As of October 1, 2013 our BellHawk software will only be available to new clients on an annual or quarterly pre-payment subscription basis. We will honor all outstanding proposals and quotes for the purchase of perpetual licenses but only to their expiration dates.
In making this change, we are part of a software industry change to subscription pricing. This SaaS (software-as-a-service) business model started in the business to consumer market space but now is being extensively adopted in the business to business market.
This model has the benefit that clients can subscribe for as long as they need to use the software and then stop. This is much better than purchasing a perpetual license only to have company plans change and find that the software no longer meets the organization's requirements.
It also facilitates "try before you buy". Clients can sign up for a 3 month subscription with a full refund if they cancel within 30 days of initial installation.
Going to subscription pricing does not mean that clients have to use BellHawk at a remote data center "in the Cloud". It simply means that clients pay annually or quarterly for the use of our software, wherever they choose to have it installed.
Annual subscription fees are part of a grand bargain. Clients send us annual subscription fees and we will use that money to pay for the salaries and overhead costs of the technical staff people who are needed to keep their systems running.
We made this change in recognition of the fact that our BellHawk software is mission critical to the success of our clients' business operations and that this software needs to keep running reliably for many years of use. At the same time software from Microsoft and other suppliers, on which our software depends, is being continually upgraded for security and performance reasons. Also the computer hardware on which our software runs is undergoing a rapid technology evolution.
When problems arise with using our software, usually as a result of changes to other software or hardware, our clients look to us to provide the technical expertise to get their systems up and running again. In order to do this we need to have a continual revenue stream to pay for expensive technical staff people, on our payroll, to be available to get their systems up and running again.
This same grand bargain applies to existing customers who pay annual maintenance fees on software for which they previously purchased perpetual licenses.
But, please be aware that, going forward, we will enforce our long-standing bug fixing policy. This policy states that, in order for our staff to investigate and/or fix any problems with the operation of our BellHawk software, at no cost to the client, the software must be covered by a software maintenance plan or a subscription plan. We will, however, provide these services on a pre-paid hourly rates basis, as and when we have personnel available to handle these issues, but priority will be given to those clients that are covered by a subscription or a software maintenance plan.
We believe that these changes will enable us to continue to provide the excellent and responsive technical support that our clients have come to expect from BellHawk Systems.