I have a great money-saving tip for you: Don’t fall for the maintenance scam. Let me explain: When you buy enterprise software, you pay a yearly maintenance fee. The vendor uses this fee to provide top-notch customer support and improve the product for their customers. When these fees are used correctly, it helps the customer: They receive great support and a constantly improving product.
But, not every vendor uses these funds appropriately. While they do provide customer support, many fail to improve the product. Instead, they take those maintenance fees from their customers and use them to build new products and upgrades.
Now, that may sound bad enough, but it gets worse. These vendors then turn around and try to sell their current customers the new products and upgrades that were funded by their own maintenance fees. In other words, you’re stuck buying products you paid to develop. That’s the maintenance scam.
How do you avoid vendors like this? Here are a couple of tips: First, before you make a purchase, ask to see a list of software updates. They should have a running list of updates somewhere on their site. Second, ask to speak with a current customer. When you speak with that customer, ask them how frequently the vendor releases product updates and whether or not they try to sell new upgrades.
One more thing: Don’t let a vendor try to push updates off as upgrades. Software updates and software upgrades are two very different things and should be listed in two different places on their site. For example, here’s a list of our product upgrades, and here’s another list of our product updates. Product updates include bug fixes and small adjustments. Upgrades actually add new features and new capabilities to the software.