First, I would like to thank all of our customers for helping to make C Tech’s software the industry standard for 3D Earth Science Analysis and Visualization. I hope that all of you appreciate the amazing improvements to our software over the past 19 years (14 years that we’ve offered Microsoft Windows® versions). Even more impressive to me are the accomplishments of our Software Development Team during just the last year. A short list of the highlights during the past 12 months includes:
- Support for multi-core and multiple processors that has resulted in up to four-fold speed increases
- The ability to terminate kriging and other CPU intensive processes without crashing
- The ability to select module interfaces by double clicking on the modules in your application
- Direct creation of WMV raster animation files
- Direct probing and 3D distance calculations in the Viewer
- New module that allows you to set transparency of a surface or volume on a node by node basis
In addition to the improvements to C Tech’s core software products, we have also made substantial additions to our website and support forums and in 2008 have added a satellite office in Pennsylvania to provide better service and more responsive technical support to our East Coast and European customers.
C Tech’s software is used in many industries including geophysics, mining, oceanography, life sciences and archeology. However, our core business area is and always has been Environmental Engineering. The Environmental industry has been changing and we foresee big changes in the next couple years due to both political and economic pressures. One of the most impactful changes for C Tech has been the trend of increasing acquisitions and mergers. Though we are fortunate to continue to add new customers every year, the merging and acquisition of smaller environmental companies by larger conglomerates is astonishing and has impacted us greatly.
In light of the changes to date and those soon to come, we realize that we must adjust our pricing and technical support policies effective immediately. The changes that we are announcing will become effective upon each customer’s anniversary (maintenance or Premier Subscription due date). In other words, our new maintenance pricing and policies will not affect your company until your current maintenance expires.
The first change will be the creation of two categories of software maintenance and technical support.
- Standard Maintenance provides unlimited software updates and unlimited technical support through C Tech’s web Support Forums and the Submit Support Request form for issues which must be kept private. This level of support is limited to “how-to” questions and specifically excludes receiving assistance with customer data files. C Tech’s response to a new support issue may be through e-mail or telephone. Customers with standard maintenance will not be able to telephone or directly e-mail our support personnel for their technical questions. This level of support is limited to “how-to” questions and specifically excludes receiving assistance with customer data files. The use of the Submit Support Request form helps ensure that our support personnel will have the required basic information that is often lacking in casual e-mail support requests. The cost for Standard Maintenance is 18% of the software list price.
- Premium Maintenance is a new category of support which includes the features of Standard Maintenance and also allows users to directly e-mail or telephone for their support issues and also allows users to submit problematic data files for review without our imposing consulting fees. Based on tens of thousands of support incidents, data file issues are the most common problem plaguing our users and we estimate that a huge amount of time is wasted by users struggling with data files with subtle defects. Data file review is limited to identification of file defects and does not include having C Tech consult on optimal settings for modules or applications to best employ the data. The cost for Premium Maintenance will be 25% of the software list price.
Customers should be aware that the default maintenance invoice will reflect standard maintenance but will include a note that Premium Maintenance is available. Customers desiring Premium Maintenance should notify C Tech immediately and avoid submitting an invoice with Standard Maintenance pricing to their Accounts Payable departments.
Another important change will affect how C Tech deals with late and lapsed maintenance. Our users should be aware that when the software is started, they are notified if their maintenance is expired or will soon expire. Unfortunately many companies operate with standard practices that range from paying invoices 60-180 days late. C Tech routinely sends maintenance invoices to the primary user(s) in each company to ensure that the invoice is properly approved and submitted for payment. Many companies have their own specific requirements for invoicing and we try to be compliant, however as the EVS/MVS user who appreciates the value of our software maintenance, we are relying on those personnel to ensure that our invoices are properly handled.
We send our key update files to those same personnel as soon as payment is received. In the past, we have been rather lax about allowing companies to pay their maintenance late without imposing penalties. Beginning June 1, 2008 we will enforce the following strict policies regarding maintenance.
- As in the past, C Tech will update user’s keys only when maintenance payments are received.
- For payments made 60-120 days past the maintenance expiration date, a late penalty of 25% of the amount due will be imposed. Late payments that do not include the 25% penalty will be accepted but C Tech will provide key updates which reflect that only 9 months of maintenance will be delivered from the original due date.
- Any payments not received within 120 days of the original due date will result in the associated license being classified as lapsed. Lapsed licenses can be reinstated at a cost of 50% of the current list price of the software provided that the license has not been lapsed more than 2 years. While any license is lapsed, the following risks are accepted by the client:
- C Tech shall have no obligation to provide any technical support including installation assistance
- C Tech shall have no obligation to provide access to older software version installation files.
- If the software key is damaged or the software fails to function for any reason whatsoever, C Tech shall have no obligation to replace the key or software at less than the current full list price.
The final change relates to our pricing and benefits for our Premier Program which provides organizations with an unlimited MVS license and additional benefits. We have determined that our Premier pricing was unbalanced and did not properly reflect the value that larger organizations received. We have restructured the pricing and Premier Benefits as follows effective immediately:
- Existing Premier customer’s benefits are not affected until their renewal date.
- The original 7 program levels have been increased to 13 levels which are now listed on our pricing page.
- Existing Premier customers do not need to pay any increased first year subscription fees unless the organization size changes as a result of a merger or acquisition.
- All Premier subscription renewals will require a signed company size certification. This is available for download on the download page.
- The Premier subscription includes the Premium Maintenance plan.
- The free consulting which was previously included is being dropped in favor of the unlimited data file review policy discussed in the Premium Maintenance plan. We have done this primarily since the most common use of these hours was data file review and because it has been very difficult to monitor the use of the hours and determine which individuals in a company are authorized to use the consulting time.
- Free training classes accrued during a year must be used during that year or within 6 months following the end of that year (provided the subscription is renewed). This should make it easier for customers to utilize their free classes since C Tech often has only 2-3 classes per year.
- Premier customers also receive a 20% discount on all consulting services.