If you want to build a successful business app, it’s important to remember that you must start working on a project long before developers write the first line of code. Therefore, it’s essential to discover the needs of your target audience and carefully analyze all the requirements. What may elude your attention is the need for long-term support and maintenance required after the product launch.
Keep in mind that clients often demand new functionality, business environments tend to change, new software development technologies appear every year, and there are no apps that are not prone to errors and bugs. Due to these and many other factors, the need for constant software product maintenance appears. As you can imagine, without the right approach, this process may become pretty time and money consuming. In this article, we’ll share some tips on decreasing the costs of software product maintenance.
Old Problems and New Opportunities
Before discussing the means of cutting costs on software maintenance, let’s figure out the significant factors that influence these costs. We can distinguish adaptive, corrective, and perfective software maintenance activities according to the type of problem you want to solve.
Business constantly brings new challenges as you grow your company, enter new markets, and want to keep up with your clients. If you wish your software product to meet these new requirements, adaptive software product maintenance is irreplaceable. Unfortunately, maintenance activities related to the constant adaption of your product to the market features will cost you the most.
The second place in our list from the cost perspective is corrective maintenance. No software product is perfect and 100% bug-free. Sad but true. All the bugs that weren’t detected before the product launch will make themselves felt in the future. Therefore, if you want to keep your current customers and attract new ones, it’s vital to monitor your app performance, analyze feedback, and timely fix all software bugs.
Last but not least, perfective maintenance is crucial if you want to turn your product from an average piece of software into a masterpiece. These maintenance activities are usually the least expensive, so you should be less worried about costs in this case. However, you can’t underestimate the value of perfective maintenance because the efficiency of your software is one of the critical factors in customer retention.
It’s essential to remember that software maintenance is not just another phase of a product’s life that can be dealt with after the product launch and forgotten after that. Contrariwise, software maintenance is an ongoing process that can go for years and decades depending on how long your product will remain in demand in the market.
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Now, let’s consider which significant factors affect the overall software product maintenance cost the most. First of all, technical requirements play a considerable role. A software product is nothing more than an answer to your business problems, but developers can shape it differently according to your requirements. Your vision of the final software product directly affects what maintenance costs will be in the future. For example, suppose you want your app to run on all mobile platforms. In this case, adding new features and polishing the existing ones will be more costly than if you chose Android as a single target platform.
Another essential aspect that can affect the software maintenance cost is time losses. There’s no shortage of reliable companies providing software development services, so finding a team of experienced specialists won’t be a big problem. The thing is, software maintenance is a task that may be unpredictable sometimes. In some cases fixing a bug or adding new features may take longer than expected, and subsequent website or application downtime will cost you.
Even after successfully launching a new software product, it’s too early to consider the task completion. Constant evaluation of your new app competitiveness is a must. There are many players on the market, and they each want their share of the pie. If many competitors are doing what you are as successful as or even better than you, maybe it’s time to rethink your business strategy. Since your software product is a part of this strategy, it’s somewhat helpful to focus on it as well. UI/UX design flaws resolution, code refactoring for improved maintainability, periodic security updates are just a few examples of the most usual software maintenance cases allowing to avoid risks and make incremental improvements.
Helping Your Project to Live Long and Prosper
Now, let’s consider some tips that can help you cut costs on software product maintenance. First of all, you should ensure a transparent development process. Focusing on quality and close cooperation between developers and a customer is one of the most critical factors guaranteeing decreased software maintenance costs in the future. In addition, creating a precise product development plan that considers all your business requirements must involve all company levels to ensure that everybody’s on the same page.
Remember that lack of documentation is one of your main enemies when it comes to software maintenance. If you plan to launch a product that will be in demand for many years, there are chances that its maintenance will be the responsibility of not the people who originally developed it. Therefore, for a better understanding of how a specific feature works and what is the best way to improve or fix it, the availability of extensive documentation is required.
Specific specialists that will take care of the maintenance activities may change over time. Still, it’s a good idea to work with a reliable software development company focused on long-term cooperation. There are many options available, such as big and small companies or freelancers. Before you start discussing your project, it may be helpful to do a little research and find out whether a specific company has enough expertise in developing the type of software products your business needs. Client reviews can also become pretty handy, so feel free to use such resources as Clutch or GoodFirms. Cooperation with an expert developer who values the client’s needs and does not change course in the middle of a project is a good foundation for problem-free product maintenance at a reasonable cost.
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Cutting-edge technologies are everywhere. Yesterday’s science-fiction artefacts such as AI development are nowadays nothing more than another tool helping businesses to achieve their goals. For effortless software product maintenance, it’s crucial not to overload your app with technologies. It’s sometimes helpful to start with something simple and test how everything goes before implementing a plethora of business features. Therefore, you may begin with an MVP version of your software product and decide whether or not it requires all the functionality that the world of modern technology has to offer. Keeping everything simple will help with cutting the cost of further maintenance.
Delivering the software product on time is one of the top priorities for every respectful software developer. Unfortunately, in some cases, the pursuit of deadlines may lead to some undesirable consequences. For example, when developers prefer speedy delivery to code quality, it often results in so-called technical debt. Accumulating code that requires future refactoring increases risks and, as you can imagine, can dramatically affect the maintenance cost. Therefore, you must prioritize your goals and address your needs to the software developer you decide to cooperate with. The importance of timely product delivery must be balanced with the need to avoid technical debt as much as possible to avoid maintenance issues that will pop up in the future.
Continuous software maintenance is a necessity caused by a plethora of different reasons. Constantly changing business environment, the complexity of modern software products, evolving needs of clients, high rate of technology development are only a few factors affecting the need for maintenance and its overall cost. The need to deal with these problems causes both inconvenience and new opportunities. Undoubtedly, continuous software product maintenance will cost you dearly. But what matters is what you get in return. With a proper approach to software maintenance, you can maximize your ROI, increase customer satisfaction, improve productivity and reliability thanks to constant monitoring and control.
If you’re looking for a reliable partner for the development and further maintenance of your software product, feel free to contact us.