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Want to Drop Support?

Since I began this blog a little over a year ago, I’ve had many people contact me for help and advice. I do my best to help them if I can, but one type of message never ceases to amaze me. It goes something like this:

Sir,

“Can you please help me? I am on M2M Version x.x and had a hard drive/server crash. After attempting to re-build the system I get the following error: (Completely unhelpful obscure error message and code removed)

We have been down since last Friday and have not been on M2M support for several years. Can you help me get my system back up?

Sincerely,

Milton

P.S. If you don’t help me, I’ll set your blog on fire.

The advice I’m about to give may sound a lot like my post on M2M Migration. If you don’t have a Visual FoxPro and SQL Server expert on site, and your company’s productivity means anything to you, then you need to be on support.

People who read this blog know that I am not employed nor sponsored by M2M. I am not a Made2Manage (Consona) apologist and I criticize them when appropriate. While I realize that M2M Support is expensive and times are tough, it costs money to do business. That’s just the way it is.

If you drop support, you ARE support. It’s an awful position to be in when your ERP system is down, you have no idea how to fix it, and you aren’t on support. I was in that situation years ago when I first started M2M. You can’t access their bulletin boards, and the only other one I know of is a Google group for the Los Angeles User Group. They have some good people there, but they have their own jobs to attend to. Your emergency is not their emergency, and you won’t get an instant response. Also, take any advice you get from someone other than M2M Support with suspicion as well. Free advice is often worth just what you paid for it.

Are you ready for the responsibility of being your own tech support? Even if you are able to get help with your system from another customer, was it worth all of the down time?

Even if you have a SQL and VFP expert on site, you still need to be able to upgrade your systems. Software is a never-ending treadmill and even if you are satisfied with your current version of M2M, it will not necessarily work with new versions of SQL Server or Windows Operating Systems and eventually you will be forced to upgrade.

The customers who contact me in this situation have indicated that Consona’s terms are draconian (their words, not mine), and I’m sure that is what drives a customer to spend days or weeks looking for a solution. Perhaps someone from M2M would like to clarify their policy in the comments.

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9 comments to Want to Drop Support?

  • scott

    Can’t you pay for support by the hour is you don’t pay the annual maintenance?

  • Judy Graham

    Great advice, David! And I for one, can tell you that David is not easy on Consona/M2M.
    But, having a server crash or a corrupt database can cost a company thousands of dollars in a very short period of time. It doesn’t take very long when you have no system to realize how valuable that system really is to the company. Backup, backup, backup! Always plan for disaster. If you aren’t on M2M Support, you are in the worst situation possible when you have a critical problem.

    As David noted, it is not anyone else’s emergency, but your own. So how much is the company’s time really worth? Making sure you have a good safety net in place is critical to your company.

    I don’t work for Consona any longer and I realize that M2M Support is expensive and many customers don’t see the Support agreement as being “worth the investment”. But if you are going continue to utilize the software product; you need to continue with the support agreement. It’s an investment for the success of your company’s future!

    Please try to keep in mind, it’s not just the call to Support that your support agreement is funding. It is also the service packs, upgrades, and new releases that help insure that you are able to continue upgrading your systems software and having a working ERP system, as well.

    Good Luck to everyone!

  • I can only “report” what I’ve been told. They used to offer hourly emergency support, but folks have told me that they no longer do and that they require you to get back on maintenance for any kind of support. I asked M2M support for clarification, but they refused to answer.

    Once again, perhaps someone from Consona will clarify for us.

  • I believe the last I heard was that they do still offer emergency support, but as with pretty well any other type of support/warranty, the second you stop support is probably right when it’s going to crash on you.

    As the saying goes, “better safe than sorry”.

  • Andrew

    I really enjoy all the movie references you work into your blog posts. Office Space is one of the best movies evar!

  • Catherine

    The last time I called support from a client site where the support contract had expired, I was kicked over to AR and had to leave a message. I don’t know if they ever called back, they didn’t while I was there. Fortunately, this time, I ended up fixing the problem.

    I’m enjoying your blog. I don’t do as much M2M work as I used to, but still have picked up some useful info.

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  • Curt Lankford

    I have read everyone’s opinion on dropping support, but many times they do not LISTEN to their IT folks. When money is tight and they see the support quote, they choke and drop support. That is my situation. We are moving to another large MRP system, so we are in a transition period. We need it for about another 6 months, then maybe another 6 to 8 months for archive/test purposes. My issue is that we are still running 5.51 on server 2003. My company is going to shut us down if we do not upgrade to AT LEAST 2008 by July 15th. I know that M2M “says” it will not run on 2008, but I would like to hear what some of you folks have to say about it. When we upgraded our clients to 7, I just loaded terminal server and it works great. So, I don’t have a lot of trust in what they tell me as I have heard other folks say that they DID get it to run on 7 for clients.

    So, do you folks know anyone who was able to run M2M on 5.51?

    • Curt Lankford

      My last statement was incomplete (and totally incoherent)

      “So, do you folks know anyone who was able to run M2M on 5.51?”

      I meant to ask, “So, do you folks know anyone who was able to run M2M 5.51 on server 2008?”

      Curt

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