Opting for a support contract for cloud applications like Google Apps, NetSuite, or Postini, can seem like just an added cost. While there are no absolutes (it would be crazy to say that ALL organizations should buy a support contract), these arrangements can be life savers — often paying for themselves in a single incident.

To help you come to an informed decision about whether a support agreement for your cloud solution is the right way to go, we’ve outlined 5 key reasons to buy a support contract below:

1Avoid making the situation worse. When you or one of your staff members runs into a problem with a cloud application, natural places to look for a solution are online forums. While there are many helpful participants with good-intentions, the advice posted in a public discussion forum can easily lead you astray.

Potential problems here: correct advice that is no longer valid (old information); workarounds that helped the source of the advice, but may not apply to your situation because of your configuration; shortcuts that don’t resolve the issue – merely masking a more important problem, and more.

A cloud application value-added reseller, like Business Intelligence 101, will have trained and certified technicians on staff who stay up to date on proven fixes and workarounds.

2Resolve problems faster. What is the cost of downtime or reduced productivity in your organization. If you really thought about it, you would likely come up with an outrageous figure… and you’d probably be under-valuing the true impact.

Let’s do a quick calculation – if you’ve got 50 staff members with a fully-loaded cost of $100/hour when you roll in rent, power, computers, etc., that’s $5,000 per hour. When systems are down or not working as they should, what happens to productivity? We’d argue you can easily lose 50% to 100% of productivity in a short period of time.

Saving even just a few minutes can make a big difference. Getting systems back online or operating at full capacity hours or days sooner than you otherwise might and you’ve saved your company serious money!

3Eliminate frustration. Not only can hunting around for a solution take a long time or lead you down unproductive paths, it can be just a plain old frustrating experience. Your company probably expects you to accomplish many things.

Wasting time and energy on something that can be delegated to outside help — who is also better informed and equipped to quickly resolve the issue — keeps you from working on the things that matter. Clients of Business Intelligence 101 get to enlist the help of a U.S.-based trained and certified technician who will employ a step-by-step process to quickly get to the bottom of the issue.

4Get more attention for your problems. Not every problem will have a documented solution that works. When this happens, organizations that have a certified partner raise the issue on their behalf will get more attention and faster results. We know who to call.

5All-inclusive, predictable cost. It’s true that a support contract is a lot like an insurance policy. Pay a little over time for the security of knowing that you’re protected against a big hit. CFOs like support agreements because they are predictable costs that can be rolled into the budget.

One support client of ours may go 6 months without calling upon us, then need our help 5 days in a row to get to the bottom of a nagging issue. Another client may have questions or issues every month. With a support agreement in place, the cost is the same no matter how many problems we help resolve.

The bottom line: most companies have limited in-house IT staff – but still a long list of things that need to run smoothly or get upgraded. When you add the cost of lost-productivity to the expense of having in-house IT staff delve into problems that a support provider already understands and knows how to fix… many companies will conclude that a support agreement is money well spent.

Would you like to learn more about how support contracts work and how much it would cost for your organization? Give us a call at (866) 552-4101 or email sales@bi101.com