Why is software maintenance important and what does it involve?

Małgorzata Kawałkowska

Content Specialist

Finally, your software is up and running. But it doesn’t mean that the job was done once and for all.  

Software is a living organism and it requires regular maintenance. The more users use your software, the more ideas for improvement or new features arise. The bugs need fixing. The performance should be continuously optimised as more data is stored and processed over time. All that and much more belongs to a software maintenance process. Let’s take a closer look at what activities are included in it and what does a software maintenance service look like. 

What is involved in software maintenance? 

Contrary to what many people think, software maintenance goes beyond fixing errors. It covers other areas that are necessary to keep your software safe, stable and reliable at all times. Software maintenance activities include:   

Ensuring software availability 

Every application is hosted in some kind of environment. Usually, the environment is quite complex and depends on various external factors. One malfunction may cause a chain reaction and result in problems with software availability. Preventing and addressing such issues is a part of a software maintenance process.  

Keeping infrastructure up-to-date 

Some technologies become obsolete with time and are no longer supported. Others evolve to newer versions. Their creators regularly release system patches to eliminate bugs, reduce serious vulnerabilities and optimize performance. One of the software maintenance tasks is to keep an eye on the tech stack updates and modernize it when necessary. 

Fixing errors on-the-spot 

Applications are usually well tested before the release. However, there’s always a possibility that some edge cases weren’t noticed by testers because the error scenario is very uncommon. If such a problem comes up when the app is live, it needs to be fixed immediately.  

Foreseeing and eliminating risks 

Putting out fires, when sudden problems occur is one side of the software maintenance process. The other one is to prevent them and eliminate possible risks thanks to careful monitoring of the app and the services or environment used.  

For example, if a framework version that we use won’t be supported anymore, which may cause problems for our app, we should upgrade it to a higher version. Anticipating risks and acting in advance is one of the pillars of software maintenance.  

Optimizing software for growth 

Usually, applications are released to the market as MVPs that meet basic business goals and as they gain traction and popularity are further developed to address increasing user needs. One of software maintenance areas is to make sure that the app is optimized to handle increasing traffic and data usage as well as predict where things may go wrong. 

Modifying software 

Sometimes the scope of software maintenance goes beyond reactive or even proactive maintenance, such as bug fixing and problem-solving. For example, at Spyrosoft we also help our clients implement minor changes and functionality improvements to adapt software to changing business needs or external factors, like new legal requirements.   

What does a software maintenance service look like? 

There are various levels of software maintenance service. Each level makes for a different scope of maintenance. Often those levels merge to a certain extent, so you can choose the one that best responds to your current needs.  

If you don’t have the resources to handle software maintenance in-house, you may choose an end-to-end service and outsource all software maintenance activities.  You may also decide to outsource only a part of the process, like infrastructure maintenance, or code modification. It’s all up to your preferences. 

There are also different software maintenance service models. You can choose an hourly-based model and have engineers’ support available for example for 100 hours per month when they’ll handle basic software maintenance activities agreed within SLA. Or you may decide on a solution tailored to your business with a dedicated team of engineers who will manage various software maintenance and small development tasks. 

Why is it worth outsourcing software maintenance? 

Often software maintenance becomes a neglected part of the software development life cycle. In-house developers don’t have enough time for maintenance tasks, because they’re involved in new projects. Not doing maintenance regularly may cost your business not only money but also reputational damage if the app’s malfunction causes serious problems to users. Since there’s a lot at stake, it’s worth outsourcing the software maintenance process if your in-house resources are limited.  

One of the biggest advantages of software maintenance service is the comfort and peace of mind it gives. You know that a team of skilled experts is always there to handle any possible errors or solving app availability issues on the spot. It can be compared to home insurance, just instead of receiving compensation for damaged property, you prevent damage from happening.  

If you’re considering transitioning the maintenance of your software to the hands of professionals, check our Managed Services offering that includes software maintenance services >>