But lets get some terms straight:
Warrantee Period: This is the fixed period of time after your solution goes live when any problems, bugs...etc will be fixed for free. Note that here we mean bugs, crashes -. We do NOT mean things that aren't working as expected because you didn't tell us that's what you wanted! This period, and any specific requirements or limits will be discussed and agreed upon before we start work - so you will know exactly what you are getting and what to expect - no nasty surprises for anyone!
(Acceptance) Testing: The larger the project, the more time and resources you need to allocate to testing. Why you? Well, no one knows your business like you do, and thus no one can decide if your wonderful new application is performing exactly as required except you. Software testing is important because it allows you to discover problems before they impact your bottom line. More importantly, if you find problems during development and the warrantee period, we will fix them for free!
Whats this Development vs Test vs Production thingy?:is when the developer is working on your application. is the working copy of the application that you work with during (Acceptance) testing,and is the copy that everyone uses when it goes live. The important bit is that we keep the parts of the application that are still being tested completely separate from the real work your staff are doing and the real data they are entering so there is minimal risk of something being lost by a software bug. The nuts and bolts of this will vary according to the type of application being built (Windows app vs Internet app...etc), and we will lay this out for you while preparing the Requirements Analysis and Technical Specifications.
Support: After the warrantee expires, we are still here for you! Any problems you have, changes you need to make (large or small) just contact us. All work will be quoted by us and prioritised by you so we get to the important things first (and we promise to adhere to our quotes). Please note: this kind of work is scheduled like any project, so if we are busy it may have to wait in line. This is the difference betweenand a (below).
Of course, if its a critical issue (everything has stopped working and there is no workaround available), we can start straight away if you are willing to accept a verbal estimate, and leave the paperwork until everything is working again.
Maintenance Agreements: We design our systems specifically so you do not have to keep paying us just to keep it running. However you may desire a small but constant level of upgrades and enhancements over time, or you may just want to know that at any time we will drop everything and work on your system, guaranteed. This is done by pre-paying for a certain number of hours per month, which we guarantee are always available for you, anytime, no matter how busy our team is.
Oh, and we mean. We have some systems that have been under continuous operation, including updates, support...etc for over 15 years, others where the client relationship goes back 20+ years, and their core software has been developed and then ported from Windows 3.1 (16bit) to Window 9x (32bit) to the web (Silverlight & ASP.NET), undergoing regular enhancements and changes along the way.