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Enhanced Support Policy for Aging Software Versions – aka “End of Life”

Posted on by John Vincent

Good news for customers in this blog post.  This post contains good information about everyone’s favorite topic: supporting old software versions and upgrading!

STR Software strives to keep its products relevant for customers through upgrades and new releases, which provide additional functionality to customers while enabling them to receive better support and assistance down the road. Upgrading benefits both the customer and the software company.

The benefit to the customer is access to all of the cool features and fixes.  Production environments are more stable and user productivity should improve if the new features have value.  In our case, more than 90% of the features we develop are a result of our customer-driven product development strategy.  That is how we created features such as the “AventX Magic Button” and the “Secure and Confirmed Email”.

The benefit to software companies is they don’t have to train support engineers to learn very old versions.  This helps lower costs and frees up development and testing resources to focus on creating features that companies want.

Discontinuing support on product versions is also not limited to just software companies.  I am a car guy, so I think of things in terms of what I know best.  Ford Motor Company declared the popular 5.0 liter V8 as “End-of-Life” in 1995 when they came out with the 1996 version of the Mustang GT.  Ironically, the 5.0 is back and you can even buy the motor direct fromFord Racing – 5.0L V8.

STR Software recognizes that companies can’t upgrade their software on the day it is released.  Companies have policies and project plans in place that prohibit them from upgrading to later versions.  On the flip side, it is almost impossible for a software company to continue to support all software versions.  So, where is the balance between the two?

After listening to our customers we decided to change our approach to discontinuing support on product versions.  The following represents the various phases a software version will travel through its life cycle.

Over time, product versions will now enter into each of these phases; “Premium Support”, “Standard Support”, and “End of Life Support”.  Prior to this change, STR Software did not offer the “Standard Support” phase for older software versions.  Product versions would simply go into the “End of Life” phase, which provides limited support services.  The introduction of “Standard” support brings additional options and flexibility.  More detail on what services are available within these phases is available by clicking on the graphic and logging into the STR Software Customer Portal.

Now you can predict when versions fall into the various phases.  All of the timelines are posted in the STR Software Support Portal for each product you purchased.  You can click the following graphic to access the timelines.  Knowing these dates will allow you to plan for upgrades more effectively.

In addition, customers who can’t upgrade before a version falls into the “Standard” phase can continue to receive access to technical support help over the phone and/or email and not pay any additional fees to continue to run the older versions.

I would love to hear your feedback on this change.  Post your comments and let me know what you think.

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