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Why should I Pay for Annual Enhancement?

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 by Rosita Goetz

Typically, when you purchase any kind of software, you will notice an additional charge included for annual enhancement.  A question we often get from new clients is, must we pay for that? The short answer is: you absolutely should.

After the first year, the annual enhancement fee is no longer mandatory, but is the risk of not updating worth it? While the annual enhancement component of a software package increases overall cost, it is a crucial component that protects your investment and ensures that your software is always maintained and optimized to its utmost potential. It’s essentially your software insurance.

What does the fee cover?

While items covered in the annual enhancement fee can vary slightly depending on the software, most annual enhancement fees cover at least the following:

  • New Product Releases, Services Packs, Hot Fixes, Software Updates, etc. There is a reason the fee is called an enhancement fee. It covers anything and everything that’s considered software enhancement or improvement. To put it simply, by staying current on your software enhancements, you get the latest and the greatest of product updates (including security patches which alone are worth the fee) and new versions. With an annual enhancement fee rolled into your software package, you can upgrade versions and update newly released features as they come at no extra cost.
  • Resolution of potential Bug Fixes – this is important to understand. Say you experience a bug in the system but your software lapsed and you are not current on the enhancements. In such cases, any resolution will cost you money. However, if you are up to date on your enhancement, the bug should be fixed at no cost.
  • Access to Training Materials/Forums – many software providers maintain various client forums, that include training materials, knowledge base, professionally managed forums and similar. These are always available for all end users who are current on their enhancements.

These are only a few main benefits that should encourage you to keep your software current and safe, so don’t let it lapse and leave yourself vulnerable to the potential risks and security breaches of not being up to date.

Can I lapse until I need an upgrade?

Our suggestion here is: don’t be cheap. This will cost you more money in the long run. You will be exposed to risks during the time you are lapsed in addition to having to pay penalties for lapsed period or, even worse, needing to buy a new version at a full price. Lastly, many software companies, like Microsoft, have strict lapsed software policies that will prevent you from purchasing additional users, modules or even getting support.

What’s not included?

A lot of times end software users seem to be confused as to what is covered by the annual fee and what’s not. It is very important to understand that software enhancement is not the equivalent to software support. Professional services and technical support are not usually covered. If you don’t know how to run a report, that would be handled by technical support as a service. However, if your software has a bug that prevents it from operating properly, the resolution would be covered by your annual enhancement fee.

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