Maintenance and Support Agreements, like any legal documents, are not exciting or glamorous, but they are necessary. When you enter into a partnership with a vendor, it’s important to understand what is expected of the partnership and how both parties will work together. Maintenance and Support Agreements in technology can be complex. We hope to break down the basics and help you get the most from your vendor partnerships.
What’s in a Maintenance and Support Agreement?
Every technology organization will have a slightly different Maintenance and Support Agreement. Regardless of the specifics, the agreement often includes the following:
- Maintenance: scheduled work, new features, enhancements, and upgrades
- Support: urgent requests, emergency work, ad hoc bug fixes
- Service Level Agreement (SLA): measurable commitments on the maintenance or support, e.g. guaranteed response times
Why your Maintenance and Support Agreement is important
A Maintenance and Support Agreement sets mutually understood expectations between the vendor and client. In addition to outlining and quantifying the types of activities the vendor can do, the pricing, and the timing parameters, it also serves as a form of commitment by the client to the vendor. Signing up for a Maintenance budget with a vendor helps immensely with resource allocation and forecasting for your roadmap of work.
Technology is always changing, and complex web integrations are often unpredictable. With your website being your main touchpoint with patrons, it’s imperative that you have ample security features to protect your digital environment. This includes monitoring, backups, and, of course, access to your vendor support in case of emergency. All of these items should be outlined as available options in your Support agreement.
In addition to making selections about the type and amount of maintenance and support you’d like to opt in to, the agreement should also clearly outline how much it will cost and what kind of turnaround time you can expect. Often a Maintenance and Support Agreement will offer various levels to meet the unique needs of different organizations. Once you make your selections, the agreement is a wonderful reference point for your rates and holds the vendor accountable for the guaranteed response times in the SLA, if applicable.
How to get the most out of your Maintenance and Support Plan
The work is not done once you sign a Maintenance and Support Agreement; in fact, it’s just getting started. Getting the most out of your agreement requires ongoing planning and, most importantly, communication.
Use your resources
Take the opportunity to meet with your Client Consultant or Account Manager for a quarterly (or more often!) check-in. Quarterly meetings with your Client Consultant can cover a budget review, high-level roadmap planning, industry best practices, upgrade recommendations, and your feedback on the partnership and recent work. These conversations are most successful if both parties bring topics and ideas to the table.
Schedule a Site Assessment
When the time comes for fiscal year planning or Maintenance and Support Agreement renewal, it’s also a great time to set up a Site Assessment with your Strategy team. Adage has a Strategy team that specializes in Site Health Assessments to help our clients identify optimizations to their analytics, site speed, UX and UI. These assessments can be scaled to focus on specific areas and deliver recommendations ranging from quick wins to larger projects that can be budgeted for in your next Maintenance Agreement.
Hopefully, we’ve untangled the complexity of Maintenance and Support Agreements a bit today! While these agreements may not seem fun, they certainly help to strengthen and clarify the relationship your organization has with technology vendors.
Contact us to learn more about our Adage Care Maintenance and Support offerings!