Recently we have been very happy to re-confirm several significant support contracts with several of our key clients. Each year these renewals are “challenging”, raising the question within our clients;
- What do we get for our money?
- In this day and age we should be able to do this ourselves?
- We paid for this development – it should just work!
- What if we agree to pay for support – and don’t use it?
- Why so much?
The general drift, over the years, has been towards clients doing website work themselves. For example, years ago we would change the content on pages and set up new accounts etc. for clients.
Now, clients will do this themselves, which is great. In the meantime, however, people using website expect more than just content and pictures (!). They want websites that provide services that are worth the visit! They want to use a companies service, through the website.
In fact many websites “know” how an organisation – or some part of it “works”. For example, an online application form process may alert a manager, put a task into an administrators “To Do” list and create a new Project. This may itself trigger some Key Performance Indicator targets and so on.
To provide this service – which is now expected by end users - the developer needs to understand a great deal about the customers processes. And then develop the website to provide this service. So now, the developer is not just a technical specialist but also essentially “intimate” with the clients working practices. Meetings no longer consist of “change this content, cycle these images” but discuss actual business activities – “the forthcoming Conference”, “the introduction of service options”, “the merging of business activities” “Next Years Programme” etc. And the Developer needs to understand this in the language that the customer uses.
This is why you have a support contract. Your developer needs their finger on the pulse, to be fast, effective and efficient in handling your needs, intimate with your processes and knowledgeable about your business and staff. And that person can’t be expected to have this knowledge without some kind of retaining contract – the support contract.