WHAT !!!! 26K? Heck that's serious money. My buddy who sold commercial software, really big stuff globally, Verbatim etc, reckoned the going rate for ongoing support was between 10-18% per annum. Methinks that because its such a specialized software, they have our leg in the air.
I sat down the other night to really take apart Alarmaster, and what it actually does. Apart from being a really rubbish and rough programme, no disrespect to Phil Jackson who built it, and I think we were one of the first to buy the programme, and a couple of hundred a year support, its so fragmented and bitty you can't transfer it from one machine to a new one without intricate changes to the PC operating system itself. That makes tech support essential and at the rate they want to stitch you up for.
If it was as simple as just reinstalling it from say Windows 7 Pro to Windows 10, like a Word programme, that would be ok, but it's not. You have to faf about with the advantage database, other deep Windows commands etc. etc. It's a blinking nightmare, and the reports procedure is really junk as well. Even then, it was easy to ring up PC Data, Steve or someone would hop on team viewer and within 10 mins, all sorted. Now, Avanti who bought out PCData, operate a "support ticket" system, which is a pain and hardly counts as "support" If youve a machine crashed you need support straight away. My buddy in Suffolk waited 3 days for "support", and being linked to Sage accounting you can imagine the hassle. Moral, don't combine different software.
The big insult, as soon as Avanti took over PCData they have jacked up the annual maintenance (Mine was £800 2019 with PCdata, and we never needed them!!!) to £1500, increasing to £5k in 3 years...Well I know where Dick Turpin now works.
It would be much failrer to pay for support as and when you needed it..but then we know the reason why they don't do it.
But the long and short of it is Alarmaster is well past its sell by date. Its buggy, claggy and slow, it can't open 2 tiles at once, can't change font sizes, its really primitive now and so many problems and limitations and of course won't run on IOS . Thats annoying as we run several Macs but have to keep windows for Alarmaster...etc...it really is just rubbish and at a premium rate.
We made do with it for best part of 20 years. Now we need to upgrade all the machines and it's going to be trouble with a capital T. Unless anyone out there can sell their skills?
Cash for Mentor seems the only choice. Looked at Jobber and loads of software for "trades" mostly American, but they don't tick our boxes, and of course your very valid point of not wanting "cloud" based. If it's not on my own server I don't want to know.
So going back to what Amaster does, its not really a lot, just pulling and pushing from databases, with a user front end. The calculation of monthly NSI stats, Police response etc, could be a problem.
There is a specialist opportunity for a good simple software application for our profession, at the moment in my opinion, held captive by Avanti and Mentor.
I wonder if anyone still runs an Excel system.