Most executives and buyers don’t really think much about signing long-term contracts with software providers when starting a relationship. Even some software-as-a-service companies have one-year agreements that are mandatory to establish a relationship. These customers have been conditioned that this is acceptable and “just part of what it takes,” so they sign them and live with it.
If you were inquisitive enough to ask, the response would have resembled something like, “these agreements are in place so we can plan appropriately,” or “the pricing model is structured such that the commitment needs to be one year for us to manage our cost structure.” If you really, really thought about it, why should you be tied to a long-term commitment when you don’t even know if the relationship you are entering into is going to work or if they are going to fulfill all the promises they are making?”
Why can’t companies continuously earn the business with their customers? Why are they held hostage by long-term contracts that have severe out penalties? A no-contracts approach to providing software-as-a-service, especially for digital asset management, is a necessary component to continuously earning the business. If the providers are confident enough in their product road maps, development resources, market research, and customer service models then you don’t need long-term contracts because they will earn your business every 30 days with product advancements and a service & support model that meets the expectations.
Some organizations retain customers because they have excellent products, continuous innovation, and an approach to customer service that even Walt Disney would be proud of whereas other organizations retain customers because they are bound by contract. Don’t get caught in the long-term contract; there is a reason they want you to legally commit. If a digital asset management provider asks you for a long-term contract, tell them to put their money where their mouth is and earn it every month.