Extra Clear, Detailed, Licensing and Support Policy and Explanation

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This document is written to remove any grey areas in our licensing and support policies. This is not a "legal jargon" document. It is an attempt to give an extra clear, detailed, explanation of what is covered in your licensing, what we will and will not support, and how we support our customers.

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In this document, we will address these questions:

1) How many users am I licensed for?

2) How many machines am I licensed for?

3) What is covered in my license?

4) What does the renewal cover?

5) Is the renewal optional?

6) Will you answer Crystal Reports questions?

7) I prefer phone support. Why do I have to open a ticket and email back and forth?

8) What will you not help with? Where do you "draw the line" on support?

9) Will you guarantee your software works on any Windows machine?

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1) How many users am I licensed for? 

2) How many machines am I licensed for?

These questions are answered differently based on the products you are using...

a. If you have Infinity licensing for any product, you literally have unlimited usage of that software product, for unlimited users, on unlimited machines, worldwide.

b. If you have a Viewer desktop license (or a site license), it's per machine, and unlimited users can use a machine, excluding remote desktop usage (RDP).  If you need remote desktop access, it's allowed for one named user per machine. The naming takes place automatically, based on the first person to use that machine in a remote desktop session.

c. If you need two or more people to have remote access (or Citrix/Terminal Server access) for the Viewer, that's licensed per machine/server. There are two price points. One for 1-50 total users, one for 50+.

d. Our Batch product is licensed per machine/server. You can technically allow an unlimited number of people to remote into that machine to modify batches and schedules, although that is not recommended. We do not monitor the number of people logged into the Batch product though, and it is designed for multi-user access.

e. A FREE license for any of our products allows for an unlimited number of users on desktops. FREE licenses are not authorized for use on Citrx/Terminal Servers or multiple users accessing it through RDP. Command line interaction is generally not available for FREE licenses either.

f. Event Server (the service) is allowed on one machine/server. It also must be accompanied with an Enterprise Batch license on the same machine/server to work. These two products work in conjunction with one another.

g. A Web Portal license allows for unlimited users on one IIS server. We do not monitor the number of users, and all work is "queued up" that is submitted. Users will never get a message like "have someone log off to free up a license". A Web Portal license comes with two Batch licenses. One of those Batch licenses must be used on the same machine as Web Portal (and one Event Server license, too). The second Batch license is used on separate machine/server.

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3) What is covered in my license?

All licensing costs cover the cost of the license, support, training in first year, and upgrades/updates. Literally, if you are a customer, you can always download any update posted on the website for the product you have licensed. You can also get support for any product you have licensed. 

First year licensing also includes basic training in the usage of that product. Let's discuss this a bit more. This comes into play mostly for Batch, Event Server, and Web Portal licensing. There can be a bit of a learning curve the first time you use this software. For first year licensing, we will spend extra time explaining the software. What we can not do is explain all the details of our Batch product to a new employee every year. Sometimes we have an issue where our software is implemented and the person who set it up leaves the company. The new person knows nothing about our software and wants us to re-explain everything about how it works and how it's implemented at their company. We simply can not do that. Combine this with no one left at the company knowing Crystal Reports, and we jump to #8 below.

If whoever is new will at least attempt to review the training videos and show they are really trying to learn our software, we are happy to answer questions. What we can't do is re-train someone who shows no effort in REALLY learning the software on their own and simply "throws their hands up" and wants us to do everything for them. 

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4) What does the renewal cover?

The yearly renewal on our software covers licensing, support, and upgrades/updates. It does not cover extensive re-training of the software for new users (see #3 above).

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5) Is the renewal optional?

The renewal is not optional, because it covers licensing of the product, too. We do offer 10 year and lifetime licensing for all of our products. The yearly renewal allows you to spread software costs over many years.

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6) Will you answer Crystal Reports questions?

We will answer Crystal Reports questions in relation to a specific feature of our software. For example, you can pass data from a report to our Batch software using a formula. We will tell you how to do this in Crystal Reports, but we can't teach you what a formula is, how to design a report, and what the Report Header section is. See #8 below for a much longer explanation.

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7) I prefer phone support. Why do I have to open a ticket and email back and forth?

While we do provide phone support and remote support to view the software on your desktop, it is not the primary means of support. 

The primary means of support is through our HelpDesk ticketing system and emailing back and forth. Now, this is not a lazy, cost saving means of support for us. You will not get pasted replies that do not address what you're asking. We take great pride in our support. We do send knowledge base articles that give very detailed explanations to your question/problem. Text replies allow for CLEAR COMMUNICATION of the problem and how to fix it. It also gives you something to reference when you go home for the day or leave on vacation. A phone call is not recorded and can't be referenced at a later date.

We also require log files many times, because they show EXACTLY what's going on. Many times, users will unintentionally verbally give wrong information over the phone. We can avoid all of that by looking at log files and screenshots. 

We know our software. You will never get some kind of "rookie" reply from us on our software. We do not hire entry-level support staff. They know our software and they know Crystal Reports. We value your time, and we want nothing more than for you to be able to "get back to work" and past whatever issue or question you have.

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8) What will you not help with? Where do you "draw the line" on support?

99.99% of the time, we get very high props for providing great technical support. We really hate to say "no" to any kind of support request... but, we do have to say no sometimes. Here are the three main areas we draw the line...  a basic knowledge of Crystal Reports, Windows security/permissions, and IIS/Web Server Administration.

Here's the deal. It's simply unfair to expect a software company to answer any question related to computers/data processing/information technology. If you go to get your tires replaced, you don't ask them to change your oil for free do you? Understand the people changing your tires probably have enough expertise to change your oil, too, but you would never consider asking them to do it for free. It's not fair. 

Basic Crystal Reports Knowledge:

We have gotten replies (for just a few) support requests discussing Crystal Reports and the customer says "I don't know Crystal Reports... the guy who knew Crystal Reports no longer works here". How are we supposed to support someone who has no clue what Crystal Reports is? Someone at your company (or a company you outsource your IT support to) MUST know Crystal Reports. We can't teach you Crystal Reports. We can't teach you what a DSN is (and we're not going to configure your DSNs for you). We can't explain how to access your database. You must have some basic knowledge of Crystal Reports to use our software.

Windows Security/Permissions, Firewalls, Anti-Virus Software:

Sometimes there are clear permissions issues keeping our software from functioning correctly (stuff you don't see on 99% of the machines you install it on). We tell the customer to "speak with your network administrator" about fixing the permissions... that directory should not be protected". The customer replies "we don't have an network administrator" or "we don't have an IT department" or the most awkward answer ever... "I am the network administrator". 

If we tell you that your mail server is not allowing our software to access it or a firewall is blocking access to our software, that is YOUR responsibility to know how to fix it. You can not ask us "How do I unblock the firewall?" or "How do I configure my mail server to allow your software to work?". We are not your IT support. We are your Report Runner support. We are supporting you already by telling you that your firewall is blocking our software. Someone at your company must be responsible for your IT configuration and support.

IIS/Web Server Administration: 

The last place we draw the line is in configuring web servers. Web server administration is a specialty, and we do not have in-house expertise with this field. There are a lot of IT people who seem to THINK they know IIS and how to configure a web server, but most are amateur at best. Honestly, if you know IIS, you will not be asking us how to configure your web server. When users who don't know IIS contact us, they tell us our installation documentation is bad. If all of our customers told us that, we would be happy to improve the documentation, but it's only a few users (who don't really know IIS) that contact us for help. It's a very uncomfortable discussion, because there is not a nice way to tell someone they don't know what they don't know. It kind of reminds us of the Princess Bride quote "You keep using that word... I don't think it means what you think it means".

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One other point about us (Jeff-Net) doing Windows Security or configuring your Web Server is the LIABILITY. What if we made some security change and your system got hacked or run over with a virus? What if another consultant had configured something really unique for your company and we un-did the work and caused a problem? What if we did something wrong configuring your web server and critical, top secret reports were accessed by someone outside your company? 

We actually believe it's an insult to people who specialize in Windows Security and Web Server administration to act like anyone can do it. Anyone CAN'T do it. People spend years training to be experts in these fields. Companies hire people to do ONLY those jobs and nothing else. They are specialists in those fields. 

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9) Will you guarantee your software works on any Windows machine?

No. We know it's doesn't work on any Windows machine, because we've seen a lot of strange things over the years. It does work on 99.9% of Windows machines, though. There have been times though, where we requested the user move our software to a different machine, because the way the software was running was not normal, and there was nothing clear about how to fix it. If you're on a Windows machine, have .Net 4, and it's relatively up-to-date, the software should work.

 



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