For many, paying software maintenance is about ensuring access to the next major release—new features, enhancements, platform support, etc. It’s an idea largely unique to software. Imagine paying extra for your car so that the 2012, 2013, 2014 models are delivered to your door.
The funny thing is, with a car, you’d know pretty much what to expect with each release: improved mileage and safety, new tires, maybe even LED headlights—usually delivered by late summer. But with software, features and timing can be less concrete, making some reserved about the value of maintenance contracts. That’s why I asked James Winokur, Director of Global Maintenance Support at PTC, to tell us what you can expect with a PTC Maintenance plan.
GH: What does PTC do with customers’ Maintenance plan payments?
Winokur: Maintenance really is an investment in the ongoing development and support of the products customers use, adding key capabilities and enhancements to improve productivity in both software and support. When people invest in software and maintenance, they are joining a community of like-minded people, all driving to continuous improvement.
GH: What are PTC Maintenance customers getting beyond the latest release?
Winokur: We probably shouldn’t skip over the “latest release.” This is a unique time at PTC—especially with Creo – we’re planning to deliver a stream of major releases in a relatively short time. PTC Maintenance customers will benefit not only from enhancements but also from incredible new technology.
GH: And what else will Maintenance customers get?
Winokur: Expert support, of course. We focus a lot of our attention on ensuring our customers stay productive and get the most out of the products they are using. We deliver VideoTech Tips; live web-based sessions with product experts; online resources such as suggested techniques, technical documentation, and personalized technical alerts; and of course technical expertise. We have more than 450 technical support engineers at PTC. They operate around the world, providing 24 x 5 support using a single global database. Many more people provide expertise at our resellers, who, in turn, can rely on PTC for help.
GH: Will Maintenance change with Creo and its apps?
Winokur: Just as our products are evolving, we also are creating a new experience with our support resources. We started some time ago with a direct connection to support resources via the product’s Help menus, then we added a Knowledgebase Search within the LearningConnector tool, and now we have invested in a new capability to deliver more timely, relevant, and higher quality technical documentation. We are calling it “Product Support 1.1” to indicate a fresh start and new plans for the future. With Creo 1.0, we’re updating the LearningConnector content and Technical Support is focused on delivering a better, faster, web-based, self-service experience.
GH: How can users keep up-to-date with what’s happening in PTC Maintenance?
Winokur: Two ways:
First, sign-up for The Maintenance Minute – we highlight new releases, common issues and their fixes, and productivity-enhancing tools as they are updated or launched. It’s a regular email delivered in 11 languages.
Second, sign-up for the Technical Support Alerts so you can receive personalized support-oriented notices about specific maintenance releases or updates to cases you have logged. You’ll also see fixes from other customers that may interest you.
GH: Where can users find out more about what they get for Maintenance?
Winokur: The Global Maintenance Support home page is the best place to start. Look for featured links to items such as Maintenance Support Offerings or The SMaRT Tool.
GH: What is the SMaRT Tool?
Winokur: The Software Maintenance Resource Training Tool is an online tutorial to explain exactly what customers are entitled to, how to access those entitlements, and even some best practices for using those entitlements. It’s easy to navigate. It includes both documents and short videos.
GH: Why do you think it’s a great time for current customers to sign up for Maintenance?
Winokur: Here are four good reasons:
- There is going to be a lot of new technology that Mainentance customers will be entitled to over the next several years. By re-activiating, you can update to Creo 1.0 and get on the path to the bigger story around product development.
- Once you re-activate, you will have an opportunity to take advantage of brand new apps, extensions, and functionality.
- Let’s face it, if you let your software become dated – not just from PTC –you run the risk of becoming incompatible with other applications, hardware, operating systems, browsers etc.
- And with any CAD software, there’s just a lot of different ways to do things. We can help customers understand the best ways to achieve their objectives.