Tuesday, August 19, 2008

changes in software maintenance

There appears to be a growing revolt against the boilerplate approach to software maintenance pricing(see zdnet). As a vendor, I appreciate how much revenue this draws in. At the same time from a customer standpoint it can be a challenge in today's cost-cutting environment.

The idea of declining fees or a customer-specific agreement are an interesting and at the same time troubling idea.

Successful software companies are often judged on their maintenance revenue. A company relying on just implementation dollars could be considered a consulting company. This will change the way software companies are valued, and force them to create new

Is the customer actively applying updates?
Is the customer constantly calling for support or new enhancements?
Perhaps the fee would be based on some level of activity metric. Do you have new users entering the system? Rolling out a new phase?

Maybe some sort of rolling average factoring support calls, implementations and active users.

This seems to ring true as a better way to provide value to clients. At the same time this adds much more complexity to software maintenance. It would almost sound like an annual negotiation process between vendor and client debating on the merits of their app usage. A reasonable process could keep clients who can't justify the baseline maintenance fee given their usage.

Is this a necessary evolution vendor nightmare?

Related Links:
http://blogs.zdnet.com/Howlett/?p=459

are police the answer to the homeless question?

There's a report today about how the Chinatown Business Improvement Area has hired private security to get rid of panhandlers. The toronto council is being called out for not meeting the needs of the city.

"City council should be putting more cops on the streets to address this!"

I don't know if that's the answer. Maybe I'm too far down the left-wing but using cops / security to remove panhandlers is a response to a symptom without any regard for the cause. Adding cops is just a nimby attitude.

One response was to highlight how McDs & Timmy's are actively recruiting (TV & Radio spots) for employees thus people must be Choosing to panhandle. When you're of no fixed address I suppose it's difficult to receive a call for an interview. I also wonder how open managers are to the idea of hiring people down on their luck, since homeless are normally treated as criminals. To me the idea that panhandlers make more money than a legitimate job seems laughable. It reeks of rationalization by a society too eager to step over anyone rather than lend a hand. I'm sure like everything to do with money there are those that can exploit a set of circumstances to their advantage. I would say these con-men are the outliers not the norm.

I wonder if there've been anyone like Sudhir Venkatesh to do an in-depth study on the homeless to better understand the issues.

Related Links:
http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/reprint/167/5/477.pdf
http://tinyurl.com/5cjnj8