Skip to content

When "Support" Becomes "Consulting"

One of the other interesting “features” of Java SE 6.0 is the support plan developers and companies can sign up for. Increasingly, in the open source world, support is the thing you sell. In the licensed software market, support means having someone to call when things go wrong and depending on them to fix it. It’s the “one neck to wring” theory of revenue models.

As I talk with more and more vendors who are selling support around free or open source software — like MuleSource or Sun with Java — the nature of support is becoming more inclusive of what you might traditionally think of as pre-sales and professional services. That is, “support” means not only “support when things break,” but “support figuring out how to use the software.”

Support becomes a retainer for having consultants on-hand.

Having spent time doing third-level support (access to developers), traditional support can often feel like being a consultant rather than a trouble shooter. Persistent customers are often crafty at turning features and questions into bugs and dilemmas.

For those developers, making “support” officially inclusive of consulting can be a relief. More importantly, as a customer, chances are higher you’ll get the right kind of service instead of the “it’s not a bug” shuffle dance when you just want help using a vendor’s software.

Disclaimer: MuleSource and Sun are clients.


Categories: Enterprise Software, Java, Open Source.