Better than an insurance policy: Maintenance agreements give peace of mind

Barb ClearyIn every organization, one can find someone who continues to use old versions of major software programs long after everyone else has upgraded several times, not wanting to move outside a comfort zone that’s worked well, perhaps for years. It may be that he or she is not even aware that newer versions of the software—with features that may make life easier—are available and offer painless transition. Or oblivious to his or her status as a butt of MIS jokes about old fogeys using 10-year-old software.

Why upgrade, after all, if you have software that works? And why purchase a maintenance agreement if you’ve never had any problems that you couldn’t work out by calling your tech-savvy nephew in Chicago? After all, upgrade and maintenance agreements involve expense and paperwork, and force you to keep track of the multiple software programs that you use. And you may never have a question for a technical support analyst (especially if your nephew continues to help). Why bother?

Sometimes it takes only one incident—a breakdown of an antiquated security patch in the face of a new virus threat, for example—to make it clear that software needs to be upgraded on a regular basis.

Software maintenance agreements, pioneered by Microsoft and offered by most software developers, actually simplify software use, rather than adding complexity. For one thing, if a maintenance agreement provides automatic upgrades of the software, users have peace of mind, knowing that their programs are up to date.

Many see maintenance agreements as a kind of warranty or insurance policy—if there’s a problem, a tech support analyst will be available for troubleshooting. Your household insurance, after all, is something you hope you’ll never have to use. But maintenance agreements offer far more than this insurance paradigm. Since technical support is offered without cost in the maintenance contract for some software programs (including all software developed by PQ Systems), a user is more likely to call or email with a simple question or clarification, or to ask for help with a specific application of the software, rather than waiting for disaster to strike. The “tips and tricks” that make software especially friendly will become part of the dialogue with your tech support representative, whose enthusiasm for the newest versions will make him or her especially eager to help you use them.

Even within an organization, users find that their company’s MIS support is far more agreeable when everyone is on the same page with the latest version of a software program. After all, these troubleshooters have to provide comfort for all kinds of software issues in a variety of programs. They’ll make your life easier if you try to be on the same team.

PQ Systems takes a great deal of pride in its technical support team, whose members respond to calls “live,” for the most part (95%, in recent analysis of call data), or return message calls within a half hour or less. Or, if you prefer, there’s the “live chat” option to communicate with a member of the tech support team, as well as email responses or text messages, if you choose. For those with current maintenance agreements, these team members are on call to help not only with software challenges, but often with statistical concepts, database issues, and other questions that may come up. If you own a PQ Systems software product, your maintenance agreement entitles you to technical support for that product, and to automatic upgrades as the product continues to improve and develop. You’ll know that you’re ahead of the game with these upgrades.

And anyway, you probably don’t want to face the risk of becoming the butt of MIS jokes and old fogey remarks for holding on to your old system. Peer pressure isn’t just for adolescents any more.

2 thoughts on “Better than an insurance policy: Maintenance agreements give peace of mind

  1. Please correct me if I am wrong, but it seems like every time I did an upgrade for Chartrunner, it ould uninstall the previous version and install a new version. I would lose all of my parameters for special causes or trends for graphs and all of the physical settings for the graphs. I would have to redo them every time. That is why I do not like to upgrade.

    • Jane,

      When you upgrade from an older version to a newer version, either major or minor release, your data and charts should not be lost or changed in any way. A typical install will replace the CHARTrunner executable and other CHARTrunner specific files, as well as our sample charts, but your “user created” charts should not have been affected. Obviously the way it should work and your experience are different. I recommend that the next time you upgrade your software, please contact our technical support group in advance so that we can create a backup and observe what might be occurring. If you prefer, reach out to me directly, Matt@PQSystems.com

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