Support Policies and Services

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The BirdDog Support Team strives to enable the success of BirdDog users by providing prompt, accurate information and assistance with the BirdDog Software suite of products.
 
When you invest in BirdDog Software, you have a powerful solution that expands as your business grows. Maximize your investment with our annual Support Plans. BirdDog offers two annual Support Plans to best suit your needs. All BirdDog products require Technical Support the first year.
BirdDog Software Maintenance Plan

Good software is always in an evolutionary process. No software has ever reached full perfection in the eyes of its users or its developers. The diligent maintenance of software development is critical in order to satisfy the changing needs of our clients, and remain current with changing technology. With our Annual Maintenance Plan you receive the enhancements that have been added since the initial purchase of the software license as well as ongoing enhancements for the next year. Enhancements and improvements in the software are released quarterly as they complete testing, rather than being held back for an annual release. This means you will see not only the development changes since the last release, but will benefit from enhancement advances throughout the year.

A common perception of maintenance is that it is merely fixing bugs. However, studies and surveys over the years have indicated that the majority, over 80%, of the maintenance effort is used for non-corrective actions, also known as enhancements or getting more tomorrow than you purchased today. Additionally, you are entitled to 24-hour on-line access to our support knowledge system and information on common issues from the same database that our technical experts use. With the BirdDog Maintenance Plan you can:

  • Take advantage of additions and product enhancements.
  • Get the latest version of BirdDog with upgrades and enhancements to your current modules.
  • Get unlimited access to our online support system.
  • Telephone support on a per-incident fee.
  • Stay up to-date on the most current product, service and training information
Cost of Maintenance Plan
BirdDog Software's Annual Maintenance and Technical Support Plan is 20% of the current retail price of all modules. If you should allow your Maintenance Plan to lapse there are reinstatement fees. We consider your Maintenance Plan inactive if renewal invoice is not paid within terms. The Reinstatement Fees would then become the payment of all back maintenance fees, all current maintenance fees, plus a 50% penalty of the past due maintenance.
BirdDog Software Technical Support Plan

The Technical Support Plan is for users who want the security of knowing they will have ready access to the technical resources they need to manage their enterprise operations; BirdDog offers unlimited standard product support including phone at (888)794-5950, email at support@birddogsw.com, and web support at http://birddogsw.com/support. BirdDog Support will assist with all issues exposed in the default functionality of our products. BirdDog Support will cover any questions about default functionality and errors encountered during the normal operation of the software. Technical Support will be provided for the most current versions of BirdDog Software.

Custom code written by BirdDog will be examined, and, if the code release is within the 30 days of warranty period, an appropriate resolution will be reached. If the code is outside of its 30 day warranty period, the source of the issue will be identified. Additional costs may be incurred to resolve the issue in custom coding.

With regards to non-BirdDog code, BirdDog Support shall make a reasonable and good-faith effort to identify the source of the error and may recommend additional steps that may resolve the issue in the custom coding. BirdDog Support cannot assist in the architecture or development of new code on top of the BirdDog interface beyond basic and essential trouble shooting.

BirdDog Support Plan does not cover assisting customers in modifying their code or troubleshooting non-default code. The BirdDog Support team will limit its scope in this regard to restoring code with default versions.

The BirdDog Technical Support Plan benefits include all the benefits of BirdDog's Maintenance Plan, plus:

  • Unlimited number of support incidents.
  • Access to support via a toll-free number, email, and website.
  • Hours of 8 AM CST to 6 PM CST, Monday through Friday, other than US Federal Holidays.
Responsibilities

Customer

It is BirdDog Software's expectation that the customer will attempt to resolve their problem before contacting Technical Support. Numerous articles and documentation are available online. Be responsible for backing up their data before making any major site updates and keeping current with the latest BirdDog Software updates. Product updates are provided at no cost to customers with Maintenance or Technical Support Plans.

BirdDog Support

BirdDog software support assistance is provided by specialists trained to use and operate BirdDog Software suite of products. BirdDog technical services representatives shall provide best efforts to promptly resolve BirdDog product-related issues as defined, but not limited to, the policies identified below:

 
 
 Support Request Support Will: Support Will Not:
 Customizations
  • Assist with anything on product pages that are made with BirdDog content layout pages.
  • Assist with pages that are non-BirdDog pages, but only to the extent of checking to make sure the code for the workaround is in place.
  • Refer to BirdDog Sales Channel for quote.
  • Troubleshoot Java or Flash code on BirdDog pages.
  • Advise how to or make changes to pages for customizations.
 Server Configuration
  • Assist with making sure permissions are set according to best practice techniques.
  • Assist with errors on a default BirdDog page.
  • Identify proxy server as root of problem. Customer is responsible for resolving.
  • Identify firewall as root of problem.
  • Assist with mail server configuration.
  • Assist with SQL user permissions.
  • Troubleshoot errors related to a proxy server.
  • Troubleshoot firewall issues.
 Local Setup
  • Identify local machine as root of problem and, when possible, identify and recommend steps to resolve. Customer is responsible for resolving.
  • Troubleshoot local permission issues.
  • Troubleshoot local application in IIS issues.
  •  Troubleshoot Operating System issues.
 General Troubleshooting
  • Direct the customer either verbally or via email to the BirdDog Knowledge Base article to resolve error(s).
  • Determine BirdDog application bugs. Customer must provide the steps taken that resulted in the error. Either of the following will occur and BirdDog's Targeted Regular Response times apply:
    • If unable to replicate the error, customer will be advised that the issue is not reproducible.
    • Create ticket and provide issue number to customer either via telephone or e-mail. This will help customer to track the issue and obtain updates.
  • Log BirdDog enhancement requests. The following will occur and Regular Response Times apply:
    • Create ticket and provide issue number to customer either via telephone or e-mail. This will help customer to track the issue and obtain updates.
  • Detail information contained within BirdDog Knowledge Base article.
  • Apply a fix or update if a Knowledge Base article or Help File exists. The customer is responsible for applying. BirdDog Support will troubleshoot if the customer encounters any error(s).
  • Remote desktop into a customer's machine or join an online web meeting to provide software training.
  • Provide business-level consulting.
 Queries and Reporting
  •  Direct the customer either verbally or via email to the BirdDog Knowledge Base article to resolve issues regarding schema information.
  • Assist with creating and/or updating SQL queries. 
  • Assist with creating and/or updating reports.
 Expired Support
  •  Advise the customer their support period has expired, and refer to Sales to purchase additional support.
* Exceptions are reviewed and authorized by the Operations Manager.
  • Give support assistance prior to purchase of additional support or review and authorization of extended support.
 
Cost of Plan
BirdDog Maintenance and Technical Support Plan fee is 20% of the current retail price of all your registered modules.

 

* Software training, consulting, or customization services are not included but can be obtained under separate agreements.

Issue Escalation and Resolution
Severity Levels Technical Support Plan
P1- Critical: Catastrophic impact on business operations.

Catastrophic impact on business operations, such as:

  • Live site down.
  • Unable to search and browse products on a live site.
  • Unable to place orders on a live site, with no work around available.
  • Security issues.

 

Response:Within 4 Business Hours

 

Updates: By Customer Agreement

P2- Severe: Significant impact on business operations (a workaround is available).

 

Significant impact on business operations (a workaround is available),such as:

  • Critical functionality not operational, but workaround is available.
  • More than 2 outages in a period of 24 hours.
  • Unable to send/receive e-mail.
  • Unable to download Orders.

 

Response: Within 8 Business Hours

Updates: Once Every 2 Business Days

P3- Moderate: Slight impact on business operations.

Slight impact on business operations, such as:

  • Web analytics not functioning properly.
  • Unable to upload images.
  • Difficulties adding or editing products to inventory.
  • Licensed modules not working as defined.

 

Response: Within12 Business Hours

Updates: Weekly

P4- Minor: No impact on business operations.

No impact on business operations, such as:

  • Product functionality enhancement.
  • Basic configuration questions.
  • Documentation update.

 

Response: Within 2 Business Days

Updates: Release Plan Once Available

 
Resolution of a support incident occurs when Support determines that the issue has reached one of the following end-points:
  • The initial query is answered completely and any error messages eliminated.
  • A reasonable work-around is established.
  • BirdDog Support escalates the issue to our Product Development team for further review.
  • BirdDog Support identifies the issue as a bug and escalates to our Development team.
  • BirdDog Support identifies the issue as a feature enhancement request and escalates the request to our development team.
  • BirdDog has made a reasonable effort to resolve the issue, but must escalate the issue for further review.

For custom solutions and configurations, BirdDog has made a reasonable effort to resolve the issue (not to exceed 3 hours), but was unable to reach a resolution. For an additional fee, the issue can be escalated to a Project Manager for further review.

 
Refusal of Service
Upon failure by Customer, or any full-time, part-time, or contract employee of the Customer, to comply with any portion of the terms and conditions specified, BirdDog reserves the right to refuse service and support.
Server Access Requirements

In order for the Birddog support team to set up and maintain software at your local location, we require access to your network that will allow us to transfer files and work remotely on your system, commonly through RDP or VPN, direct to the server-in-question. Simple file transfers are most convenient using FTP, though this is optional, providing there are other means of file transfer.

Required

  • Admin level access via direct Microsoft Remote Desktop connection to the Web Server
  • Admin level SQL Enterprise Manager access to the Database via VPN or direct Microsoft Remote Desktop connection
  • Local web site is accessible via browser by BirdDog personnel without using any connectivity other than VPN

Recommended

  • Admin level access via direct Microsoft Remote Desktop connection to the Web Server
  • Admin level access via direct Microsoft Remote Desktop connection to the Database Server
  • Admin level SQL Enterprise Manager access to the Database via VPN
  • FTP acces to the Web Server
  • Local web site is accessible via browser by BirdDog personnel without using any connectivity other than VPN

Notes

  • We recomend that all Microsoft Remote Desktop, Database, and FTP connections be secured via VPN
  • When we say 'direct Microsoft Remote Desktop connection' we mean a single connection to get to the desktop, not multiple hops through servers or other technology
Software Installation Requirements
  • Name of Database that we will be installing to

Create DNS Entry

Hosted/Synched Environment 
  • enterprise.yoursite.com - Production site for local access
    • Client web server
    • Client provides web server with public IP address
    • Client creates DNS entry pointing to this public IP address
  • estaging.yoursite.com - Staging site for local access
    • Client web server
    • Client provides web server with public IP address
    • Client creates DNS entry pointing to this public IP address 
  • yoursite.birddogsw.com BD server - Staging Site for public access
    • BirdDog will manage all set up
  • www.yoursite.com BD Server - Production site for public access
    • BirdDog will manage all set up
    • Client will switch DNS to IP address provided by BirdDog when ready for Go Live

Not Synched / Hosted Environment
  • yoursite.birddogsw.com BD server, BD will manage all set up
  • www.yoursite.com BD Server, BD will manage all set up


Not Synched / Local Environment
  • staging.yoursite.com client server - client provides webserver with public IP address, client creates DNS entry pointing to this public IP address
  • www.yoursite.com client server - client provides webserver with public IP address, client creates DNS entry pointing to this public IP address
Server Maintenance Policy

Purpose

In order to operate in an efficient and secure manner, servers and network equipment require routine maintenance and upgrades.
 
While this maintenance occurs rarely, during routine kernel and other system updates we may require a server to be taken off-line or rebooted.
 
To minimize downtime during peak traffic hours it is necessary for support to periodically take servers and network equipment off-line for routine maintenance during scheduled off-peak periods.
 
 
This document defines BirdDog Software Hosting policy regarding the scheduling of network and server outage (offline) periods so that routine maintenance can be performed.
 

Specifics

Three types of maintenance downtimes are defined:
  • Routine Maintenance – A weekly short downtime necessary for quick updates and patches requiring reboots or restarts.
  • Comprehensive Maintenance – A longer monthly or otherwise scheduled downtime necessary for more significant enhancements.
  • Emergency Maintenance – A service-affecting maintenance that is so severe it requires immediate attention.
 
The scheduled downtime intervals are: 
  • Routine Maintenance Window (Weekly) – Saturday evening and Sunday mornings, from 11:00 PM Saturday until 3:00 AM Sunday Central Standard Time. Outages should not exceed 15 minutes unless other problems are encountered and will NOT be announced.
  • Comprehensive Maintenance Window (Monthly or Scheduled) – First Saturday evening of every month from 11:00 PM until 3:00 AM Central Standard Time Sunday morning, or otherwise scheduled and communicated to affected customers via your contact email address.
  • Emergency Maintenance – This type of maintenance is inherently not scheduled and is only used in extreme circumstances. We will make our best effort to notify customers should this become necessary.
Every effort will be put forth to ensure that servers are taken off-line in a manner that will minimize interruption of connectivity and access to network and server resources.
 
Planned outages during these periods will not fall under our 99.9% uptime guarantee.
 
This policy includes but is not limited to:
  • Shared servers and accounts
  • Reseller servers and accounts
  • Dedicated servers and accounts
  • All network equipment
Major system upgrades may require additional downtime. BirdDog will make a reasonable effort to advise our clients as far in advance as possible of any predicted extended outages.
 
 
Hosting Service Level Agreement
BirdDog Software guarantees that its network will be available 99.9% of the time in a given month, excluding scheduled maintenance. Network uptime includes functioning of all network infrastructure including routers, switches and cabling, but does not include services or software running on your server. Network downtime exists when a particular customer is unable to transmit and receive data and is measured from the time the outage is reported.
 
BirdDog Guarantee: Upon experiencing downtime, BirdDog will issue a credit to customer in accordance with the following schedule

 Web Site Availability

Credit Percentage

99.9 to 100%

0%

98% to 99.8%

10%

95% to 97.9%

25%

90% to 94.9%

50%

89.9% or below

100%

Exceptions
Customer shall not receive any credits under this SLA in connection with any failure or deficiency of Web Site Availability caused by or associated with:
  • circumstances beyond BirdDog’s reasonable control, including, without limitation, acts of any governmental body, war, insurrection, sabotage, armed conflict, embargo, fire, flood, strike or other labor disturbance, interruption of or delay in transportation, unavailability of or interruption or delay in telecommunications or third party services, virus attacks or hackers, failure of third party software (including, without limitation, ecommerce software, payment gateways, chat, statistics or free scripts) or inability to obtain raw materials, supplies, or power used in or equipment needed for provision of this SLA;
  • failure of access circuits to the BirdDog Network, unless such failure is caused solely by BirdDog;
  • scheduled maintenance and emergency maintenance and upgrades;
  • DNS issues outside the direct control of BirdDog;
  • issues with FTP, POP, or SMTP customer access;
  • false SLA breaches reported as a result of outages or errors of any BirdDog measurement system;
  • customer's acts or omissions (or acts or omissions of others engaged or authorized by customer), including, without limitation, custom scripting or coding (e.g., CGI, Perl, HTML, ASP, etc), any negligence, willful misconduct, or use of the Services in breach of BirdDog's Terms and Conditions and Acceptable Use Policy;
  • e-mail or webmail delivery and transmission;
  • DNS (Domain Name Server) Propagation.
  • outages elsewhere on the Internet that hinder access to your account. BirdDog is not responsible for browser or DNS caching that may make your site appear inaccessible when others can still access it. BirdDog will guarantee only those areas considered under the control of BirdDog: BirdDog server links to the Internet, BirdDog's routers, and BirdDog's servers.
Credit Request and Payment Procedures
 
To receive a credit, the customer will make a request by sending an e-mail message to creditrequest@birddogsw.com. Each request will include the dates and times of the unavailability of customer's Web site and be received by BirdDog within ten (10) business days after the customer's Web Site was not available. If the unavailability is confirmed by BirdDog, credits will be applied. Credits are not refundable and can be used only towards future billing charges.
Upgrade versus Update and Version Segment Definition

BirdDog Software follows Semantic Versioning (http://semver.org/).

The software will have a 3 segment version in the format Major.Minor.Patch.

  • Major - 1st # changes
    • Release of major new functionality
    • System Requirements change
    • Incompatible API changes
    • New functionality that is not backward-compatible
    • Bug fixes that are not backward-compatible
  • Minor - 2nd # changes
    • Additional functionality that works in a backward-compatible way
    • Bug fixes
  • Patch - 3rd # changes
    • Backward-compatible bug fixes

*Backwards-compatible means that 2 versions of the software must be able to run against the same database in a production environment without any special instructions to users of the software.

**One of BirdDog's development goals is to write our software in such a way that multiple versions can run against the same database. For example, 9.X.X, 10.X.X, and 11.X.X can all run against the same database without problem. However, in a production environment, there are steps you would have to do to keep your data safe if running all 3 of these versions. Therefore, even though they can run in the same database, we do not consider them backward-compatible.