12 Month Product Life - Good Business??
Message 1 of 5
I wanted to move to a dedicated thread. This needs resolved as just good business practice. If ZWSoft is satified with the way they do business, then good. For me if they would just provide service packs to fix problems as most all the reputable software publishers do, then I'm fine. If not there needs to be a comprehensive END-OF-LIFE Statement with the software.
I like the software when it works.
ZWSoft need to understand that most nearly all companies do provide patches to older releases on a continual basis or until deemed end-of-life. By no longer supporting 2012 with service packs, ZWSoft deem it END-OF-LIFE 12 months. A 12 month product life is not good business.
So prospec buyers need to understand that the product they are buying has a 12 month shelf life. So a business loan for the product is a bad business plan, or any lease longer than 12 months is also a bad business plan. Unless you will be satisfied with AS-IS purchase.
Reasoning and example:
I want to purchase the software, but need additional capital to do so. So, I take out a lease or a small business loan for 24 to 36 months. The software is then downloaded installed and running. We find we can use it and we like it , but then we find a need for a module that does not seem to work right for use, it is flawed in some manner, or a service pack was provided that fixed many other issues that may have been important to my company OR not, but now the other module is broken. The very module we needed to use for our bread and butter work.
With the current policies of ZWSoft if a resolution is not found in 12 months or before the next annual release, then you have purchased and are paying for broken software that will NOT be fixed. You cannot terminate a lease or loan based on this in the US. As the loan provider makes no claim or warranty to the quality of the product. Payout is mandated regardless.
I have to ask, is this good business? Is this a way to build a solid foundation for a future in the CAD/CAM industry in the US? This is a bad business model as it assumes every customer has the means and/or are willing to move to the next release. Even if the next release is not needed or wanted or we are still paying for the previous release. If the product has a 12 month LIFE SPAN that needs to be stated somewhere that there will be no more support post new release, and, that new releases are annual. 12 Month EOL.
24 to 36 month life span, is normal. The reason for this is the aforementioned, as companies take leases and loans on these products. In the US we pay for everthing as small business owners, entrepreneurs, as well as large corps..
Service packs and support need to extend post new version releases. It is just good business and for most part industry standard practice by reputable companies.
Message 2 of 5
I agree but for different reasons.Commercial; software should work. Where basic bugs exist in areleased softwares this version should have them fixed. Simple as that.
Maybe some things qualify for fix other for next version. How to set that up is the tricky part.
24 months is a reasonable ;ife time for a CAD version.
Message 3 of 5
Early in my carrier I did some embedded systems coding, I've stated this in other posts. That code is tidy and typically a mix of VHDL and assembly, and as of a couple years ago still working with PLC coding on CNC Controls. Now anyone who has programming experience knows without the source code it's difficult to write traps that work and edit the code, from a business practical standpoint.
ZWSoft bought the source code. With source code it's pretty easy to write traps and fix bugs as well as modify features etc.. It's an art truly for a creative mind. And a passion! And it takes BIG PICTURE forethought as well as insight.
Case in point, the product is still so bloated and slow with regard to the graphics libraries as compared to other products. This should have been one of the very first things, upon inception, to fix. That if ZWSoft really wanted to enhance the GUI. The inability to run across multiple CPU's or MP at this point is hard to understand, as MP has been around since the late 80's for consumer consumption.
The programming team have some pretty good traps in place now, as the software does not blow up as it once did. It will simply do something strange instead. That along side some decent updates. The software does work, for the most part. I've made some pretty kisk-ass parts with it.
The post engine, extremely important, behaves as though it is full MP-MT which makes it fast and from what I've seen work pretty well.
I had made a statement once regarding this app being akin to a 16bit DOS app., and while it's leaps and bounds beyond that, you can still see the roots of such in its' video and single processor behavior on the front end.
The real problem I have is the value add or lack of with regard to US support, coding not in the US and what would appear to be an average age of personnel to about 27 years, running the show. We need business professionals that are willing to see this through, creative minds to fix, patch, and enhance the product across the board.
Also, provide a business vision of long running support for non EOL fully functional versions, we have paid good money for this software, support it. We do not need the "through away today, for new tomorrow" mind set. That is not how real stable business works and will not work in the CAM and manufacturing industry as these are mission critical environments and require top shelf support.
We do not run CNC tools from an iPhone nor do we sit at a 4.5" display and run CADCAM. That is ridiculous as a forefront pursuit! I've really said about all I care to say. I hope these words do not fall on deaf ears.
We need good support. We do not need a version change every year for the marketing department. We certainly do not need a rapid GUI change that does not bring performance. And for crying out loud please port this to 64bit MP and update the video libaries and machine engine. And we despiratly need new tool libraries.
AKA - Factorytuned
Message 4 of 5
Thanks for the detailed valued information.
As there are some information related to the product and the ZWSOFT US development, I would like to share more information to you.
1) The US Subsidiary is the key success to the software, they have been doing a lot of work for the coming new release V17, more and more key innovations are going to happen as the strong China GZ development team are going to have more and more help. Certainly, the simple work of the development are moving to China, and then we have more resource to invest to the development. We always believe that the collaboration between FL and GZ could make great success, and you can experience the big difference in the coming V17 release.
2) For US customer support, we have been working with value-added reseller to provide the support, and the success of the support is not only the reputation, but also the success of the product, and we value your feedback so much, i.e. we are testing the Solid-Verify stuff by upgrading to Machineworks V7.1. At the same time, the US development are working for the 64bit support for more than 1 year, which is going to be released in September, probably the 64bit beta will comes earlier in April.
3) I know the GUI change sometimes is not a big stuff, but there are too much request for the easier CAM, that is one of the big changes, but the most important of CAM is not the UI, it is the enhancement of the kernel, which makes easier machining, the open beta will be ready at the end of this month, and I appreciate if you could try and send us any feedback.
Message 5 of 5
It's always a pleasure to hear from you.
The aforementioned is good news if deadlines can be met. However the question that started the thread is unanswered.
1) Is the product life set to 12 months of service pack support?
2) Is the product life set to 12 months per release.
3) If a 12 month life cycle what of those who lease the product for 24-36 months and have issues that will not be fixed, what recourse of action does that customer have?
4) If a customer is still paying for 2013 release(example), they shouldn't be forced to re-lease or renew a lease, if even possible, to pay for service releases beyond 12 months - but limited to 24 or 36 months.
This is called COA "cost-of-ownership".. The cost of owning ZW3D products can be high or simply out of reach for small businesses as it's a revolving door of COA.
So we need a comprehensive product-life or end-of-life statement to be provided with the software and states, (example) "24 month of interactive support wherein no more service packs or patches will be issued for a particular release or version."
Such a statment also gives ZWSoft time to develope new and patch current without the ongoing pressure of a new release ever year.
Again, this is not a new idea this is standard practice by most of your competitors. It's smart and it keeps folks happy, safe, off your back, and insures lowest COA.
This is in line with the release white paper. It's just good business.
A quick word on your VAR selection.. In selecting a value added reseller, it would be a good idea for those firms to have a good grasp on hardware platforms, as well. Knowing the software simply is not enough, as the hardware questions go unanswered.
Case-in-point, Parametric Technology the original owner of ProEngineer, used to require the PTC VAR also have an IT background and be able to proivide a System Wide Solution(hardware and software). They required the VAR to have an indepth understanding of the hardware that ProE was running on for best performance. This assured compatibility across the board. So, if the customer chose not to buy hardware from the VAR so be it. It was known however, what the standards were and how ProEngineer ran best. Was the same for Catia, the standard platform those days IBM hardware.
Just having a bumped up laptop to run on is no good, as a STANDARD for a VAR, indepth hardware understanding is a must for good VAR channel partners. Laptops are good for demos but provide little insight in to supported hardware platforms or recommended platforms.
Thanks a bunch and look forward to your replys and comments.
I take the time because: 1) I chose to buy the software 2) I've been a loyal customer and paid for new releases 3) ZWSofts' success is my success.. I care and want to see the product move forward with some fine tuning. I want the software I've chosen to be best-in-class not the least expensive or the easiest to use. It should cost appropriately, have an intuitive interface, not a dumbed down UI, service pack support through at least one revision or 24 months.. That's good business!
"More accurate in the Micro, More accurate in the Macro". -Factorytuned