Imagine the situation, a few weeks ago, you downloaded the mobile app on your device that allows you to order food without leaving the house. You used it several times, and it worked perfectly. It is Friday evening, and you realized that you need some ingredients to prepare Saturday breakfast for your kids. So, you open the app and start to add the product to the basket. Everything was fine until you wanted to change the number of particular products. You click number 5 next to the tomatoes and... nothing happened. You don't give up and try again, but still ineffectively. Refreshing the application does not help. You still have only one tomato in the basket. The situation is repeated with other products. It sounds terrible, isn't it?
Every software product needs maintenance and support services. Otherwise, situations similar to the described above may happen. It is a significant risk for your business. The user who can not fully benefit from the application will irritate, uninstall it, and look for a reliable, competitive application. Maintenance is not only about fixing defects. Your application has to be used on some devices. Whether it is iOS or Windows, and those systems are updated from time to time. Your application has to be compatible with the latest versions of those operating systems to achieve success.
Table of Contents:
1. What is application development and maintenance?
2. What is the difference between application maintenance and support services?
3. Why is application maintenance important?
3.1. Ensure proper app functioning.
3.2. Allow implementing innovations.
3.5. Higher user satisfaction.
3.6. Affects on the positive company and application image.
4. How does the application maintenance look in practice?
What is application development and maintenance?
Application development is a process that contains a few steps like planning, choosing technologies, designing an interface, programming, testing and finally launching the digital product. We call it a software development life cycle. As a software house, we recommend building software in an agile way. Agile Software Development focuses on creating Minimum Viable Products (the most basic version of an application that delivers value to users and can be released). After that, the application is developed according to customers' feedback and business needs. This approach's main advantage is that the product appears on the market faster and application owners achieve their business goals more effectively.
Application maintenance is about improving and modifying digital products that already exist and are used by users. It is all about bug fixing, implementing new features, modifying software files, improving performance, correcting faults, and caring about application quality.
Maintenance's main goal is to ensure a pleasant and bug-free usage of the application to its users. Every competitive company needs proper application support. Observing the application market brings me the conclusion that customers' needs evolve with continuous improvement. Implementing changes and new features can be crucial in that case. So, it is very probable that after releasing the application, you will be in need to implement some new functionality to stay on top of the game.
What is the difference between application maintenance and support services?
Those two services are quite similar. Software support services focuses strictly on fixing bugs that break the application in a crucial way. In that case, software developers from application support need to react very quickly and fix the error as soon as possible. It is virtually impossible to prevent bugs entirely. Development support aims to minimize the consequences of errors. Software maintenance services are much more comprehensive because focuses on application improving. During maintenance service, the development team works for application future success. It is all about research, implementing new exciting features, UX improvement, and finding a way to stay ahead of the competition.
Of course, we need to find a proper balance. Studies of customer behavior and needs should precede any application change.We want to improve the use of the application, not hinder it. Even giants make mistakes sometimes. For example, when I am looking at the latest Google's G Suite apps logos, I wonder, "Why do they look so similar to each other?". Now I need to think twice about whether I am picking the right application.
Source: TechCrunch - Google’s new logos are bad
Why is application maintenance important?
Software development is a costly process. We do not build software applications for weeks or months but years. The aim is to obtain long-term revenue. In that case, mobile app maintenance service plays an important role and brings a lot of business value.
01 Ensure proper app functioning
Maintenance allows monitoring your application and checks whether any disturbance alerts appear. Let's consider a situation in which your mobile application quickly achieves success and attracts many new users in a short time. Programming solutions that worked excellently with 5k of transactions per week may prove insufficient with 5k per day. The maintenance service is here to help you by detecting this situation and proposing an efficient code solution. You need to be aware that any application breakdowns will cost you money by transaction lost and customer outflow. So ask yourself, "Can you afford for lack of application maintenance?".
02 Allow implementing innovations
Launching the application is the first step in its lifecycle. It is very probable that you will need to change the strategy and implement new features in the future. To stay competitive in an app market, you need to be up to date with technology news and trends that work for your individual business niche. Your application's main goal should be giving value to the users by answering their needs or solving their problems. I am sure that you want to develop your business growth and increase profits. That's why your application will have to evolve somehow, and you need a maintenance service to do this.
03 Increase app safety
Cyber-attacks happen every day. Internet criminals are continually improving scamming methods. How can you keep your product secure? Well-tested, robust safety solutions, support, and constant application maintenance are the only ways to do that. Nowadays, users pay great attention to their privacy and personal data. Even the slightest data leakage is a danger for your business because users will immediately lose trust. Neglecting application security is a considerable risk of failure.
Maintenance is strongly related to Quality Assurance. Both services are necessary to keep applications reliable and strongly secure. Every change, even the smallest one, must be well-tested for safety. Otherwise, the situation that Apple had to face may happen to you. In 2014 they released the iOS 8 update, and unfortunately, the system did not work correctly. Users could not benefit from the touch ID function, and calls were blocked. After a few hours, Apple had to withdraw the update hurry. No doubt, maintenance and Quality Assurance did not go hand in hand in that case.
04 Enhance productivity
The IT market is a changing environment, technologies evolve. When I am writing this text, the latest version of the RoR framework is 220.127.116.11. I am sure that soon we will have version 18.104.22.168. Every programming language or framework is updated from time to time. Why? The main aim is to improve its efficiency. Furthermore, every new update brings some new features that may be worth implementing. Applications should be compatible with the latest version of the technology in which they are written.
05 Higher user satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is an integral part of application success. Few factors impact it. User Experience and friendly user interface are highly important, but even the best-designed app that does not ensure reliable functioning will irritate the users. If your application is defective, not user-friendly, or no longer needed, the users will stop using it. So, your task is to focus intensely on user satisfaction and application quality. Application maintenance and support are necessary to deliver value.
06 Affects on the positive company and application image
I am sure you know that places like Google Play Store or Apple App Store allow leaving reviews about mobile applications. Low rates and negative opinions about application quality can effectively stop users' installation desires. It will be much harder to convince people to pay for a product that has a low reputation. Any disorderly incidents will undoubtedly be noticed by the users and affect the company image negatively. We want to avoid it. That's why we always encourage our clients to pay strong attention to their digital product after launching it.
How does the application maintenance look in practice?
After launching the app, your service provider should present a maintenance and support service package. At Railwaymen, we offer comprehensive developers' care to our business clients. Our dedicated team monitors, reviews data and takes care of the app performance indicator. Thanks to the appsignal tool, we provide application analytics on time, checking the logs listed, verifying whether any comments and updates are required. Based on the monitoring, the developer sends the report to the client. What's inside? The report includes data about app traffic, information on whether any part of the application needs changes or adjustments for efficiency reasons, error analysis, response time, and other crucial factors.
Applications improvement is a similar process to application development. The talented development team is the key to success. As an app owner, you will contact a dedicated person from the software house team like Project Manager. This person is basing on the roadmap and runs the whole project. Tasks go through online management tools like Jira, so you have full control over the project progress. Developers resolve tickets based on the priority. You can also choose the preferred way of contact with the PM. When it comes to costs, it is easy to calculate it because you will be familiar with each maintenance and support team member's work hour valuation.
One of the examples of application maintenance is our education project Apple Seeds. We have worked with them for over 8 years. Their business is based on local kindergartens. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they had to close some stationary facilities and focus on remote learning temporarily. Our team helps them to adapt to challenging market situations. Watch the video and check the insight of the cooperation.
Application maintenance aims to ensure the security, efficiency, durability, improvement and stability of the digital product. Unfortunately, many people still don't realize the potential effects of negligence in this service. Software maintenance works for application success in the long term. It will be tough to keep user expectations and satisfaction if the application will stick in the same place and won't develop. There is nothing more discouraging for them than bugs hindering the use of applications. That's why every app owner should highly require maintenance and support services.
Building an application is not only about ensuring business value to your company. First of all, you need to respond to the customers' needs and give them a unique value proposition through your app. Your task is to observe what they expect from the applications and ensure it. Maintenance service is the only way of updating the application.
Ok, now you know that application maintenance and support are essential to run a successful app. But what about the price of this service? Check our article: