Long-term app/website support and maintenance
February 22, 2021 - 12 min. read
When you buy a car, do you just buy it and that’s it? Or do you already want to make sure that the company can ensure that it keeps running smoothly? Or let’s say when you buy a washing machine, you still want to ensure that there will be maintenance in case anything happens to it. After sales service is a big industry, and there’s a reason why it’s so. Because people want their stuff to keep going strong, and with that same efficiency.
Your product is the same. As soon as it goes live, your responsibility shifts from developing your app to maintaining it.
This may seem like something intuitive, yet it is one of the most asked questions asked by our customers when we include support and maintenance in our contract: “if it’s built correctly, why does it need maintenance?”
Softwares, websites, apps and all platforms have a back end that was built with as much intricacy as any machine in the physical, non-digital, world. So it would make sense that, after the project is complete, that you’d also want to make sure that everything carries on with the same strength, is able to stay up to date, and is even able to stay relevant with new offerings.
Investing in long term maintenance and support saves you from being just another app from the almost 52% that get uninstalled within the first 3 months.
That is why we want to highlight a few points when it comes to why support and maintenance is important. We’ve combined the questions we’ve been asked the most regarding this topic, and weigh out all the possible pros and cons.
What is long term support and maintenance?
In the most basic terms, it is what you will rely on the most after you launch. Whether because a technical issue has appeared with some customers after launch, a sudden surge in downloads caused some sort of crash, or just to always be up to date with the latest phone updates, quick action must be taken otherwise you lose your current or potential customers.
It’s a fast-paced industry, and your business relies on the customer’s expectations to always be connected to you through your digital platform.
What does the support and maintenance phase entail exactly?
Support new Operating systems and/or new devices, which makes sure you’re always up to date and relevant
Bug Fixes that ensure everything is always working smoothly, and cut potential high expenses on the long term if left to accumulate. Also, unfixed bugs could lead to your app crashing.
Continuous Improvement, because your business deserves to be in its best possible shape in the digital world.
Frequent Backups that ensure your data is not lost.
Hosting Maintenance and Monitoring managing the servers and database on the cloud
Uptime Monitoring making sure your app is online and working. At 34ML, we guarantee uptime of 99.9% all year round
Respond to Users’ Reviews/ Feedback/ Technical Issues in a timely fashion, because they are at the center of your business.
Analytics & reports that allow continuous monitoring of your backend and the user experience.
What will happen if I don’t do support and maintenance?
- Your risk jeopardizing your performance
- This also leads to high Churn Rate (Uninstall rate)
- Unsatisfied users, which will impact your business success.
- App/website crashing, which, again, does not make for a favorable user experience.
Risk of losing data
- The app will not be supported for users with updated OS or new phone models, so you risk people losing your app.
What are my options when it comes to support and maintenance, the pros and cons of each, and when is each one recommended?
Yes, you do actually have options to choose from here. But referring back to our initial example; if you invest a lot in a high end, customized car, how much would you trust someone else to open it and work on it from the inside other than the original manufacturer?
However, we do understand that the best case scenario may not always be applicable, so below are the different routes you can take, along with the pros and cons of each.
1. The Company that worked on the app
- Know-How: No need to hire an in house team from scratch
- Accountability: Clear Service Level Agreement
- Credibility, because you’ve already been working together throughout the whole development process and have built enough trust and understanding together
- Peace of Mind, because it’s still the company’s full time responsibility to maintain your app
- Higher Quality service, because they’ll know the ins and outs of the app more than anyone
- Highly recommended for companies who are tech-based without a full time CTO
- May come with higher fees than the other options
The average cost of maintaining an app is 15 – 25% of the initial cost of development per year
2. Hiring an Inhouse Team to take over
- Recommended when there is a Full Time CTO on board
- Building know-how of the existing app takes time
- Higher Risk of Errors / Mistakes
Full time salaries for CTO, Project Manager, Designer, Backend Developer, System Engineer, Frontend Developer, App Developer
3. Hiring a freelancer
- Recommended for MVP or startups with very tight budget
- Not Reliable at all
- Highest risk of errors / mistakes
Based on your agreement with said freelancer
The main takeaway here is that mobile app maintenance is not just a one-of task. The market is extremely competitive, and once your app is launched, it needs the same attention, if not more than during the development phase. Ideally, you want your app to be kept under guidance, and frequently monitored by a dedicated team who have put in the time and effort to see it come to light.