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RE: Staad 2007
- To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
- Subject: RE: Staad 2007
- From: "Scott Maxwell" <smaxwell(--nospam--at)umich.edu>
- Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2008 10:20:16 -0400
software companies are going or have gone to a subscription based update based
model rather than the traditional "pay for major upgrade" based models.
And it is NOT just companies that do structural software (although, I see it on
a much more regular basis for more "specialized" software, such as structural
software and CADD software, that would be used in design offices).
Even Microsoft has talked about doing it (they have not had the guts to pull the
trigger on it yet) for programs like Office.
software companies like the subscriptions based model because it provides a more
uniform revenue stream to them. Many times it might theoretically
ultimately cost you the same amount of money as if you always paid for the major
upgrades, but instead you pay it over a more even time frame...i.e. pay a little
each year instead of a lot every several years when they put out major
upgrade. Now, some companies will actually "sneak in" an increase in the
upgrade price (i.e. if you compared always upgrading under the old system vs.
the new system, the new system would cost more), but many do not. None the
less, it can result in what might be an effective increase since you kind of
HAVE to keep paying, where as under the old system you could skip some major
upgrades (and thus not sell out some money). Under the new system, you
cannot effectively skip upgrades...even if you skip an upgrade (i.e. don't pay
the subscription cost for a while), if you want to re-start the subscription,
many companies will generally make you pay the payments that you missed while
NOT maintaining the subscription as well as current/future payments. So,
for example, if the subscription is $200 per year and you let the subscription
lapse for 4 years and then you decided you wanted the new version so you
re-establish the subscription, some companies would make you first pay the $800
in payments that you missed plus the $200 for the current year. Now, some
might do some sort of a discount.
whether or not the software will continue to work if you don't upgrade/pay the
subscription, it will somewhat depend on how the program functions. Most
structural programs that I have encountered are "stand alone" programs...i.e.
they don't require a network connection...all function run on the local
computer. In my experience, such programs will work just fine if you let
the subscription lapse. In such cases, pay the subscription fees gets you
a) technical support (i.e. you have a problem or question)...generally speaking,
many software companies have gone to a "pay per incident" for
support...structural companies that require subscription service don't generally
do a "pay per incident" support...you get "free" support in the sense that you
are paying for support with the subscription; b) upgrades...they would be any
major feature upgrades that happen during your paid for subscription
period...some companies specifically promise that you will get at least ONE
feature upgrade per year...i.e. to imply that you get something for paying your
subscription fee for that year; and c) updates...this would be bug fixes and
other minor updates that don't add features per se, but fix problems or errors
in the program. With structural software, the last item alone can be a
HUGE thing. Some minor bug in a program like Microsoft Word or Apple's
iTunes generally will not be a huge thing...but a minor "bug" in a piece of
structural software could result in WILDLY incorrect results, effectively making
the software useless. Thus, I would argue the maintaining current updates
in structural software can be a thing of MAJOR importance, even if you don't
need support or need/want the new features.
there are some software programs in general (I have yet to see this with any
structural software package) that may have components that rely on a network
connection and thus use some central computer/system for that function to
work. And in such cases, it can be that the central computer/system gets
updates that will make it no longer work with older version of the program and
thus "force" you to upgrade to a current version to get access to those
features. A good example of that is the program Quicken. They have
certain features/functions in Quicken that make use of online systems. And
as those online systems get updates and changed, they will not longer work with
older versions of Quicken...and you end up having to upgrade to a current
version of Quicken _IF_ you want to use THOSE features (many of the other "main"
features will work just fine). As I said, I am not aware of any structural
design software that does such things, so it is not an issue to my knowledge
with structural software.
point is that not paying the subscription generally will NOT "break" the version
that you have if you decide to not renew the subscription. It will purely
mean that you will have no support and no updates/upgrades...until you renew the
subscription. You will want to check their subscription policy...if they
require you to pay all missed payments if you ever renew the subscription, then
there is ZERO benefit to stopping the subscription...unless you never, ever
renew it. I will note that most, if not all, structural programs have gone
to a subscription based model. Both structural software packages that I
use (RISA-3D and TEDDs) use subscription based services. Personally, I
would say the _IF_ the program is a program that you like, then you are likely
well advised to pay the subscription based service so that at a minimum you get
the bug updates/fixes...even if you don't care for the new features or generally
need support. While it is a pain to have to continue to pay, just look at
it as a cost of doing business. It is not much different than constantly
having to go out and buy more paper and pencils.
We are a small Engineering
company in need of a 3D analysis and design program, we have a old version of
STAAD.PRO 2001and are considering upgrading to 2007, however we are getting
concerns with the new subscription type copy protection (Bentley SELECT
Program) as, due to our need, we do to upgrade that often. Our main concern is
what happens after the year agreement end? Does the software stop working? The
sale lady from Bentley says it will continue working but will not get the
upgrades, however my partner doest not trust salespersons.
Are there other options for 3D
analysis and design software for small Engineering firm? We are getting and
“Special Discount: to upgrade for lest than what it will cost to buy from the
competition in addition that I am familiar with STADD.