Broken promises: your maintenance dollars

Broken promises: your maintenance dollars

Summary: Every once in a while someone comes out of left field and produces a piece of information that is startling in its simplicity and elegance. The chart above says it all.

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Every once in a while someone comes out of left field and produces a piece of information that is startling in its simplicity and elegance. The chart above says it all. Jason Carter has been tracking the relationship between maintenance revenue and R&D spend for five companies since 2001. As you can see, the amounts put back to product have been steadily declining for years. As Jason succinctly puts in the accompanying post:

The implied promise of maintenance fees is that you pay them each year to the vendor in order to fund the ongoing development and enhancement of the product you rely on. The promise is being broken. Badly.

Regular readers will know this is an issue I and others have been talking about for what seems forever. You can argue whether the denominator should include other line items but that would obscure the argument the vendors themselves produce when challenged. Notably missing is Microsoft. That's because they don't report their numbers in enough detail from which to analyze the numbers.

Even these numbers don't tell the full story. Backfilling, bug fixes and the rest are all part of R&D spend so what's the real amount put into innovation? Your guess is as good as mine but I'm betting it is a modest fraction.

Topic: Enterprise Software

Dennis Howlett

About Dennis Howlett

Dennis Howlett is a 40 year veteran in enterprise IT, working with companies large and small across many industries. He endeavors to inform buyers in a no-nonsense manner and spares no vendor that comes under his microscope.

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  • Haha.. i already knew sage wasnt doing jack with the dollars

    thanks for confirming!

    Its sad to see all of them lowering expectations in order to fatten their wallets.
    Been_Done_Before
  • as for Sage

    Their product improvement is in hiring support people who keep justifying Act! 2009 speed issues by claiming your computer has a slow hard drive. Besides that they just make sure each new version is slower than the previous one. My personal experience.
    dcdavy