Software Support Plans – Are they worth it?

I had someone ask me the other day if they should bother purchasing the annual software support plan if they never call the vendor for support. It’s a good questions since the support plan isn’t cheap. Unlike insurance for your car or house, where it’ll be replaced or repaired if something happens, software support plans cover tech support and software upgrades. If you don’t ever call for support, and are happy with your software the way it is, then what’s the problem with letting the plan lapse? For the most part, there isn’t a problem with it. Many people keep their laptops and software running for several years and are fine. However, then MIcrosoft introduces a new operating system, and your laptop breaks so you are forced to purchase a new laptop, with the new operating system on it, and your old software won’t run on the new setup. What then? When you call the vendor and request a version of the software that will run with the new setup, they’ll let you know that you need to pay for the years you let the contract go before you can get the new upgrade. In this, I’m referring to the CAT vendors, not necessarily other software vendors, though for the most part, with other software vendors you don’t have to purchase support plans, you can pay for the calls as you need them and even pay for the upgrades at a greatly reduced cost of the regular program. CAT vendors are different though. Their market is much smaller than the general public, since they are in a niche market, so once they sell their software, they don’t have a lot of people going in daily to purchase more software. What the contract price allows the vendor to do is to pay it’s programmers to make the software work better and more efficiently. Without the money from the users, it’s much harder for the vendor to make improvements, which ultimately makes your job easier. I know it’s hard to justify the cost of the plan when you’re writing that check, but in the long run, by improving the software and making upgrades available to you, it will help you in the end. Besides, you’re going to have to pay the cost the next time you need to upgrade your hardware/software.


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