What is Software Maintenance and Why Should I Pay for It?

Back in the early days of PC software, you had to purchase programs that came on installer disks or disk sets. You would use those programs until they were no longer needed, or until an upgrade became available. If software was buggy, you had to wait to repurchase the next version from developers.

Often, software programs had certain compatibility requirements, like a particular operating system or version of tools like MATLAB.  If requirements weren’t met, the software may not work properly, if at all. This was frustrating. Especially if you wanted to update your operating system or other tools. Doing this could mean waiting for a compatible software release or repurchasing expensive software to meet your new requirements.

software diskThis wasn’t just frustrating for customers. It was frustrating for software vendors. Even if vendors created compatible software variants, the process of storing and shipping installer disks to customers was expensive and time-consuming. It didn’t take long to see that the technological evolution outpaced this process. Everyone–customers and software vendors alike–needed a better, expedited process. Then came the dawn of the internet age.

software maintenance laptop

Better for Customers, Better for Software Vendors

Today, you no longer need disks as you can access files from anywhere, at any time on the internet. Because of this, software development is booming, with programs growing more and more complex as they respond to customer feedback and needs at a much faster pace.

laptopNow that software versions are rolling out faster than ever, a pre-internet version-by-version software payment model no longer works. Vendors find themselves facing a new challenge:

How can we get the latest versions of our software to customers, while keeping prices reasonable?

One solution many turn to is a payment model known as software maintenance.

What is Software Maintenance?

Instead of paying for each new major software release separately, customers purchase a software license where they can pay a flat, scheduled “software maintenance fee.” For many licenses – similar to the ones we use at New Eagle for our Raptor tools – the first year of software maintenance is included.  

This maintenance payment model assures that your original license investment keeps its value while providing you access to the latest software releases, features, and tool versions. The maintenance fee becomes a fraction of the original license cost after the first year and allows you to continue to keep your software up-to-date and maintain your license value.  

Keeping your maintenance current provides access to standard product support for the interval under which the product is generally supported.  At New Eagle, our software products include support to customers with active software maintenance for up to two years’ worth of prior releases.  As an example, if the current Raptor release level is 2018b, support is included for Raptor versions 2017a and newer.

Raptor Releases
However, even if you are using an older release outside of the two-year window, support (while not included) can still be purchased through an application engineering support contract. This is not unusual for our customers that are in production as tool versions may be locked down based for risk management issues.

Why Choose Maintenance with Engineering Support?

Many customers choose to purchase engineering support to cover what is not included with standard product support. They do this to maximize their efforts and reduce their cost. This approach helps you get the most out of your engineering team and engineering  software products for three key reasons:

  1. These complex software tools have a learning curve. Engineering support can help you overcome any challenges you meet.  
  2. These tools have a lot of detail. Sometimes an experienced sounding-board is helpful for understanding what capabilities are at your fingertips.
  3. Engineers that use these tools are expensive. Keeping your engineering team moving forward with access to experienced practitioners can help them navigate both the tools and your application issues quickly so your team can maximize their time and minimize your project’s labor cost.

In short, software maintenance and engineering support is the most cost-effective way to protect your software investment and gain the most value from products like Raptor.

New Eagle has qualified developers and engineers readily available to help you get the most out of powerful tools and prevent expensive project-hold ups due to software knowledge gaps. We always recommend that customers keep their maintenance up to date so they have access to the latest features, fixes, and support. If you are a Raptor user, be sure to contact us to ensure your software is up to date.

To learn more about software maintenance fees,  engineering support, or New Eagle’s Raptor platform, contact our team or watch the introduction to Raptor below.