Sage will announce the release of Timeslips 2020 by the end of April. While we do not yet know the ultimate fate of the Timeslips “Perpetual Edition” product, I thought that this is a good time to revisit the differences between Timeslips Premium Edition and Timeslips Perpetual Edition, which I originally wrote about in 2018.
Here are the basic facts on the two products:
- Timeslips Premium is a subscription-based product that includes all new releases of the product during the term of the software subscription (both updates and new editions). It includes free access to Sage Technical Support, and also bundles in some features that are – at least initially – not available in the Perpetual Edition product. It requires annual renewal of the subscription as a condition of continued use of the product. Subscription cancellation will result in loss of access to your database within 30 days of non-renewal.
- Timeslips Perpetual is the traditional software license product that is acquired via a one-time purchase. As the name implies, the purchaser owns the license “in perpetuity” and can use the product, with no further license fees, for as long as it will operate on current Windows operating systems. Users can purchase optional support contracts directly from Sage, if desired; no support services are included in the license purchase.
So, which is the better purchase?
The answer to this question, as is often the case with technology purchases, depends partly on the user’s attitude toward technology purchases, and partly on the “evolving” policies of the manufacturer regarding software sales.
- Need more than 15-20 licenses
- Expect to add more licenses on a regular basis following your initial purchase
- Expect to need recurring technical support and training services for the software
- Place a value on keeping current with technology
Then the Premium subscription product may be the smarter purchase. New features in Timeslips are typically introduced first in the Premium Edition, so Premium users have earlier access to these features. The Premium product is also initially less expensive to purchase (about 75-80% of the Perpetual license cost); of course, that initial price difference more than disappears when the annual subscription renewal cost kicks in.
The Perpetual Edition may be the better choice for firms that prefer
- to stick with existing technology for 3-4 years (or more!)
- do not have recurring support or training needs
- can maintain a consistent license count
The down side to the Perpetual license is that Sage has dramatically shortened the “support cycle” for Perpetual Edition users, to just about 18 months or less. What his means is that Sage will not provide technical support for “non-supported” editions of their product, will not sell additional licenses for these “obsolete” versions, and will no longer support integration with add-on products like Timeslips eCenter (the Cloud-based time and expense entry service Sage markets). For many firms these restrictions pose no obstacle at all; for some, it is a significant consideration. You will need to weigh where you stand on these issues carefully before making a decision.
And what if you make the “wrong” decision? To move from Perpetual to Premium is a simple step, involving only a change to the license key embedded in your installation. Moving from Premium to Perpetual can also be accomplished, but it involves “re-purchasing” a full license to Timeslips, at full price, along with a license key change.
And of course hovering over all of this is the specter of a change in licensing policy from Sage. The software industry is generally moving more rapidly toward subscription-based license, so Sage is simply following the trend. There may come a time when licenses for Timeslips will only be available via subscription – we hear rumors about this every year when a new release is announced, and this year is no exception.
I hope this will answer some of the many questions we are asked regarding Timeslips licensing options. You likely have additional questions specific to your needs, your environment, and your future plans for technology usage. We are here for you to help you puzzle through all of those issues. Reach out to us at [email protected] or by phone at 877-357-0555 to learn how we can help with your decision.
Jack Schaller has been active in the field of law office technology since 1989, and has worked with a variety of commercial accounting, legal billing, practice management, and document management software products during his twenty plus years in the software consulting field. During his tenure as a software consultant he has garnered many sales and service awards for his work with legal software products. Jack is a frequent presenter at legal conferences and seminars, and is a regular contributor to TechnoLawyer and other technology publications.