There’s nothing worse than having a product break while end-users are utilizing it. It damages customer relationships, hurts your reputation, and clogs your help desk with a backlog of customer complaints. That’s the thing about software. It’s never truly “done.”
Software maintenance is just as important as initial development projects. It’s just like purchasing a car; if you don’t maintain your vehicle, it won’t work as expected.
Software maintenance prevents bugs and glitches, enables quicker response times to end-user issues, sustains a healthy relationship with your customers, reduces operating costs, and allows the team to focus on other priorities.
Here’s why maintaining software is critical to your business and how a software maintenance team helps ensure a quality product.
Why Do Businesses Need a Software Maintenance Development Team?
Software maintenance is just as essential as the initial development of your software. It is the process of checking for bugs and software defects, making necessary corrections and improvements, testing the software to ensure it meets requirements, and maintaining records of maintenance activities. Application maintenance is critical because it is the only way to ensure the software you deliver works as expected and meets customers’ needs.
Additional reasons include:
- Keeps the Product Updated With the Latest Technology Trends: With new developments in the software industry happening all the time, you will want to keep your software up to date so that you can take advantage of the latest technology and features.
- Improves Product Quality: Software maintenance is the process of making sure your software works. It helps ensure you are meeting industry standards and staying competitive in the marketplace.
- Improves Customer Satisfaction: Software maintenance helps ensure customers are satisfied with the product they receive.
- Helps Avoid Legal Issues: Maintenance helps avoid legal issues by ensuring you are meeting regulatory requirements.
- Helps Avoid Security Issues: Maintaining your software through testing, updates, and patches minimizes security risks.
- Reduces Cost: Regular maintenance keeps things working optimally to avoid costs associated with rework or excess time to troubleshoot complex issues.
- Improves Customer Satisfaction: Software maintenance is not just about fixing bugs; it’s about improving the product. With every new release comes the opportunity to improve on the last one. Updating the software based on customer feedback or market trends increases customer satisfaction.
- Leads to Better Business Scalability: As your organization grows, you will have more things to manage, like a growing product inventory or increased customer support volume. Software maintenance helps optimize products for improved performance, which in turn leads to business scalability.
How Does a Software Maintenance Team Help?
A software maintenance team is a group of individuals who work together to maintain software products for a company or organization. The team often consists of developers, testers, quality assurance personnel, technical writers, database administrators, network administrators, system administrators, customer service representatives, and others who work together to make sure a product meets customer needs and stays up to date with technology trends.
When it comes to building your maintenance team, there are a few important skills the team needs:
- Strong Product Knowledge: Knowledgeable about the product.
- Efficient Communication Skills: To assist customers with questions and problems via phone, email, and other forms of communication.
- Open-Minded: Open to exploring new tools that could help improve functionality and accelerate scalability.
- Proactive: Ability to address customer issues as they arise, rather than waiting for customer complaints.
- Sense of Urgency: Provides timely resolution to customer issues.
- Committed to Learning: Stays aware of and up-to-date on new developments within the software industry.
- Disaster Recovery Knowledge: Knowledge of disaster recovery resolution, security issues, and software backup planning.
- Has the Appropriate Skillset: Understands the programming languages necessary; understands the tools needed to update/test/automate any parts of the application.
Tips To Build a Software Maintenance Team
Software development is constantly evolving. Your applications, processes, technology updates, and standards will constantly evolve. Maintaining your software keeps you from falling behind and prevents your product from becoming obsolete. The tips below can help you build a successful team to keep things running smoothly.
In-House vs. Outsourced
An in-house software maintenance team gives you complete visibility and control. You’ll have flexibility in managing update cycles as patches or fixes arise. In-house maintenance gives you control over tracking issues and ensures they get resolved. However, it can be costly to recruit the right resources and you’d need to find people with the right skillset. Additionally, you would need to train your employees on the product before they become effective at maintaining the system.
However, your development team may not have the capacity to continuously upkeep your product. In this case, an outsourced system maintenance provider is ideal. With an outsourced partner, you’ll get a team of specialized experts with the suitable skill set and tools to be effective. An outsourced provider boosts internal productivity since your team can focus on other priorities.
Consider Using the Product Developers as the Maintenance Team
Who better to perform product maintenance than the developers who built the software?
These individuals have in-depth product knowledge. They already know the ins and outs of the system. As a result, they can identify and fix issues quicker than an outsourced team, helping reduce costs. The product developers will also better understand the optimal maintenance process to support the product.
Create a Maintenance Support Plan
Your maintenance team needs detailed procedures for supporting the system. The procedures should be fully documented and available to the entire team. Ideally, you should create service level agreements (SLAs) that outline timeframes for availability guarantees and time to resolve issues. Additional things to consider include:
How complex is the overall software infrastructure?
The answer to this question helps you determine the skill set your maintenance resources need to be effective. Depending on the complexity, you may need to invest in experts with specialized skills that are hard to find. Or you may find entry-level or intermediate resources are sufficient.
What’s the estimated number of required resources?
You also need to consider if you need a few resources or an entire team. The answer to the above question will also factor into how many people with each skill set are required.
What’s our plan for platform updates, security risks, integrations, etc.?
Document your procedures for when updates need to occur—plan for how to manage security risks. Also, as new systems and tools emerge, plan for how your product needs to integrate with them.
How will we handle features and enhancements separately?
Determine the process for prioritizing features and enhancements. How will these items get documented? Where should they be documented for review?
Reasons to Consider Working With a Software Maintenance Partner Like KMS
In today’s digital era, software updates make all the difference for a profitable business. At KMS, we help keep your product up-to-date so you can maintain your competitive edge. And we don’t just help with maintenance. We can help you build your product from the ground up.
Our experts can also offer production services, testing, and product implementations. With us on your side, you’ll gain a team of experts with knowledge of your product’s technical and functional aspects. Contact us to discuss your technology needs.