What Is a Software Support Contract?

First of all, let’s get familiarized with software support. Essentially, software support refers to a service that is given by a software publisher that provides existing customers with technical product help and guidance. These services are provided on-demand, addressing them only when complicated situations emerge, and may involve installation assistance, ease of usage assistance, or remote troubleshooting assistance. Software support can be dispatched by the product vendor or a third-party software maintenance company.

A software support contract talks about a legal document that is used between entities that provide and receive computer software support. This contract is often created to outline the terms of the deal for software support services that are being given. Typical specifics of the software support contract usually include the customer service provider’s responsibilities to the customer, the customer’s obligations to the service provider, how compensation will be managed, warranty information, and legal liabilities.

Important Elements of a Software Support Contract

Listed below are the common important elements that should be included in writing a software support contract; Keep in mind that a number of factors may add more elements to this contract, such as the type of software that is used by the customer and the kind of company that will provide the support services.

Basic Information. This includes information such as the title of the contract, the names of the parties that are involved in the contract, and the date on which the agreement between the said parties is being made.Term. This element states when the clauses mentioned in the software support contract will begin and end. This section may also indicate if it is an ongoing (continuous) contract, meaning, it is renewed for an indefinite period.Granted Access. This section of the software support contract will indicate what types of software, computers, and establishments the software service provider is allowed access to when the terms of the contract are being carried out.Proprietary Rights. This portion of the software support contract specifies the methods on how the service provider will handle information, particularly sensitive ones, discovered on the customer’s systems. Furthermore, clauses prohibiting the alteration, release, or deletion of such information without the customer’s agreement may also be placed in this section.Software Modifications. This section of the software support contract will specify the methods by which the service provider might alter the software that is covered by the contract. This might entail upgrading the software to guarantee optimal performance. This part of the contract may also specify who is liable for any expenditures or damages incurred as a result of the software modification.Payment Terms. This part of the support contract will detail how the service providers will be compensated for their services rendered. It may also specify how any additional costs will be handled, if a cost report is to be provided, and how travel charges, if any, would be handled. Late or non-payment consequences should also be handled in this part of the contract.Material Cost and Taxes. This section of the software support contract should specify who will be accountable for any additional expenditures associated with software maintenance. Postage, licensing, anti-virus software or services, and paperwork filing costs are examples of such expenses. This part will also specify who is accountable for any taxes that are incurred throughout the course of executing the contract.Confidentiality. This part of the support contract prohibits the software service provider from sharing any information that the client considers to be confidential information. The wording employed here might either be wide or specialized, depending on preference. It should also be indicated how long the confidentiality will last once the deal is finished.Warranties and Indemnification. This element of the software support contract will explain how the warranties for the software under contract will be handled. Substitute software and software that was acquired within the agreement’s term may be covered. It will also specify the degree of service that the service provider is expected to give. Additionally, it should be stated in this section that the software service provider may be indemnified from the consequences of the customer’s actions that impact the level of service.Termination Clause. Terms regarding contract termination should also be stated when drafting a software support contract. These terms can include failing to pay for the software services, failure to deliver the said software services, and either/all parties involved being forced to file for bankruptcy or liquidation.Remedy Clause. Prior to the parties resorting to the termination of the contract, the parties must also look for ways first to resolve any misunderstandings or difficult situations. In other words, this section should state methods in which all parties involved will fix a situation that would normally point straight to termination of the contract.Arbitration. This section of the software support contract shall specify how conflicts arising from contract breaches will be addressed. When drafting this portion of the contract, two problems should be addressed: where the arbitration will take place and whether the arbitration will be binding or non-binding.Final Elements. The final elements that should be included in a software support contract include the entirety section and the signatures section. The entirety section of the contract will usually state or define the parameters of the contract at hand. This section also states what comprises the contract and what situations require the contract to take precedence. Methods of notifying parties regarding problems related to the contract may also be included here. After the entirety, or the overall section, comes the signatures section of the contract. It’s as easy as it sounds, as this is the section in which all the parties involved will sign their name, along with the date of the contract signing.

Types of Software Support Services

Listed and discussed below are the different types of software support services that exist.

Application Maintenance. Under this type of software support service, the responsibility of application maintenance is reduced since it is handed over to a service provider. Aside from hosting and configuring the perfect setting for a software release, application service providers also undertake security audits, maintain servers and check for backup storage configuration, regulate performance, and verify application licensing. If necessary, the application support service provider can also assist with cloud migration.Pre-Support Audit. It is critical to conduct a timely audit of a software product or a service as part of its support and maintenance to understand its appropriate operation. A comprehensive audit report will prove to be a great aid in identifying areas that require development and improvement through various software maintenance services.Software Maintenance. This form of software support service or maintenance includes system data monitoring, IT infrastructure support, system setup monitoring, and application code optimization. Clients may anticipate several degrees of support services under software support and maintenance to assist in troubleshooting, resolving complexity, and offering bug fixes for the purpose of security audit and application enhancement.Product Enhancement and Maintenance. The software program is reviewed and studied in this form of software service to identify any errors, bugs, and malfunctioning aspects. The product maintenance and support service providers will next recommend any potential improvements needed for enhancing the product and boosting its overall market value and usefulness based on the analysis reports created from the complete analysis of the software product.

Different Approaches to Software Maintenance

Listed below are the 3 different types of approaches that can be used during software support or maintenance:

How to Create a Software Support Contract

Here are the necessary steps to be followed whenever you are tasked to create a software support contract:

  • 1. Start With the Introductory Elements

    This is the first step to follow when writing the software support contract. In this step, start by writing the beginning elements or the introductory elements of the contract. This includes the title, the names of the parties involved in the contract, and the date on which the support contract is being made/drafted.

  • 2. State the Contract Duration Terms and the Location of Service

    After writing the introductory elements of the software support contract, follow up by writing the duration terms and location of the software support service. The duration term in a software support contract refers to how long the services will be rendered by the support provider, usually clearly indicated by a start and end date. In other cases, it is also indicated if the duration of the contract is an indefinite amount of time. Afterwards, also state the place where the support services will be provided. This is important because different places have different laws regarding support services and this is also done to avoid unnecessary confusion.

  • 3. Describe the Type of Service to be Provided

    After outlining the duration and the location of the services, proceed to this step. What is necessary here is that the type of software support service that is to be done by the service provider should be described clearly. Providing a clear description of services is important since it reduces any chances of misunderstandings when the contract is already underway and it gives all the parties involved in the contract an idea of what to expect. As stated earlier, types of software support can be software maintenance, product enhancement, etc.

  • 4. State the Terms for Compensation

    When the type of service is already outlined, follow through with the contract with this step. What should be done here is to state the terms for compensation that is to be given to the support services provider. Take note that there are a number of factors that can affect how compensation is given, which include the taxes, the payment schedule, and any penalties for non-fulfillment or non-performance. The details that need to be included when writing this section include the billing details, the deposit amount (if necessary), the payment schedule, and any terms concerning late payments.

  • 5. Include Any Additional/Auxiliary Elements

    After detailing the terms for compensation, this step then follows. The elements to be completed in this step here are the support contract’s terms and conditions and any additional elements that may be needed in the contract’s completion. Additional elements that can be included in the contract include a confidentiality clause, an intellectual property clause, an indemnity clause, a liability clause, and a legal expenses clause. Additionally, another element that should also be included in the contract is the termination clause, since it clearly outlines all the situations that can necessitate the termination of the support contract.

  • 6. Signing Details

    Lastly, describe any details concerning the signing of the software support contract, such as the date that the agreement is going to be signed, and whether or not any witnesses will be present when the contract is going to be signed. Afterwards, when all parties involved are satisfied with the terms being laid out, the contract is then signed and put into motion.


What comprises software support services?

Software support services are usually comprised of many things, such as installation of new products, product update installations, migrations for significant software releases, different sorts of proactive or reactive on-site services, and support for bespoke application or infrastructure software. To bring these services to life, a product provider, a consulting business, or third-party software maintainers provide these services to their respective clients.

Why is effective software support crucial?

Software support is very crucial in the post-release phase since the customers of your software expect you to be able to provide answers to their different inquiries, no matter how easy or difficult it may prove to be. Your clients expect you to assist them if they have any difficulties, and if you fail to match these expectations, you will be unable to prevent them from jumping ship to other competitors where they may be able to get better answers to their inquiries.

Can you outsource software support?

Yes, you can also outsource software support to a third party. This approach has the advantage of being substantially less expensive than having an in-house support crew, allowing you to allocate more funds to other aspects of your organization. However, in this instance, you should ensure that the third-party vendor is well-versed in your product. This strategy also has drawbacks because it implies less control and greater supervision concerns. It might be difficult to secure the needed level of help when selecting third-party support providers because the support provider’s management is out of your control.

Having effective software support to customers of your products can be key in retaining them for your future software releases. Little improvements to the way you provide support can even go a long way. And providing the best possible software support to your clients can be made possible in a very streamlined way through entering a software support contract, which is helpful since it also protects all your interests should a problem arise. In this article, various blank templates of a software support contract can be obtained should you need any help in making one.