For customized company software it is indispensable to have support agreements. The lawer Dr. Gero Himmelsbach in the VNU magazine Computer im Mittelstand (CiM) cautions against the risks involved.
Manufacturers of standard software offer patches and updates free of charge to private users in order for the software to run without errors. In the business area, however, the software is often customized and can only be kept updated by the manufacturers themselves and their programming team and not by an in-house administrator. For the adaptation, extension and further development of the software any company therefore needs a corresponding support agreement. There might be one big problem: Whoever forgets to address certain important points in these agreements, in the worst case scenario puts at risk the future of his company, as is illustrated by an example from practice:
Agency director Fischer believed to have found the right solution for his company. For 125 Euros he bought a software package at the beginning of the year 2000 which was installed at all the company sites. The support costs amounted to 20.000 Euros annually. In 2003 he was struck by the bad news that the software manufacturer would not keep supporting the software from January 2005 which led to the software becoming worthless to Fischer and his company.