Should You Invest in a Microsoft Dynamics Annual Maintenance Plan?
When you purchase an on-premise version of Microsoft Dynamics, you’ll be charged for the software itself plus one year of maintenance. The first year is mandatory, but in subsequent years you have a choice to continue the annual maintenance plan (also referred to as an enhancement plan) or let it lapse. The fee for the annual maintenance plan is a percentage based on your software’s original purchase price.
Because the annual maintenance plan costs continue even after the software has been paid for, customers naturally want to know what value they’ll get from continuing the plan. Is it necessary, and is it worth the cost?
We believe the annual maintenance plan is absolutely necessary. The price of the plan covers software updates which are critical to your overall security plan. With security breaches on the rise and threats coming from many directions, you can’t be too careful in protecting your operating systems and critical business operations. Keeping up to date with your software developer’s recommendations just makes good business sense.
Plan details and options
There are various plans to choose from, depending on the needs of your business:
• Business Ready Enhancement Plan (16%) – GP, SL, NAV, AX, and CRM
• Business Ready Advantage Plan (18%) – GP, SL, NAV, and CRM
• Business Ready Advantage Plus Plan (25%) – GP, SL, AX, and CRM
The cost of each plan is the percentage listed above multiplied by the amount you originally paid for your software.
These benefits are available with all plans:
All updates and service packs, and upgrades. This is a necessity for continued optimal functioning.
Access to Microsoft’s customer portal, CustomerSource, where you’ll find information about common issues and obtain troubleshooting help.
Access to Microsoft’s training library for unlimited online training courses.
Access to Microsoft’s managed community and support forums. Because these forums are managed by Microsoft, if the community can’t answer your questions, a Microsoft rep will.
Protected list price protection – because the annual maintenance fee is a percentage of what you originally paid for your software, it will never increase even if the cost of the software increases in the future. Your maintenance plan must remain continually active for the fee to remain the same.
In addition to the benefits mentioned above, the Business Ready Enhancement Plan gives you six Microsoft support incidents per year that will not be signed off on until the issue is resolved. Software bugs are not considered support incidents.
The Business Ready Advantage Plus Plan gives you unlimited support incidents directly with Microsoft.
Which plan is right for you?
The enhancement plan is mandatory for all new Microsoft Dynamics customers for the first year. If you are implementing Microsoft Dynamics NAV or Microsoft Dynamics AX, your choices will be limited to two of the three plans mentioned above.
Determining the plan that will best fit your organization depends on a couple of factors:
The complexity of Your Implementation - Microsoft support works best for “out of the box” installations. If your business processes demand customizations or several add-on modules, your solution is not going to be “out of the box.” In that case, you’ll usually get the best support from the local Microsoft Dynamics partner who installed your system and who will be familiar with your customizations, and as a systems integrator, also be able to provide frontline support for most third-party add-on modules. You will also get to know them personally, and it is nice to work with people you know, like, and trust. So, if you have a complex installation, you should go with the 16% or 18% plan and rely on your local Microsoft partner for support. If you have a very simple installation and will be able to work with a set number of annual support incidents, then you may want to use the 25% plan and work directly with Microsoft for most support issues.
In-house Knowledge and Skills – If you have plenty of in-house skills and knowledge (for example, you have a former Microsoft Dynamics consultant on staff), you will probably be pretty self-sufficient and not need to rely heavily on your Microsoft Dynamics Partner. The 18% plan is often appropriate in these situations, as six support incidents are usually enough. You can always purchase extra support incidents if you need them.
Maintaining your plan
As time goes by, you may have reason to let your annual maintenance plan lapse. If you decide to resume it at a later date, there are some things you should be aware of. Microsoft will charge you retroactively for the lapsed years, plus a penalty, plus your reinstated plan will be based on the current list price of the software. That ends up being expensive.
The biggest benefit of an annual maintenance plan is that the security and functionality of your software will always be up to date. We encourage you also to take advantage of the other benefits.
If you’d like to know more about Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions and how to choose the best enhancement plan, contact our experts at InterDyn Artis.
By InterDyn Artis, www.interdynartis.com