Application & Product Support
Setup and Approximate Costs
WDLC delivers full-range support and maintenance services for applications of different types and complexity.
Application Support: the Essence
Application support activities ensure maximized availability, complete and uninterrupted functioning, and sustained application evolution.
- The app support team can include an app support manager, user support agents, DevOps and test engineers, software developers.
- Depending on your application complexity and evolution requirements, its annual support and maintenance budget may vary from $35,000 to $200,000.
The scope of application support measures
The broad spectrum of app support measures can be loosely divided into two groups:
Reactive application support
- Level 1: solving app usage issues and basic problems (help with logging in/out, password reset, etc.).
- Level 2: fixing application operational issues without code changes (e.g., adding new columns to existing data sheets, improving configurations of platform-based applications).
- Level 3: resolving complex problems by introducing changes to the code and database (e.g., for custom software – fixing defects on the code level, for platform-based apps – correcting issues with customizations).
Proactive application support (i.e., application maintenance)
- Introducing new app features and integrations. For custom software – legacy code redesign or application restructuring/containerization.
- Application performance monitoring and optimization.
- CI/CD and DevOps implementation (to facilitate app updating, modernization or evolution).
- Security code reviews and monitoring.
- Exploratory and regression testing, testing of newly introduced features during the app’s evolution.
- App infrastructure optimization (including cloud).
How to Set Up Application Support
The application support setup plan may vary depending on the application’s scale, functionality and type (e.g., on-premises or cloud, customer- or employee-facing) support needs.
Summing up the vast experience in application support and maintenance projects, we share some common stages of setting up application support.
Step 1. Estimate the scope of your application support
There are several key factors that we consider during this stage:
- Support scope and resources required. The scope and resources differ depending on the application’s type. For example, customer-facing applications require more L1 support resources, while employee-facing ones are likely to generate a higher number of L2 and L3 requests.
- Application support timeframes. The timeframes depend on the application’s criticality, for example, business-critical applications like ERP require 24/7/365 support.
- Application’s age. Legacy software may experience more issues and entail frequent fixes and updates.
- Application performance requirements (e.g., the average and peak number of intended users, the average and peak load, scalability parameters). Applications with high performance requirements need continuous performance monitoring and recurring performance testing.
- Number of integrations. More integrations imply more scenarios to monitor and more potential issues to resolve. Besides, after each substantial change in integrated software, we need to validate data sharing between the systems and run a regression test suite.
- Standards and regulations (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS) the application should comply with. To ensure compliance, we design data protection policy and procedures for the support team; perform regular compliance checks, security code reviews, application security scanning, and tuning of cloud security components (if applicable).
Step 2. Design the application support process
We outline KPIs relevant to your application support needs. A typical list of metrics includes:
- For reactive application support:
- First response time.
- User satisfaction score.
- Resolution rate.
- Average time to resolution.
For proactive application support:
- Application availability.
- Application outage time.
- Meant time to recovery.
- Number of implemented change requests.
- Number of change requests in the backlog.
- For reactive application support:
Step 3. Prepare the application support
We define relevant specialists for the project depending on the required level of application support:
- Basic end user support – specialists with entry- or mid-level support experience having basic technical knowledge, good communication and conflict resolution skills.
- Administrative support – specialists with senior- or mid-level experience in application administration and app monitoring, familiar with database querying.
- Technical support and application evolution – software developers with mid-level or senior experience in software engineering, source code and database management.
Then, we decide on an application support toolkit that is also determined by the application type and support scope. During our app support projects, ScienceSoft’s teams typically implement:
For reactive application support:
- ITSM or ticket automation software.
- Tools for communication between application users and app support agents (e.g., a customer portal, call center software, email clients, messengers like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, etc.).
For proactive application support:
- Continuous monitoring software for getting metrics on the overall application health, e.g., uptime and downtime, throughput, etc.
- Application performance management (APM) software.
- Code review tools.
- Application security scanning software.
- Cloud cost management tool.
- Software testing frameworks and tools for automated API and UI regression testing.
Step 4. Launch your application support
At this stage we:
- Negotiate the service level objectives and KPIs, a pricing model (depending on the scope of outsourced support activities, e.g., monthly fee, bucket of hours, T&M, price per ticket), and application support costs with the customer.
- Sign a collaboration contract and an NDA.
- Proceed to knowledge transfer.
- Configure or customize the selected tools (e.g., for ITSM, continuous monitoring, application performance management, etc.) to meet the customer’s support needs.
WDLC as an Application Support Provider
- 15 years in application support services.
- ISO 20001:2008 certified for IT Service Management Process based on ITIL
- Hands-on experience in support of complex, distributed modular applications.
- 9 Microsoft Gold Competencies, including Application Development and Integration, Data Platform, Data Analytics, Collaboration and Content.
- IBM Business Partner.
- Mature quality management system confirmed by the ISO 9001 certification allowing to implement projects fully meeting customers’ quality, time, and budget expectations.
- ISO 13485-certified quality management for medical devices and Software as a Medical Device.
- Assured safety of the customers’ data we access during the cooperation proved by ISO 27001 certificate.
Benefits of Application Support by WDLC
Application Support Costs
Application support costs may greatly differ with regard to the app’s type and requirements.
For WDLC app support consultants, the most significant application support cost factor is the scope of support activities. Besides, based on our experience in application support, we outline the cost factors that are specific to the outsourced application support:
- Required response and resolution time depending on the app’s issues severity (e.g., up to 1-hour threshold for respond and 4 hours for the resolution of a critical issue).
- The agreed and extra number of help desk tickets (for reactive application support outsourcing).
- Support team composition and team members’ experience and competencies.
Typically, the cost of application support may be estimated as 15-25% of the initial development costs per year, while during the entire application lifespan it may comprise up to 70% of the total cost of ownership.
Here are the approximate estimations based on ScienceSoft’s application support experience for you to get a more precise picture of application support costs: