As writers of bespoke software ourselves, we understand a core truth, application complexity drives up support costs.
You start with a simple application, it is well designed, tightly written, logical. You’ve spent a lot of time ensuring that the business process is well represented in the code, supporting this application should be straightforward and so you are happy to fix the support costs.
Then the users get involved, the use cases that weren’t fully described (or even understood) when the specification was written climb out of the woodwork and change orders begin.
At first these are minor tweaks, “add an option here”, “add a new report there”, “add another security profile” etc. However, over time this becomes a release 2 problem, then release 3 and so on. The application is now significantly more complex than it was when launched. Not only that, the code has struggled to maintain the clarity of release 1 as more and more hands have touched it and modified the logic. It may even have become more buggy, it certainly will cost more to support, problems will take longer to understand and debug, application response performance will suffer and become harder to remedy.
This story happens with all but the simplest applications as they move from youth to middle age and before version 2 (a substantive re-factor or re-write) is required. The challenge in this process is not dealing with the changes, it is all about making enough money on the support side to provide acceptable service without going broke.
This is where consideration of feature development including incremental support fees come in. This helps you ensure that as complexity is added, this is seamlessly reflected in increasing support fees. Whether each feature is fixed price or time and materials, the contract needs to allow you to add correctly proportioned incremental support so that you don’t end up a victim of the complexity curve.
HarmonyPSA’s product modelling allows you to sell on a development plus support basis. It controls both the delivery of the feature, and separately, the switching on of the support increment, automatically generating incremental invoicing and managing the deferred revenue bookings for you. Now you will always be able to maintain the right level of support billing without any external tracking or clumsy manual processing.
If you would like to know more about how HarmonyPSA can help you maintain your support margins, call us and we will be pleased to explain.
About the Author: Harmony Business Systems Ltd (HBS) is the company behind HarmonyPSA, the most complete cloud PSA software on the market. Developed with functionality to cater for even the most complex needs of MSPs, VARs, ISVs and Professional Services organisations, HarmonyPSA truly is the next generation of PSA systems. HBS is an independent company based in the UK. Follow HarmonyPSA on Twitter