When a support provider helps their customer with using a given software product.

This includes interactive support in response to specific customer requests and writing documentation.

It includes analysis as well as authoring specifications, release notes, end-user documentation.


When a support provider helps their customer to keep a given system running.

end-user support

Gives first-level support to end users.

The support provider is always available when end users need them. Forwards the request other actors if they cannot help directly.

end-user training

A service that comprises publishing of training material and/or organizing training sessions for end users and key users.

developer service

One of the services provided by a development provider. Developer services usually include analysis, programming, testing, deployment, maintenance and expert support.

server hosting

The service provided by a server provider.

In this type of collaboration the hosting provider is not responsible for server administration and end-user support. The site operator usually organizes their own end-user support and designates a third-party server administrator.

application hosting

A variant of server hosting where the provider also acts as the application carrier.

Support sales models

There are two fundamentally different sales models for services : flat-rate support and per-hour support.

flat-rate support

A support sales mode where the customer pays a given sum for a given period and gets unlimited support. The only limit are human resources. The provider promises that they give their best to help the customer with any problem. Upon agreement the provider can write additional invoices for extra work which deserves more money than usual. This model works well when provider and customer trust each other and want a long-term relationship. The project is seen as a cooperation where both partners contribute their work. Advantage is reduced administrative cost and increased communication.

per-hour support

A support sales mode where the customer pays for every hour of work required by the provider. The provider is responsible for writing service reports and methods for protecting against cost overflow.