Customers who order software development work often face a problem when it comes to supporting and maintaining the finished product.
According to the current international practice, a manufacturer (or contractor) has the right to set a warranty period for his product (work, service) – a period, during which he is prepared to deal with the client’s problems and complaints regarding inferior product quality (work, service). A warranty entails an obligation to eliminate any defects in the operation of a product or its construction, which are due to a production fault. In other words, during the warranty period the developer must fix all software defects within the agreed time limit, provided that the following conditions are met:
- documented evidence of system failure or fault is given;
- proof that the failure occurred due to a development fault;
- proper usage of software in accordance with the manual;
- no unwarranted interference with the software package on the part of the client;
- subject of the client’s complaint is covered in the requirements specification.
According to the law, warranty obligations oblige the developer to eliminate only those defects which arise as a result of his own error(s). Analysis and additional work is required to correct faults and it may be some time before a given piece of software is returned to the client. If the failure is deemed to be the fault of the client, then the developer is not obliged to resolve any defects or provide a new version of the software.
It stands to reason that warranty support and maintenance is not suitable for continuously operating services since it takes too long and can cause user/client loss. In the same way, the warranty support model is not intended for software which requires a high level of reliability.
EDISON offers technical support not as a substitute for a warranty but as a means of fully satisfying the client’s needs. Technical support differs from a warranty in that the developer commits to eliminating all defects, including those caused by the client or those which go beyond the scope of the requirements specification. The developer is also obliged to resolve defects and problems in the shortest possible time.
Technical support may also include configuring the software, providing a hotline, monitoring its functionality, training staff to work with the product, etc.
To visually demonstrate this point, the specifics of warranty obligations and technical support are presented in the table below:
|Cost of service||An average year-long warranty amounts to 15% of the development cost.||Is paid additionally, according to the number of working hours spent.|
|Defect resolution||Only covers defects which occur due to development error(s), the subject of which appears in the requirements specification.||All defects covered.|
|How soon the client’s claim is processed||One to several weeks from the day the claim is received and analysis is conducted.||Instant response. The shortest possible correction turnaround time. Round-the-clock work is possible.|
|Product customisation||Returned product has the same properties outlined in the requirements specification.||Product is reworked to show optimal performance in completing specific tasks.|
|Consulting services||According to specification.||Available upon request.|
|Possibility of modernising the product and expanding its functionality||Not provided for. Can be conducted but under an additional agreement.||Provided for.|
EDISON offers several cooperation models, including technical support, which is usually paid for by the hour. Individual terms can also be considered and should be discussed with the project manager.