But, Sinu does draw a line between customer support and projects of larger scope. The company interprets customer support within the context of routine business activities, according to David Owen, the company's chief sales officer. But much depends on the urgency, the scope and the number of people affected by a forthcoming upgrade. "It's as much of an art as it is a science," he said. "We don't have hard and fast rules. We know our customers and make a decision on a case-by-case basis. But, we maintain high customer satisfaction by taking the risk out of the equation for the client."
For larger scale initiatives, Sinu establishes the price on a project basis and does not offer its services based on billable hours. To keep their own risk within an acceptable range, the company works whenever possible with technologies that are highly familiar.
"We find that 80 percent of any solution is pretty much the same across multiple customers," said Velez. "Even though there are many applications, most of them run on Windows, and we can virtualize and control those. The last 20 percent are likely to be some sort of vertical market application. In that situation, they need to have a relationship with a third party to maintain proper customization. But, if we focus on the remaining 80 percent and maintain the stability of the lower part of the stack, the customer has more money to spend on the customization because they don't have to spend as much money keeping their systems running."
Velez declined to say how the unlimited support provision impacts his overall fee structure. But, he did remark that his fee is calculated on a per-user basis, and that his recurring revenue number is quite healthy. In addition, he reports that his average customer retention is more than five years.
"We build our profitability around extending the productivity of our customers," he said. "The budgets tend to stay about the same, year-over-year. It's about how we utilize the budget that makes the difference."
PUBLISHED JAN. 16, 2013