By Preeya Selvarajah, Services Marketing Manager
Are support contracts essential? Why should you consider purchasing support? How do you perceive the value of support services?
There are many reasons why support is a worthwhile investment...but mostly it comes down to an assessment of risk vs. cost.
What do I mean by this?
We can describe the product support value proposition as being based on four key elements:
- Mitigation of the impact of failures (i.e. minimizing productivity loss in your operations)
- Increased availability, improved uptime, stability and reliability (i.e. reduced risk)
- Achieving a greater return from your technology investment
- Internal cost savings or reduction in the total cost of support
Essentially the support investment gives you leverage should something go wrong. It is an insurance policy.
Hardware or software failure could result in downtime that is critical and negatively impacts your business. Without a support contract attached to valuable assets, your business could incur exorbitant technical support fees and additional costs, while also facing the potential for significant loss in revenue. When you weigh it up, the risks far outweigh the initial cost of the support contract and could potentially cost you a lot more in the long run. So investing in support is definitely worthwhile. Our recommendation is that no asset should go uncovered.
Recent research statistics from the Association of Support Professionals show that there are varied reasons for investing in support:
- 40% buy support for the product enhancements provided by the software developer or equipment manufacturer, whilst also enjoying the security of having the manufacturer or code writers providing support
- 35% buy support to achieve maximum uptime or high availability
- 25% buy support to avoid financial surprises (the insurance policy)
However, it is also important to acknowledge that increasingly, support purchases are not being viewed as just an insurance policy. Tangible value is expected from the investment.
There are some innovative service offerings that can add increasing value to your business, such as:
- Preventative support (as opposed to reactive). You don't just want a support provider who is good at fixing things when they break/fail. You want a provider that helps you to avoid the pain/inconvenience in the first place.
- Product value optimization. Helping you extract maximum value from your technology investment and accelerate time to ROI (i.e. getting the biggest bang for your buck).
- Better end-user experience. Providing you with sophisticated tools for fast and easy self-support (e.g. an intuitive Support Portal with extensive knowledge resources for troubleshooting and resolving issues; access to expert engineers via Live Chat; online case management; social communities for peer-to-peer support; mobile Support app and more...) thereby helping you to help your users to be more productive.
So to answer the question I posed at the start of this post...I believe support contracts are an invaluable asset. And not just because it is better to be safe than sorry!
Do you agree? How do you quantify the value of support in your business? We welcome your thoughts or comments.