Support for Adminsoft Software

The software is fairly intuitive to use.  The menus tend to be self-explanatory and lead you through most tasks.  Context sensitive F1 help is available in the main modules - although it is a fairly out-of-date in places.   However, as with all software, some timely training and assistance is very valuable on occasions.  We have provided a number of resources for "self-help" support, and have a Help-Desk to provide personalised support when required.   The support resources and support policies are as follows:

Internet Based Help Library

We have provided a small web based support library to assist new users to get started with our software.  We have expanded this over time with common support questions and answers, and various other support resources.

(Click here to access the Internet Based Help Library)

Personal Assistance from our Help-Desk

One doesn't have to be around computers for very long, to appreciate the value of good training and support, especially in association with software that plays an important part in the everyday administration, revenue tracking and collection, and management of your company.  Murphy's Law dictates that you will need technical assistance at some stage.  Our Help-Desk is set up to provide you with remote training, general assistance, and technical support when you require it.  Sometimes you can "work things out for yourself" relatively easily, but on many occasions some quick and effective support from "the experts" can save you many hours of inefficiency and wasted effort.

Requests for assistance can be communicated to us by e-mail or telephone.  Our help-desk is currently staffed during normal working hours (New Zealand time zone - please bear this in mind if attempting to telephone us from other countries).  We can normally provide a 'next day' turn-around for emailed support requests, which is usually adequate in most cases.  (Obviously adequate relevant information must be furnished with the request, so that our help-desk staff can reply without first seeking additional information.)  We very often provide remote interactive support, working directly with you on your computer - using our remote support facility (which can be launched directly from within our software).  Remote training using these tools is remarkably efficient and effective.  Because we can see your screen, we can usually identify the cause of a technical problem very quickly - and it greatly reduces mis-communication in training sessions.  Support calls for technical issues are typically only 6 to 12 minutes in duration.  Quick training questions can usually be handled in a similar time-frame.

Time-zones are not really an issue, in that we can usually find adequate overlap even with Britain (and Europe), which has a 12 hour difference with New Zealand.  In fact, time-zones are actually an advantage for overnight turnaround of non-urgent support issues.  You can book a remote support appointment for a suitable time, (for yourself or an outside contractor who supports your computer network and applications software).

Help-Desk support associated with evaluating our software is free of charge (within reason).  However, we understandably expect people to first make a conscientious attempt themselves to follow the product and support information already provided on this web-site (see the Internet Based Help Library).  Support associated with multi-user installation is subject to normal support charges, as is assistance with fine tuning configuration settings to suit your particular preferences (for all sites - both single-user and multi-user).  Initial and ongoing training, plus support with technical issues is understandably chargeable.

For simplicity and fairness to more computer literate users, we do not factor a support component into the purchase price of our software.  Training and technical support obviously need to be a commercially viable activities (for both our sake and yours in the long term).  We offer several "Support Packages", which ensure that adequate help-desk resources are available to users when required, yet allow users to select a support arrangement that is most appropriate for them.

On-Site Assistance

On-site assistance can be very valuable, both for on-site training when you first start using our software, and also from time-to-time (to sit down with management and formulate ways to tweak the configuration settings, use the software better, and gain better value from the valuable management data that it has accumulated for you).  While our remote support facility is very valuable for quick-fire issues, an on-site visit can have considerable advantages, especially for getting down to the necessary details to make the software really sing for you in the big-picture.  On-site training and consulting on special requirements can significantly increase the value obtained from using the software, and is particularly cost-effective for larger sites.  Understandably, on-site assistance incurs travel (and perhaps accommodation) costs in addition to charges for the time on-site. 

Confidentiality

If users send a copy of their data to our Help-Desk (for investigation of a low-level technical problem, or merely for better support and telephone training), we will treat this data with all due confidentiality.

Support Packages

The support packages are usually purchased at the same time as the Software itself, and are renewed when they expire.

Annual Software Update Contracts

  • Annual Update Contracts cost 12.5% (approx.) of the respective Licence purchase price.  They commence at installation, and are renewed on each anniversary subsequently.  They entitle you to receive all standard production releases for your software modules during that 12-month period.  (Users on Annual Update Contracts also may ask to participate in our Beta Test Programme if they are keen to receive the very latest new features of the software, before these are introduced as a production release.)
  • For clients that lease our software, Annual Updates are built into your lease fees.
  • Adminsoft gives an informal 'warranty' to users on current Update Contracts, in that if you discover a bug in our software we will not charge for any associated support.  If the bug actually damages data, we will usually repair the data for you if this is feasible, and send a new version of the software that fixes the initial problem.  (This 'warranty' is limited to simple manipulation of the damaged data, and does not extend to re-keying any data-entry since the most recent backup.  Damage to data is a fairly unlikely event, even for participants in our Beta Test Programme.) Users without a current Update Contract have no such warranty, and will be charged for all telephone support and any work done by Adminsoft on their data (which is fair, as we probably will have already fixed the problem in a more recent release).
  • Annual Update Contracts are not compulsory, but are of course very sensible and highly recommended (and very reasonably priced compared with our competitors).  Any users who do not pay their annual updates (there have been very few of these over the years) are blocked from receiving our regular software updates / releases.  When such users eventually come back on board and take up their Annual Update Contract again, it has always been our policy to charge for missed updates.  This is fair to the users that have taken the update contracts (and continued to renew them), and through so doing have sponsored various enhancements that we have done to the software.  It is also fair to us, as we have do a lot of work on the software that is beyond what is covered by Annual Update contributions.

Pre-paid User Support Contracts

  • We recognise that the requirements for support vary considerably between users.  Smaller firms with computer literate users who have been using our software for several years, don't need much support at all.  However, some sites can require quite a lot of support, especially larger multi-user sites, and sites which lack high computer literacy or lose the key person who previously ran the software.  Rather than impose a "one size fits all" support fee structure that is applied to all users regardless of their needs, we have attempted to devise a flexible "time & materials" based scheme that is fair to everyone, especially users who don't require much support.  (Hopefully we have done our sums right, and this flexible fee structure also ensures that our Help-Desk covers its costs, and is therefore sustainable in the long term.  We reserve the right to alter our fee structure from time to time to ensure that this is the case.)
  • Support Contacts are in essence pre-paid support arrangements between you and us.  You are both paying us to ensure that we have adequate help-desk resources "on call" to provide timely assistance when you require it (a very small retainer), and also paying in advance for the support we provide.  There is no fixed time period for such contracts.  They may last 5 days or 5 years, depending completely on your level of requirements for support (and the amount you have pre-paid).
  • In practice we will credit your "support account" with the amount you pre-pay (plus an extra bonus depending on the contract).  When you obtain assistance from our Help-Desk we will record the work involved and deduct an appropriate fee (for time and any expenses such as toll charges) from your "support account".  When your Pre-paid Support Contracts has been used up, we will send you an invoice which itemizes all the work that we did for you (plus any further support since then until the date that the invoice was generated).  At that point you can renew you pre-paid support contract (at an appropriate level) or drop back to a purely "time & materials" basis for on-going support.
  • Support contracts are not compulsory.  However most users recognise that the nominal retainer is very reasonable, and are happy to pay their small share toward some of the Help-Desk's overhead.  However, having said this, the pre-paid contracts actually work out to be more cost-effective than being on a purely 'TIme & Materials' basis, and they save both you and us the disproportionate (on a per $ basis) administrative overhead of piddly invoices.  Our Help-Desk will provide assistance to users who do not have a current support contract (i.e. are on a time and materials monthly invoice basis), but they understandably may be assigned lower priority behind other clients who are on a support contract (which is fair and reasonable). 
  • We offer several levels of Support Contract.  These let you pre-pay only as much as you consider necessary.  Obviously users with heavier ongoing requirements for support will want to pre-pay larger amounts, to reduce the hassles of continually renewing their contract.  The bigger pre-payments attract increasing discounts (done in the form of a bonus credit).   In effect, this provides a "volume discount", and a "use of money / interest" recognition in cases where your pre-paid amount lasts a long time.  We are also passing on to you much of the increased efficiency from our end, in that we don't need to process as many renewals.  Our Standard Pre-Paid Contracts are:
    • Basic Support Contract: $250 for $290 of support (Approx 1.6 Hours - 16% bonus)
    • Gold Support Contract: $500 for $600 of support (Approx 3.3 Hours - 20% bonus)
    • Diamond Support Contract: $750 for $925 of support (Approx 5.2 Hours - 23% bonus)
  • While the quantity of support in the Basic and Gold contracts may seem quite small, it typically takes 1 - 2 years for experienced sites to use up a 'Gold' contract (due to the infrequent nature of requests for support that often are resolved in 6 to 12 minutes).  Larger sites (with more than 20 users running in a multi-office environment) usually need more support, and will typically use up their pre-paid contract quicker than this, as will new sites who are still learning to use the software to its maximum.