Benefits of a Software Support Plan
As part of their software development services, a company’s plan or agreement will usually cover the following areas: ongoing maintenance and help desk support, proactive maintenance, and analysis of the system. Each one of these areas is valuable to ensure a business is running efficiently and help it stay ahead of its competitors.
Having a software help desk team available as a support resource will not only help ensure that the system is functioning properly, but can assist with answering any questions and help users navigate their way through the software. “One key value of a service level agreement is that for a business, there is someone to back you up,” says Erik Grobelny, Lead Software Support Specialist at Miles Technologies. “If there is some sort of issue or a user needs help using the system, help is available under a software support plan. This decreases turnaround time.”
“You could lose two or three days’ worth of sales by that time. If you are on a support plan, and we’re monitoring your site for you, we’ll know within five minutes of the site being down. Most times, we’ll have it solved even before the customer knows there’s an issue.”
Having a service level agreement with a software development company is also valuable because there is an individual or team in the software development services that is familiar with the system designed specifically for your business. This makes troubleshooting faster, as support specialists know best where to look for common errors in the software.
Optimal Function amidst Technological Advances
Proactive maintenance and monitoring is key to make sure the solution continues to function amid the changing landscape of technology. Many custom software solutions—especially those designed for businesses—will integrate with some kind of third party software system. All web-based applications will need to work in web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and Internet explorer. As part of a service level agreement, there can be a regular analysis to test whether all pieces of the system will continue to function with the changes in the browser or a third party system. “A plan will proactively monitor any third parties you do integrate with,” says Grobelny. “For example, if you integrate with FedEx to determine shipping charges for your e-commerce system, we’ll keep an eye on FedEx’s web service to see if it is going to update. We can proactively analyze what it would take keep your system working.”
A regular systems analysis as part of software development services is also vital in ensuring a system’s optimal performance. As part of this analysis, the development company should keep logs of various aspects of the systems functionality from any processes slowing down the software to common issues that come into the helpdesk. This information is then analyzed and used to recommend changes to the system going forward. “We’ll try to figure out what parts of the system maybe should be changed to make it easier to use or make it more intuitive,” says Lessard. “We could even add some features because people are asking about it a lot on the helpdesk.”