IDGNS: How are you giving customers value for their maintenance dollars?
Qureshi: When you sell ERP systems, let's just be very clear. They are complex systems and they're not simple to implement. Salespeople that say it's all seamless, it's all easy, and all this other stuff, it just isn't. It's very, very difficult. We're not selling toothpaste or a gallon of milk.
People don't want to change ERP systems. It touches every part of your company. So when you do change you do it because you have a compelling business reason.
When you install it, it is complex. You will be calling us from time to time on all sorts of things. We are your partner. That's the value you get from maintenance. Some of it is just help. Half the calls we get are things where people can look it up, but sometimes it's easier to call than figure it out. Other times it's a bug in the system. Third, we're continuously adding capabilities.
When somebody buys a system, they'll have it for 10 years, 15 years before they switch it. It's a long-term relationship.
Maintenance services costs can add up but it's a relatively small price to pay, given the complexity of the software, the workflow, the tools, and knowing they're going to be continually enhanced.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com