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Why Do I Pay ERP Software Annual Maintenance AND Upgrade Services?

Why Do I Pay ERP Software Annual Maintenance AND Upgrade Services?
ERP Software Maintenance

As ERP consultants who support several ERP software systems, we are commonly asked question:  Why should I pay an annual maintenance subscription to the Publisher and also for the value added resellers (VAR) services to perform the upgrade. Most customers understand the importance of maintaining their ERP software investment with a current maintenance plan. This provides all software enhancements and product updates that are released throuought the year along with tax table updates.  Usually software Publishers work to release one significant upgrade each year.  An update is a release of the software that is most often fixing or patching bugs that showed up in the last major upgrade.  Usually, there are several updates following a major upgrade as issues are identified well after the software upgrade is tested in the real world.  We advise our customers to check with us first to decide whether or not it is a good time to install updates and upgrades.  We consider the fixes the update brings and the impact the added features or changes in the software upgrade will have on each business.  

In our 20+ years of helping customers, most everyone agrees that it's always best to check with your trusted VAR before installing any updates or upgrades.  The VAR willl give you their opinion based on what they know about the release.  Our upgrade services help customers with the technical and sometimes complicated process to install the upgrade, migrate historical data, and update all customizations and reports.  At first the difference may seem confusing, but once the details are explained, customers understand the difference between paying the Publisher for a maintenance plan and paying a VAR to help install the upgrades.

Stay Current on Your ERP Software Annual Maintenance and Receive the Benefits:

ERP Publishers utilize the annual maintenance dollars to better enhance and develop their software package to provide new functionality to customers.  When you are current on maintenance you are entitled to:

  • Automatically receive product updates including:
    • All new version upgrades and enhancements
    • Bug Fixes and/or Hot fixes
    • Payroll and Tax Table Updates (if applicable)
    • Updates to the 1099 and W2 forms (if applicable)
  • Hardware and software compatibility
    • Is your ERP application running an old server? Are you still on Office 2003 or Windows XP? As your business grows, the demand for new hardware and software will inevitably grow as well. It is important to stay current on ERP maintenance and on the latest version, because over time you will need to purchase new hardware/software and Publishers no longer support the antiquated hardware/software from years back. It is important to keep in mind that Publishers typically support the current version and only 1 to 2 versions prior. 
  • Knowledge Base
    • Most all ERP Publishers have some type of online Knowledge Base that includes commonly asked questions and respective answers for support on their ERP system. Many customers are not aware of how to access this extremely valuable and free resource. 
  • Community Forms
    • Many software systems also have online Community Forum where a gathering of all end users, partners, and the publisher have a common meeting space on the web to post questions, topics, and share ideas. 

What’s the Difference Between a Maintenance Plan and the ERP Software Upgrade Process?

So why do you incur additional costs when you reach out to your VAR to assist with the upgrade process? If your company does not have the expertise to perform the upgrade in-house, typically it is required to bring in a technical resource with the right expertise to assist with the process, and with that service comes a premium. There are many steps that need to be taken in a specific order to ensure that the upgrade is performed correctly and that all data is migrated without issues. There are also several considerations that must be taken into account before applying the upgrade to your environment:

  • Is your current hardware/software supported with the new version? Will you have to purchase new hardware/software?
  • Do you have any third party applications or integrations that need to be updated along with the ERP application?
  • Do you have any customizations or reports that may be affected and/or wipped out by the upgrade if proper planning is not conducted?
  • What are the new features and enhancements and how can they be utilized to achieve more efficiency and effectiveness for my company?

Once all these considerations are taken into account, risks are mitigated and a plan designed then the upgrade process can occur. Most often, soliciting your VAR is the best approach to ensure your upgrade goes as smoothly as possible.

The benefit of staying current on a maintenance plan is obviously valuable in more ways than one; however it is equally important to apply those software updates and enhancements to your environment to ensure you are taking advantage of the benefits of the entire software package. If you are wondering if you are taking advantage of all the benefits of your maintenance plan, and or to confirm you are on the latest version of your ERP system, contact your VAR today: www.ASIsucceed.comor (970) 419-3210.

Katie Jo Cordes began working with ASI in October 2008, coming to us from the College of Business where she studied Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing.  Katie Jo acts as Project Manager and works intimately with customers to understand their requirements and to coordinate the appropriate resources to provide additional functionality within their appropriate ERP software system.  She enjoys working with customers to deliver a solution while keeping the project plan and budget in order. Katie Jo has worked with every product line in the ASI family including Sage 100, Sage 500, Sage X3 ERP,  SageCRM, SYSPRO and Microsoft Dynamics AX.  To contact Katie Jo or find about more about what her team at ASI can do for your business visit www.ASISucceed.com.  

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