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Support Policy

Policy effective May 1, 2021

Inductive Automation is dedicated to providing our customers with high-quality product support. In order to ensure that your experience with our support system is consistent and effective, we provide the following support policy. Inductive Automation reserves the right to alter this support policy at any time.

Technical Support

At Inductive Automation, we pride ourselves on providing the best support experience possible. Our support staff routinely helps to troubleshoot problems, provide advice on best practices, and get you back on track to move forward with your project. Just like in our software, we don’t like to impose arbitrary limits; that’s why we don’t hinder your use of our support through restrictive contracts. You won’t see hard limits on how many tickets you can create, phone calls you can make, or the amount of time we’ll spend helping you. However, our support team is not infinite. As support is a limited resource, we must work together and have some ground rules to help prevent abuse of the system in order to keep wait times down and provide fair access to support for all our customers.

Usage Guidelines

In order to remain in good standing as a member of our support community, it is important to keep the following principles in mind.

  1. Support is not training
    We offer many different types of excellent training and educational materials. Inductive University, our free online e-learning platform, is an excellent place to learn how to use Ignition. Our highly regarded, interactive, live training classes are regularly offered and are a great way to increase your expertise quickly. And of course, our user manual is an excellent reference with a wealth of information. While our support staff will often offer tips and advice in the course of troubleshooting, we, unfortunately, cannot offer ongoing consultative training as part of a normal support plan. Please make use of our other educational offerings in order to learn how to use our product.

  2. Designing and/or building your project is out of scope
    While our support staff will be happy to help you when you encounter a technical problem or point you in the right direction if you get stuck, they cannot offer substantive design or implementation guidance, or consulting. While we make Ignition as easy to use as possible, it still requires technical expertise in many different areas. In order to achieve your project requirements, many different disciplines may be required, including authoring Python scripts or writing SQL queries. If you need significant help building your project, please consider getting in touch with one of our many qualified system integrators, who are experts in Ignition and many other related technologies. Our Sales Engineering team is also available for those looking for guidance on building out advanced architectures and want some information on best practices before making a purchase.

  3. Know your own infrastructure
    Ignition is installed on a wide variety of different computing platforms, both physical and virtual, and connects to a myriad of different devices, databases, and other systems. Our support staff are veterans of troubleshooting Ignition in many different kinds of architectures and configurations. We will happily assist in troubleshooting many different kinds of problems, but the scope of our support is limited to Ignition itself. Troubleshooting or configuring external systems like databases, firewalls, load balancers, networking devices, virtualization, cloud infrastructure, etc., is outside the scope of our support.

  4. Bring your experts
    When opening up a support ticket, it is important to have the experts on your systems available. Our support experience is an interactive one, where we will help troubleshoot live on your system if possible. In order to expedite the process, make sure you have the experts in relevant systems available for the troubleshooting process so that nothing is a “black box.”

  5. Abuse will not be tolerated
    We understand that many situations that require support are stressful, high-pressure, time-sensitive, costly, and intense. That said, we take any kind of abuse of our support reps very seriously. We will take immediate action against anyone who uses aggressive or harsh language, threatens, demeans, or otherwise engages in unprofessional behavior towards Inductive Automation employees.

In order to ensure that support remains as available as possible, we take care to monitor tickets for potential violation of these principles. To do this, we track a wide range of metrics and will work with customers who are routinely not following the principles laid out above. As a result, we may send you usage updates from time to time, give you gentle reminders, or, in more severe cases, be forced to de-prioritize your tickets in the support queue. In the most extreme circumstances, we reserve the right to unilaterally suspend or terminate access to support for any individual that is violating the above guidelines.

Ticket Classification

Inductive Automation support uses a two-category classification system for every ticket that is submitted: Problem and Consultative.

  • Problem: This classification covers reported issues that represent an actual problem with the functionality of the software. Examples being:
    • A gateway will not start
    • Functionality that was working stops, with no clear changes that should have affected it
    • An upgrade changes behavior or functionality
    • The software cannot be used in a documented manner
  • Consultative: Items that fall under this classification can be more commonly understood as “how-to” kinds of questions.
    • Not knowing how to accomplish a goal
    • Unsure of the best way to approach a problem
    • Data is not exactly what is expected
    • The problem statement focuses on technologies peripheral to Ignition, such as SQL, networking, etc.

This classification system is one of the things used to determine the prioritization of submitted support tickets. The main goal of Inductive Automation support is to provide prompt, high-quality support to customers who are experiencing serious problems with their Ignition installations. For this reason, Problem issues are prioritized and handled in an order that’s determined by the level of support plan that covers the installation in question.

For all non-Priority Care/ELA/Distributor customers, tickets that are classified as Consultative in nature are deprioritized and are not associated with a published expected response time. Customers may still submit these tickets via a phone call or the web portal; however since responses will be delayed, it is encouraged that these types of issues be directed to the forums or researched using the other free resources available such as Inductive University, or the online user manual.

Ticket Severity

Along with the classification structure, we also use a ticket severity metric to help determine how Problem tickets are prioritized within the support queue. There are four levels of ticket severity into which all incoming support tickets are categorized.

  • Urgent - Production is directly affected
  • High - Issue is causing a major impact or blocking development but is not directly affecting production at the moment
  • Normal - Standard Priority
  • Low - All Consultative tickets and other issues that have been deprioritized in the course of being handled.

The assignment of severity to tickets occurs during the first communication with IA Support at the time of ticket submission when submitted by phone. If a ticket is submitted via the web portal, we will attempt to assign an accurate severity based on the supplied information.

How Prioritization Occurs

Tickets are prioritized within the support system by taking into account Support Plan Type, Ticket Severity, Last Response Time (amount of time since last customer inquiry), and Ticket Classification. Ticket Classification is first used to deprioritize tickets of a consultative nature for non-PriorityCare/ELA/Distributor customers into a separate queue that is handled based on available department resources. The remaining tickets are then sorted into a queue to be actively handled by the Inductive Automation support staff. In general, tickets submitted by accounts having a “higher” support plan type will be serviced first; however, plan type is not the only factor used to determine response priority; severity and wait times are also taken into account in the ordering of the ticket queue.

Policies and Pricing

Support plans are calculated for a year and should be kept current by renewing annually. Your plan price is based on the retail cost of the software. If a lapse occurs, you will be charged a reinstatement fee (which is calculated at a daily rate) and if this lapse is prior to a major update, you will be required to upgrade to the current version to reinstate your Support plan. Upgrades are priced at 65% of the current retail cost.

PriorityCare

PriorityCare is our new premium support offering, providing unlimited phone, and web support at our highest priority level, as well as free software upgrades and member discounts.

+ 24% Annually | Support plan price is based on the retail price of software at the time of purchase.

PriorityCare includes:

  • Unlimited phone, web portal support at our highest priority level (Includes phone support during business hours; priority level may be affected by the severity of the issue.)
  • Upgrade Protection: Unlimited free upgrades to any modules purchased
  • 15% discounts on training courses
  • Free certification tests

TotalCare

Get peace of mind for the entire year with unlimited phone, and web portal access to our technical support reps, free software upgrades, and member discounts.

+ 20% Annually | Support plan price is based on the retail price of software at the time of purchase.

Total Care includes:

  • Unlimited phone (during business hours), and web portal support
  • Upgrade Protection: Unlimited free upgrades to any modules purchased
  • 10% off training courses
  • Half-price certification tests

BasicCare

Best for customers who want access to technical support reps via the web portal, but don’t require that issues be expedited via phone support. Includes free upgrades to any modules purchased, plus web portal support.

+ 16% Annually | Support plan price is based on the retail price of software at the time of purchase.

BasicCare includes:

  • Upgrade Protection: Unlimited free upgrades to any modules purchased
  • Unlimited web portal support

Upgrades

Upgrades are free for any software under a BasicCare, TotalCare, or PriorityCare support plan. If an upgrade is needed and a support plan is not in place, customers will have to pay 65% of the software’s current retail price.

Example:

Ignition License ($19,350)
Support Package Upgrade Price
Without Support Plan: 65% $12,577.50
With PriorityCare: 24% = $4,644.00 Free
With TotalCare: 20% = $3,870.00 Free
With BasicCare: 16% = $3,096.00 Free

Telephone Support

Technical support via telephone is available for customers for all software under a PriorityCare or TotalCare plan. Our telephone support is often enhanced by the use of GoToAssist, which lets our representatives actually see your issue live over the Internet, reducing incident resolution times to a minimum.

The support department can be reached by calling (800) 266-7798 or (916) 456- 1045 during our normal support hours of 6 AM to 5 PM PST. When calling after hours, you will be given the option to be redirected to the emergency support line. After-hours support is available 24x7x365 for customers who are eligible for phone support and is billed at $350 per hour with a one-hour minimum.

Strategic Partner modules (such as MES and MQTT) are supported directly by them and are covered under the same policies, however after-hours support availability and pricing does not apply to these partners. For details on after-hour support, you will need to contact them directly.

Post-Sales Support

Each software purchase comes with 90 days of free telephone technical support. After the initial free period, telephone support is available with the purchase of a PriorityCare or TotalCare plan. If PriorityCare or TotalCare is purchased during this time frame, then it is valid for 12 months starting when the 90-day complimentary support ends.

Inductive Automation will also provide limited telephone technical support for prospective customers.

Electronic Support (Forum and Web)

Inductive Automation is proud to offer free electronic product support via our online forum, email, and support web portal.

Software Updates

At Inductive Automation, we are constantly improving our software, both in features and reliability. To better keep track of each iteration of our software, as well as to coordinate upgrades, we assign version numbers to both the Ignition platform as a whole, as well as to each module. Version numbers are always three separate numbers separated by periods; for example, 7.3.8. The first number in this triplet is called the Major Version number. The second number is called the Platform Coordination number. The third number is called the Minor Version number.

The Platform Coordination number lets you know which version of a module is compatible with which versions of the platform. For example, if you were installing Ignition 7.5.0, all of your modules would need to be version X.5.Y; notice how the middle numbers match. We frequently release updates to Ignition and its modules that only change Minor Version numbers. These updates typically contain fixes and minor feature improvements. These updates are always free.

Less frequently, we have a coordinated release of a new version of the platform and all the modules. These updates typically contain major new features. Historically, this happens about once a year. When this happens, the Platform Coordination number will be incremented. The Major Version number of the modules may also be incremented, triggering a Major Upgrade. Put simply: a Major Upgrade happens when either the Major Version or the Platform Coordination number increases.

Active Development

For current versions and those specified as Long-Term Support versions, IA will actively develop fixes or updates for critical issues that will come out as an update in the software.

Long-Term Support Program

Long-Term Support Version means an Ignition platform version announced by Inductive Automation to be given Long-Term Support (LTS). Platform versions that are noted as LTS will be supported for a period of five years from the date of their original release.

Starting with LTS version 8.1, all LTS versions of Ignition will be supported for five years beyond the release date of the original release or two years past the date of a subsequent LTS version’s release, whichever is longer. For example, if the

LTS version (X) is first released on 1/1/2020, it will be supported at least through 1/1/2025, but possibly longer. If the next LTS version (Y) is released on 1/1/2024, version X will be supported through 1/1/2026.

Support for an LTS version is limited to critical problems where the software is rendered unusable and for which no work-around is available as determined by Technical Support. Only users with a valid PriorityCare or TotalCare support plan may receive phone support for the use of an LTS version. Bug fixes outside of this definition which are integrated into later versions will not be backported into LTS versions. LTS support excludes support for third-party developed modules.

LTS versions that utilize Java, such as 7.9, will be tested and updated to ensure compatibility with new Java patches. When new Java patches are released for the version(s) of Java that an LTS version of Ignition is compatible with, Inductive Automation will test the LTS version with the new Java patch within three weeks. If an issue is identified, Inductive Automation will notify LTS customers via the LTS Announcement email list, and release an LTS update within six weeks of identifying the issue. Customers can subscribe to this email list via inductiveautomation.com/email

LTS versions will be announced and noted on Inductive Automation’s website. Current and prior LTS versions can be found on our Downloads page. There are three categories in which an Inductive Automation stable software release can reside when it comes to provided support. They are:

  • Active
  • Limited
  • End-of-Life (EOL)

Active

The current release branch and non-expired LTS releases fall into this Active category. This means that the software is being actively developed/patched and the IA support team can provide full customer support with issues related to these releases. Releases in this category receive full development and support department attention.

Limited

Expired LTS releases as well as releases that were never considered LTS fall into the Limited support category. Development support and patches end in this category. There should be no expectation of new releases or patches for any issues that may arise in versions that fall into this category, however, customers can expect limited phone and web portal support. Limited phone and web portal support means the IA support department will, to the best of its abilities, provide the standard level of product support for these releases. As releases in this category start to age and get further from the most current and LTS release branches it should be expected that support will start to become more limited and response times may increase.

End-of-Life (EOL)

Releases that are announced as EOL will no longer be supported by either the development team or the support team. Customers should expect all web portal and phone support to end for a release once it passes into the EOL category. Customers will still be able to activate and continue to utilize EOL releases but no support should be expected beyond potential activation support. The one exception here is for customers who are upgrading from an EOL release to a release that falls into the Active or Limited categories. Those customers can expect to receive support with the upgrade process. IA will make an announcement 12 months before a Limited release is scheduled to move to EOL. Customers will then have those 12 months to arrange and execute any necessary upgrade plans.