Thanks to Jason Carter on PartnerCompete and the Microsoft team for this insightful piece on the cost and value of maintenance and support contracts.
In a tight economy the big vendors are coming under more scrutiny regarding their maintenance fees and what customers receive for those fees, Microsoft says it does better than the other guys, particularly Oracle and SAP.
According to the article, Oracle gets the vast majority of its profits from maintenance contracts. Some say that customers get comparatively little in return. SAP recently tried to force a major maintenance/support price increase on its enterprise customers. It backed off (sort of) after customers complained and they got a lot of bad PR, but the "concession" it announced apparently varies little from the original intent.
Here’s Microsoft’s approach (in Microsoft’s words) to maintenance and support contracts:
Our customers tell us they want more choice and flexibility in their maintenance and support plans. We recognize that one size does not fit all. Here are some ways in which Microsoft Dynamics differs from what Oracle and SAP offer:
Microsoft Dynamics offers the option to purchase maintenance and support separately
For Microsoft’s suite of Dynamics ERP products , of which Microsoft Dynamics GP is the flagship application, after the initial purchase, Microsoft Dynamics offers maintenance and support separately so customers can make the right choice in the area of support based on their budget, specific business needs, and other requirements. Customers can get support directly from Microsoft or from a broad partner ecosystem that can address local verticalization and on-site needs. SAP and Oracle require customers to purchase support and maintenance together, making it a higher cost option for the customer.
More value with Microsoft Dynamics maintenance plan
We provide more core value in our maintenance plan for a lower price. For instance, as part of our maintenance plan, we provide customers unlimited access to eLearning. Individual partners also provide live, local training on Dynamics GP.
Customers can also benefit from 24 hour self-support options, allowing them to efficiently solve issues on their own or through communities. Additionally, as part of our maintenance plan, customers get a minimum of 10 years of lifecycle support, longer than whatOracle and SAP offer.
For those customers on a current Business Ready Enhancement Plan (BREP), Microsoft continues to add more value to their investments. For example, new online services, such as payment services, can be attached to the Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions.
Microsoft invests several billion dollars a year in research and development - $9.5 billion in fiscal 2010 alone. As part of its commitment to customers’ long term success, Microsoft Dynamics products have one of the top 5 R&D budgets across Microsoft. This investment, along with 25 years of experience and a strong partner network, helps support Microsoft Dynamics customers worldwide.
Lastly, Oracle and SAP expect customers to pay more for maintenance and support each year. When Microsoft Dynamics customers stay current on enhancement, the original purchase price will serve as the basis on which we calculate their future Business Ready Enhancement Plan re-enrollments.
While other vendors, such as Oracle, have chosen to de-invest, we are building up our self-help communities in which customers, partners, and Microsoft employees participate. On average, we’re seeing about 1,000 new participants each month. Of the 100,000 visitors to our community site each month that benefit from content and support, about a third of those are registered members who have contributed to 26,000 threads and 30,000 posts which are essentially self-help conversations.Submitted by Altico Advisors, Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner for Manufacturing and Distribution serving New Hampshire (NH)
By Altico Advisors, your New Hampshire Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner
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