Do apps need long-term maintenance?

by | Jul 16, 2018

After years of convincing your organization that you needed an app to compliment your business processes, you finally made it happen. You convinced the company to build the app. Whether it was an iOS app that your employees used in the field that communicated with your database, or it was an integration of two apps into one, your decision to build an enterprise-level application for your company gave you a competitive edge unlike no other, plus it made life easier for your employees.

So you built an app. What now?

Many vendors who build apps, unfortunately, do not always disclose that ongoing maintenance is required after a custom application is deployed into the field. You should and will have an ongoing, monthly maintenance plan in place for your app.

Why does my new app need monthly maintenance?

If you want to make sure your app will function in its full capacity, then updating it is a necessity. For all intents and purposes of this blog, we’re going to compare a software application to a house. Imagine as though you’ve built a house. It’s strong, state-of-the-art, brand new. Everything works as it should, and looks great. Passers-by “ooh and ahh!” and stop to admire your sparkling exterior.

Think “maintenance” vs. a very expensive future “restoration”

After a harsh winter, however, you might find that some repairs are needed to maintain the building’s integrity. Damage to the exterior caused by weather made a small leak form in the wall, allowing rodents and other pests to move into your orphanage. You wouldn’t be mad at the builder, or expect them to make these repairs and work for free, would you?

Just like a building or edifice, applications endure changing external factors and environments. Updates in operating systems can create security issues, bugs, and other issues caused by out-of-date code.

Once your app is live, you will have to shift your focus from development to maintenance. Eventually, your app will become obsolete if you are not updating it. Imagine all the time, money, and resources that went into building the custom app in the first place. You’ll want to make sure your company protects its investment by engaging in a maintenance plan with a reputed firm to make sure your proprietary technology is never compromised.

Additional reasons for wanting to maintain an app:

  • Applications were invented for a reason: to perfectly satisfy a particular need and make the user’s life easier. Don’t do the opposite.
  • Due to overwhelming competition in the app store ecosystems, an app should always provide the users with value and be as smooth an experience as possible.
  • Features and functionalities of an app can get buggy, and even stop working completely. Since there are likely other apps that perform similar functions as yours, you should stay abreast of all functions within your app and make sure that everything is working properly at all times.
  • If your users are frustrated enough, they will uninstall your app without thinking twice. This main thing you can do to keep users happy is to make sure your app is constantly bringing value. This means staying up to date with all the latest trends and provide extraordinary value.

 

  • Keeping track of your users’ data can provide useful insights into how your customers interacting with your app to make purchase decisions. You can see what is used more often and perhaps what is not being used and may need to be updated or possibly eliminated. An app is always a work in progress, and there are always areas for improvement.
  • The goal should always be for the users to love your app. Liking it is not enough with all the competition on the marketing these days. A key to your app’s success is going to be developing a long-term relationship with those users.
  • Creating better user experiences will ensure loyalty and trust. This is only done by being thinking ahead and practicing innovation. Your users will reward the apps that provide the most value and the best user experience.

 

 

Small problems can lead to expensive solutions down the road. Just like a small leak in your bathroom, delaying the repair will likely increase the damages and therefore the investment to repair it. With your app, if you don’t address bugs or flaws it may cost more at the end versus fixing them in a timely fashion.

  • Keeping your application up-to-date maintains a positive brand image.
  • Maintaining consistently high brand standards are essential in protecting your reputation. You want to address all negative reviews if they appear so that your brand is not tarnished.
  • There are new smartphones coming out every day and making sure your app is compatible with them is essential. Keeping up with usage habits and trends will be the one big key to maintaining your app long term. The user experience needs to be top of mind if you want to keep users coming back for more.
  • Loading times and responsiveness should always be considered, too. Looking at your analytics will assist with assessing this. Monitoring all metrics in your app will help you minimize lost users and improve user’s experiences.

Lastly, make sure that all licenses are up to date. It would be terrible if you did not update a license and then lost your users. It would be a very unfortunate mistake.

As you can see, there are many things needed to maintain an app long term. It is not a “create-it and forget-it situation.”

 

How much does it cost to maintain an app?

Depending on the licenses required, the timing of certain software updates, and the overall complexity of your app – this answer will vary quite a bit. Let’s say your app is only used internally, and you only require a small number of bug fixes and security updates which a single developer can handle. This type of maintenance plan may only cost a few hundred dollars a month. However, if you require an outsourced digital partner to make updates, resolve dozens of tickets, provide a support or help desk service, then it cost your organizations tens of thousands of dollars per month.

In conclusion – “retro software” just doesn’t hold any appeal, TBH

At the end of the day this could be huge news for your business, even if you have never thought about building a custom application or maybe you just need to update your legacy mobile app or software. This new technology may give you the ability to do something your competition isn’t – which in the end translates to a better user experience for your customers and more dollars in your bank account.

The uses for this technology are endless and the doors to the future are finally open.

If you have any questions about maintaining your app, please contact us today. Our goal is to make your app useful and profitable in the long-term. We are experts when it comes to app and would be happy to answer any question you may have about an app.

If your company needs guidance with mobile application development, feel free to drop us a line at sales@www.poweredlabs.com

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