ERP Maintenance, between need and necessity

Date: 20-01-2011
Author: Bit Software

Users of Enterprise Resource Planing systems (ERP) know that the contract of purchase and completing the implementation of the solution does not mean breaking ties with IT solution provider, only passing to a new stage: entry into operation of the ERP solution and establish a relationship with the technical support from the supplier. In other words, maintenance.

This involves, simplifying things, that the user has access to new versions of ERP solutions launched by provider (which include functional improvements, legislative updates and software patches) and also receive a guaranteed response time and resolution of incidents and personalized helpdesk service.

Regardless of company providing IT solution, the access to ERP system maintenance is done based on an annual subscription, and there are several types of support contracts, each containing a specific number and type of services offered. In other words, each customer can choose their maintenance subscription that suits him best, that best answer, in terms of supply / price, to its real needs.

Ok, I'd say, I understood what maintenance and costs involved. But why I must pay every year? Maybe I did not need every year nearly 99% of new functionality of a new version and have no incidents involving provider`s technical support staff. From my point of view, as user of ERP, it would throw some money elsewhere, money that I could invest it in something else.

Unfortunately, things can not be regarded as simple. The existence of a maintenance contract is, somehow, like CASCO insurance: gives you the peace of mind to think only in the development and profitability of your business. Why? Because the absence of maintenance contract can make that the ERP solution implemented on your company does not operate at its full capacity and, as such, do not give all the surplus value that you expect. Plus, given the high volatility of the Romanian legal system of accounting and tax matters, use an ERP system up to legislative date can be fatal to your business. Also, since the interruption of the maintenance contract, the user will no longer have access to periodic upgrades, which are usually features to improve workflow, based on feedback from customers. And that can make you to no longer be able to keep up with your competition, affecting the whole business.

Then, like any businessman who looks to the future, you want your business to grow. And the new needs that arise with this development can not be supported by an ERP whose features have remained current. And in this case, you will need to change the whole ERP system, and costs will certainly be several times higher than the annual maintenance subscription.

These are some of the effects on your business of implementing an ERP solution not followed by a maintenance and support contract. But the list is longer and I let you to fill it.