Question Software Maintenance? You bet.

A cover story in Information Week (January 26, 2009) poses the radical question, "What if I don't pay maintenance?" Or, at least, what if I go to a third party for software maintenance instead of the manufacturer? Oracle and SAP are moving to an annual maintenance fee of 22%. The software life cycle cost has been growing steadily since the "standard" rate of 18% was exceeded by some major players. What irks many who might otherwise be willing to pony up is that customers have little control over how the maintenance revenues are spent. Author Mary Hayes Weier suggests the alternatives include open source, SaaS, third party support, renegotiation, or moving to self-service maintenance. Whether any of these are feasible for your scenario is unclear, but it is clear that few companies offer much transparency about where your maintenance revenues are being spent -- though those same firms will be the first to make claims to Wall Street about how those revenues account for bottom line results.

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