So, after a long period of requirements approval, development and testing the software is finally ready to say ‘Hello world’. And so you pompously celebrated its release, but what now? Can you finally exhale and reap the fruits of your work? As experience shows, not really. In fact, after release, the life cycle of the product is far from over, as the maintenance stage follows. This topic will be discussed in this article. After all no software can stand idle, and proper care of your IT-assets will help you to save and multiply your online investments.
Software maintenance is very often interpreted as a simple fixing of bugs and mistakes. However, to ensure that software runs smoothly, you need a comprehensive approach that includes adjustments, debugging, analysis, and future upgrades. As Robert Glass writes in ‘Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering’, maintenance accounts for the lion's share of the software cost, and improvements account for about 60% of the maintenance cost. The rate of technological growth in IT is much higher than in most other areas. This means that you need to stay active at all times in order to keep your product relevant. Let's take a closer look at what the maintenance service is, who needs it, and how it works.
What is IT product’s maintenance?
Finished IT product maintenance is a service within Custom Software Solution that aims to organize a smooth operation of the software, set up analytics systems and collect client experience to track the effectiveness of the IT product.
Maintenance is one of the software lifecycle most important phases following the commissioning of the software. During the maintenance phase, changes are made to the software in order to correct defects and deficiencies detected during the use, as well as to form offers based on research analysis, add new functionality during the next stage of product development.
Why do you need IT product’s maintenance?
We agree that the question may seem quite odd. But by answering it, you can fully understand the importance of this stage. First of all, product maintenance benefits its owner by giving:
- a possibility to develop a product effectively and to correct errors ASAP;
- an ability to keep the IT product up to date and meeting the needs and requirements of the user and business;
- a collection of customer experience of the IT product to improve service;
- prevention of possible problems with the IT product in the future;
- an ability to increase partner’s and customer’s satisfaction.
Speaking of the last point. It is the maintenance process that allows to improve user satisfaction with the implemented software. It is a fact that satisfaction of users depends on how much the received result corresponds to their expectations. It is the maintenance stage that allows users to get used to the software and learn to apply it with pleasure. As statistics show, satisfaction of users in a year of software use is few times times higher than right after introduction.
But to reach such results, maintenance should be carried out at a proper level. After all, in other case level of satisfaction can even decrease.
How is the finished product supported?
As a part of Custom Software Solutions, a finished product is maintained at the final stage of its life cycle called Evolution. In particular, at this stage, the following happens:
1) The signing of a specialized service contract, which specifies all the nuances of further product development. The contract also includes a clause about a lifetime and free code warranty, which we'll talk about in more detail below.
2) The direct implementation of the finished product maintenance, during which our specialists conduct one or more types of maintenance of the software.
- Corrective maintenance - troubleshooting system failures and correcting errors.
- Adaptive maintenance - performing adaptive actions to meet the requirements, such as porting software to another platform hardware or software compiler, to an operating system or new processor.
- Perfective service - improving speed, cleaning product structure, reliability and performance, adding small new features.
- Preventive maintenance - finding and preventing problems.
We will tell you more about each of the types below.
3) Setting up the analytics of an IT product, which includes:
- Connecting and configuring Google Analytics to analyze user behavior, analyze the dynamics, identify strengths and weaknesses of your strategy, assess the effectiveness of your online promotion efforts, and prepare detailed reports on various parameters.
- Connect and customize Hotjar to collect web and mobile analytics, analyze the conversion funnel, perform custom and concept testing.
- Connect and configure any other tools and integration, if required.
We then collect and transfer customer experience data from the IT product through analytics and user feedback. Based on the collected data, we offer options for features and functionality additions to improve the product.
However, even this is not the end yet. After the maintenance, and sometimes in parallel with it, there is another stage, the further development of the finished product - a service that involves the creation of new versions based on the analysis of the current IT product version, analysis of goals, needs, and requirements of the client to improve the IT product.
To develop the product, we also conduct the research of market trends, news, websites, and competitive solutions, along with technical expertise and recommendations of the development team that worked on the project. Read more about this in a separate article about the development of the finished product, but in the meantime, let's analyze what types of the finished product maintenance exist.
What types of product maintenance are there?
During the maintenance phase, our experts provide several types of service for the finished product. Here they are:
- Corrective maintenance - elimination of system failures and fixing of errors or defects detected by users or their error messages.
- Adaptive maintenance - which implies carrying out adaptive activities such as porting software to another platform hardware or software compiler to an operating system or new processor to meet all of the requirements. The main goal is to keep the software up to date and meet the needs and requirements of both users and business.
- Perfective maintenance - for improvement, modification and update of the IT product so that the software runs for a long period of time. Includes improving the speed, cleaning of product’s structure, increasing its reliability and performance, adding small new features. It aims to reduce the cost of using the system and improve its serviceability.
- Preventive maintenance - for finding and preventing problems that may seem insignificant but may cause serious problems in the future.
In addition, we have product maintenance in several different modes to respond to possible problems according to the situation.
Immediately, the same day. In case of critical situations, our team will get the system back up and running as soon as possible.
Urgently, within a few days. In this case, our experts will fix non-critical problems within a few days from their detection.
Planned maintenance, on the date specified in the contract. In this case, we carry out periodic planned technical works according to the contract.
What does the client end up with during product maintenance?
Keeping the IT product up to date
The program ecosystem is constantly changing, and regular maintenance is required to adapt it to new challenges. Keeping the product up to date allows you to quickly update the software in changing conditions and increase its lifetime, as well as meet the needs and requirements of both users and business.
Your personal "Tech support"
Our team works in the "tech support" mode. This means that we are always ready to respond to a request to solve an issue regarding the product, as well as to advise on any specifics of working with the product in the shortest terms possible.
Lifetime warranty on our code
We provide a lifetime and free warranty on the code as a guarantee of our products’ quality. This warranty implies the correction of possible defects in the software at our expense if they are detected. The warranty is only valid if the code has not been modified by a third party.
Improving, modifying, and updating your IT product
We work on improving, modifying, and updating IT product to improve the performance, functionality and usability of the software. Works can range from changing the graphical interface of the software to make it more attractive and user-friendly up to making radical changes to the main code to improve runtime and performance. This way, the software will work properly for a longer period of time.
Gathering customer experience of the IT product
We collect analytics with advanced tools to optimize user experience. In addition, the use of analytical tools allows us to create a strategy for further product development.
Avoiding possible problems
Closely observing the program behavior, the expert can make decisions on software reengineering through data and code restructuring. In this case, support acts as a vaccine to prevent problems and additional repair costs that accompany them.
Why MassMedia Group?
First of all, because we treat the clients as partners and work with their projects as if they were our own. Moreover, in MassMedia Group we practice maximum involvement of the team in the project. We ask clients about their business and technical problems, log them, offer several options for solving them, as well as discuss the results of the problem solving by collecting feedback through CSI.
Summing up all the above, we can say that the best way to maintain the product is to get involved people who developed it. The complex approach provided by Custom Software Solution service allows us to guarantee quality at all stages of project development. Read our other C.S.S. articles to learn more or talk to our experts for a detailed consultation.