Clients that choose to subscribe normally get a whole host of benefits.

Software Solutions Providers often offer customized support functions if their clients opt to subscribe to a Software Maintenance Agreement (SMA). Clients that choose to subscribe normally get a whole host of benefits. They get prioritized support for all service-level agreements made, first-in-line for product upgrades on chosen program solutions, a help desk, monthly system health checks, free training programs, invitations to user-conferences and webinars, flexible licensing options, etc. etc. Providers basically try to use it as a foot-in-the-door to build rapport with their customer while simultaneously using it as a platform to better deliver their services. In exchange for a commitment, the provider gives more add-on value. In the end though, especially if you as a client believe in the product the company is selling anyway, I think that the set-up is often skewed in favor of the customer.

Through the same engagement, the SMA can help qualify what kind of back-end support the customer needs. Once the desired system is up and running, every obstacle or hiccup can be addressed quickly and efficiently if the client has an SMA. Most providers deliver real-time support in an SMA to assure business up-time and system availability. The providers effectively become response teams for the client’s company. This, in turn, helps to pay customers to generate savings by not needing to hire an in-house staff to deal with the technical issues on the hardware/software requirements for the solution that they acquired. Expert solutions must come with an equal level of quality support. You can’t run Windows 10 on an IBM 610.

SMAs also open doors to becoming part of a user-community. Besides the support provided by the supplier, you can also get help from fellow users. This opportunity offers a unique advantage since it can be an avenue to exchange information and best practices with other clients that use the product or service in the same manner that you do. More knowledge equals more power, right? Functionally speaking, being backed by a community especially in providing service feedback to suppliers will most likely yield to direct action. The more involved you choose to become a provider, the more involved they have to get with you. Always check the value an SMA will deliver for your company before signing on but at its very core — the service is intended to be beneficial for both parties at all times.

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