Solver Technical Support - Annual Support Contracts
An Annual Support Contract begins on an "Effective Date" -- either the date it is purchased, or for renewals, the day after the previous Annual Support Contract expires. It normally lasts for 12 months, and covers a specific Standalone Paid-Up License or Flexible Use Paid-Up License. Whenever you purchase or renew an Annual Support Contract, Frontline will issue you a new license code that enables use of the Paid-Up License for 5 years from the Effective Date of the Annual Support Contract (a "rolling 5-year basis" for the license).
An Annual Support Contract includes:
- A limited warranty for the functionality and performance of the software product
- All software upgrades for the product released during the contract term
- Ability to trade in the product for a more powerful Solver product of the same type
- Access to protected support pages of our Website
- Technical support by phone and email during normal business hours
- Up to 15 minutes of consulting assistance arising during the contract term
If you require pre-sales or evaluation-period support or assistance, please be sure to read Pre-Sales Support and Consulting below.
When you purchase an Annual Support Contract, then Frontline Systems provides a limited warranty, during the contract term, that the associated software product will perform substantially in accordance with the specifications described in the product User Guide, when it is used as described in the User Guide. Frontline promises (as the sole remedy under this limited warranty) to make reasonable commercial efforts to correct any "bugs" (failures to perform as so described), and to timely provide such corrections to users reporting such bugs. All users who have purchased support contracts will receive the benefit of all bug fixes in product upgrades which are released during the contract term.
If you do not purchase an Annual Support Contract, or if you allow your Annual Support Contract to expire without renewing it, then Frontline Systems makes no warranty as to the merchantability or fitness of the associated software product for any purpose.
When you have a current Annual Support Contract, you will automatically receive all software upgrades and updates for the associated product released during the contract term. This includes minor and major product releases with both bug fixes and new features and enhancements for that product.
If Frontline Systems introduces a new product in the same product line (Excel or SDK) with greater functionality and/or performance and a higher price, a current Annual Support Contract enables you to upgrade to the new product for the difference in price (the difference in software license prices plus the difference in Annual Support Contract prices, with the new product support price prorated for the remaining term of the existing support contract).
When you have a current Annual Support Contract for a product, you can (if you wish to) "trade in" that product -- for example, the Large-Scale GRG Solver, Standard or Extended version -- for a more powerful Solver product of the same type -- for example, the Large-Scale SQP Solver. You'll receive full credit for the license purchase price you previously paid, and you'll need to pay only the difference in price between the old product and the new product (license price plus Annual Support Contract price). If you don't have a current Annual Support Contract, Frontline Systems will not accept such a "trade-in".
With an Annual Support Contract, you gain access to our protected Website support pages. These pages include:
- Advanced support information of general interest, including sample worksheets, VBA macros, and VB or C/C++ source code
- Online, searchable full text versions of our software product User Guides
- Downloads of software products, including major new releases and maintenance ("point") releases
- User-specific Web pages that we may create in the course of providing consulting assistance
With an Annual Support Contract, you can take advantage of technical support whenever you need it, by phone and email, from our group of support professionals -- who typically have advanced degrees in mathematics or quantitative methods and years of experience helping users build successful optimization models.
Technical support includes answering any reasonable question about the capabilities, performance and limitations of our software products, briefly explaining concepts of optimization and simulation models or clearing up misunderstandings about these concepts, and suggesting ways for you to formulate models to accomplish specific ends (for example, defining a "fixed-charge" constraint, or organizing cells and formulas for Fast Problem Setup).
Technical support does not include any work performed by our technical services staff debugging, modifying or improving your model (in the form of an Excel spreadsheet or programming language code). This falls in the category of consulting assistance, which Frontline Systems is pleased to provide (subject to staff availability) for a reasonable fee. At times, a technical support issue is most efficiently resolved by having our technical services staff examine your model in order to find the source of a problem that you are experiencing.
As part of our technical support service, we will examine your model and recommend changes that you will need to implement. However, if our staff implements any changes to your model and sends an updated version to you, or if we write new spreadsheet formulas or code for you, this will involve fee-based consulting assistance.
Frontline Systems offers consulting assistance on a fee basis where our technical services staff will apply its expertise to your model. Most often this involves debugging, modifying or improving a model that you or others have created, but our staff can develop a model "from scratch," given accurate specifications for the problem to be solved.
As a "bright-line" distinction, if you send us a model to examine, this falls in the domain of technical support; if we send you a model that we've created or modified specifically for you, this falls in the domain of consulting assistance. (Of course, standard example files that you download from our Website will not fall in the domain of consulting assistance.) See Consulting Assistance: Summary Terms/Prices for information about our terms and pricing for consulting work. Our practice is to charge for consulting assistance on a fixed price basis. To do this, you and we need a clear understanding of the Scope of Work that we will perform. We will summarize this for you in a brief written proposal, with our standard Consulting Terms and Conditions. Our consulting efforts are always designed to transfer knowledge to you, so you can proceed further on your own. We provide you with the model, spreadsheet or source code, with varying degrees of documentation depending on the Scope of Work.
Click here and contact us to set up an appointment to discuss your needs further.
Up to 15 minutes of consulting assistance is included in each Annual Support Contract. We provide this to ease the transition from technical support to fee-based consulting assistance when it is required. Since we spend full-time building optimization and simulation models, we can often save you far more than 15 minutes in this time.
Most of our customers purchase a software license before beginning serious work on a model that may require technical support or consulting assistance. However, Frontline Systems understands that some customers want to develop a prototype or "prove out" an approach to a model during the period that they are evaluating our software products, or otherwise prior to purchasing a software license. We handle these situations as follows:
For the first 15 days that you are evaluating our software products, we'll be happy to provide you with technical support, at no charge, by phone or email, during normal business hours.
If you require consulting assistance during this initial 15-day period (as described above), we will treat this as billable consulting work, and we'll send you an invoice for this effort. If you purchase an Annual Support Contract at the same time as a software license, you may use the 15 minutes of consulting assistance included with this contract to "pay for" up to 15 minutes of time previously billed.
If we grant you an extended evaluation license for a period of more than 15 days, and you require further technicalsupport, you may choose either of the following options:
- Purchase a software license and an Annual Support Contract, with the option to return both under our 30-day money-back guarantee, using a credit card or purchase order, and begin the 12 month period of support and software upgrades.
- Purchase additional technical support time "a la carte" using a credit card or purchase order. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. You should not expect free technical support during an extended evaluation of our software.
If you receive an initial 15-day evaluation license, do not purchase a software license, and some time in the future you request and we grant you another evaluation license, we will treat this as an extended evaluation license as above.
Frontline Systems reserves the right to limit any pre-sales or evaluation-period technical support or consulting assistance, in our sole discretion. Our goal is to help to succeed in with your simulation or optimization model. We believe that the above approach is a balanced way to handle your and others' pre-sales and post-sales support needs. Again, we strongly encourage you to discuss your needs in advance with our technical services staff, to arrive at mutual understanding of the scope of work and the time that will likely be required. To ensure that we have a mutual understanding, in pre-sales situations our staff will email you this text, and ask you to reply by email to acknowledge that you have received and read it. This does not obligate you financially in any way, but it signifies that you have read and understood the provisions of this section.