Care Plus, or lack of SUP in the case of Basic.
Premium and Elite add new paid benefits which some users may find beneficial, such as 24/7 and localized support (neither of which were previously available), priority handling, and committed response times. However, it is very likely many large end users (with hundreds or thousands of XProtect channels) were already demanding and receiving these benefits under the SUP program, at no additional charge.
Smaller customers with deeper budgets may find these plans improve the quality of their support, as many or most of these installations would not have received such dedicated attention from Milestone. However, these customers are likely few, as many do not plan for the recurring costs of support agreements, and may in fact object to or decline paying them.
What About the Integrator?
Technical support under Premium and Elite is via Milestone directly, not the user's integrator. Some integrators may object to this, as they prefer to "own" the customer, including their support calls, fearing that direct contact with manufacturers may cut them out of sales.
Additionally, many integrators write benefits such as those found in these plans into their own support agreements. End users purchasing agreements may now question where support comes from, and why they are paying integrators for support Milestone may provide.
Where are the New Products?
Milestone teased this announcement as being an important new 'service' but it is not. These are offerings that most VMS providers offer at no additional charge for their largest customers that Milestone is now trying to charge for. Regardless of how successful they are charging here, it does not improve their product positioning.
Unfortunately, this is evidently their 'big' IFSEC announcement, following up on a weak ISC West anchored by a coupon.
It is now a year since Canon acquired Milestone and Milestone has been quiet on new product releases since.
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