Most people who own an app business are unaware of the importance of investing in mobile app maintenance and support services.
If you are planning to build a new app or have recently launched one, you must understand and acknowledge the critical role of app maintenance and support in ensuring success.
This comprehensive guide will help you understand the meaning, relevance and importance of app maintenance and support.
It will also provide you with an overview of the kind of costs you need to incur for the same.
Without further ado, let’s begin…
What is Mobile App Maintenance and Support?
Mobile app maintenance and support essentially refer to the entire gamut of procedures followed to ensure a seamless and bug-free working of any live mobile app.
It includes monitoring, refining, fixing and updating the elements that make it up in order to ensure a superlative end user experience.
A successful mobile app is not the one with the higher number of downloads. Rather, it should have a large number of active users and a high retention rate.
Statistically speaking, almost 52 per cent of the apps are uninstalled by a major chunk of their users within the first three months of the launch.
It occurs due to the negligence of the required app maintenance to enhance the user experience.
If you do wish to gather an optimized response and ROI from your mobile app, you must come prepared with an app maintenance and support strategy.
No matter how much costly or well-crafted your app is, there is always a scope of improvement. You might feel a need for adding the new features to stand out from the competition or there may be some other reasons.
Then there comes the app maintenance and support, which helps you push the new features to your existing app or take care of the bugs.
Types of Mobile Apps that Require Maintenance
The exact quantum and depth of the support and maintenance effort needed in any app will depend on the nature of attributes that make it up and the level of complexity that goes behind it.
To analyse whether your app classifies for the consideration of maintenance and support plan, you should know that more complex the architecture of your app, the greater is the size of the database, and the greater is the need of support and maintenance.
For an example, suppose you own a complex ecommerce app that has millions of daily active users. You are going to require a more proactive maintenance plan as compared to a minimal one-page app that is meant only for implementing the basic functionality.
Hence, depending upon your app type, the number of daily active users, and the level of complexity, you can opt for the most relevant maintenance plan from any efficient mobile app maintenance and support service provider.
What Are the Different Types of Mobile App Maintenance?
To put it succinctly, mobile app maintenance typically branches into the following types –
i. Emergency Maintenance
The emergency aspect of maintenance takes care of all the sudden problems and errors that plague the system and demand immediate intervention.
Whenever a company finds itself in an unpredictable but critical problematic situation as with regards to their mobile app, they must avail emergency maintenance.
ii. Perfective Maintenance
As the target users use the app, certain new or changed user requirements are discovered. Perfective maintenance takes those feedbacks into account.
It involves functional modifications in the source code, so as to provide active app users with a perfect user experience, just like they desire.
iii. Adaptive Maintenance
The adaptive type of maintenance is concerned with updating the system to keep it abreast with the changing hardware or software environment.
Environment over here essentially refers to the influences and working conditions, which impact the application’s system.
iv. Preventive Maintenance
Preventive maintenance is essentially the intervention that is focused on reducing or eliminating the occurrence of errors.
It primarily works on reducing the complexity of the application and improving the understandability and maintainability factor.
v. Corrective Maintenance
Lastly, corrective maintenance involves repairing of faults and residual errors in the daily app functions. Residual errors are basically errors in design, logic or coding. They are typically ascertained from the bugs reported by users.
What is The Importance of App Maintenance Services?
The importance of app maintenance is to enable the optimal realization of the benefits of building the app in the first place.
It’s quite well known that the costs of building an app and acquiring users are pretty steep. The App Store and Play Store are characterized by extreme competition today.
In this environment, rationality demands to optimize on the app’s performance, and retaining existing users, while attempting to get more on board.
Mobile app maintenance is very helpful in this regard by ensuring a superlative user experience.
With that, here’s how maintenance helps…
i. Stay upbeat with hardware changes
As mobile and tablet manufacturers come up with new models of the hardware systems, the new devices are not always of the same size specifications or features. For instance, the introduction of a face and fingerprint recognition changed screen sizes and so on.
An app that is not updated to adapt to the changing hardware and OS, becomes outdated. A regular and dedicated maintenance team working to keep up with these changes from time to time helps in maintaining user loyalty.
ii. Improve the UI
The look and feel of any app are very important in determining its success. The UI needs to be attractive and functional, or at least not outdated in order to keep the users hooked on to it.
It’s no surprise that aesthetic trends keep evolving, and then the functional designs too, are expected to undergo a change.
With a systematic maintenance plan, you’ll never fall behind time in nurturing the best UI.
iii. Ensure compatibility with evolving OS
Almost every year, it is common to find an update in the versions of iOS and Android. In the event of that update, your existing app may not remain functional at all or as functional as it is. This gap can annoy users or make them abandon your app.
Having a maintenance plan in place that includes pro-active audits when the beta version of the update is released is optimal in terms of avoiding last-minute inconvenience to the users.
Maintenance basically facilitates the right intervention at the right time. The development team can become aware of the changes they need to make in advance.
Hence they can be positioned to respond at the appropriate time before it gets late.
iv. Stay in sync with software library updates
App developers, as a common practice, prefer to make use of the pre-coded software libraries to eliminate heaps of redundant coding work.
This also means that they need to ensure that your app software is up to date with any updates in the concerned libraries.
Maintenance plans play a very helpful part in this regard and ensure continued optimality.
v. Manage downtimes effectively
Downtimes are common and unavoidable in almost every segment of information technology.
Even the biggest of the global names such as Amazon, Blackberry and so on are victims of downtimes that are known to have severely hit their bottom line.
Investing in regular and timely app maintenance helps to detect such downtimes before it gets too late. Having scheduled maintenance plans in place also means that you’re ensured of prompt and effective solutions to restore the normal functioning in the event of those situations.
vi. Ensure continued and robust security
With the dedication of the hackers and cybercriminals in finding security loopholes to exploit, even the best security protocols and encryptions are able to have only a limited shelf life.
Now if your app is home to sensitive information, having that data vulnerable can have adverse and irreversible implications.
Regular app maintenance helps in ensuring security. It takes into account that the latest security protocols and measures are in place to protect the app and its users from the threats of nasty cyber crimes.
Cost of the App Maintenance and Support Services
Unlike the common pre-conceived notion, app maintenance costs are not necessarily over-priced.
The foremost thing to understand is that the actual cost is directly proportional to the type and complexity of maintenance needed and opted for.
Moreover, not maintaining your app, in the long run, can be more costly than maintaining it regularly.
Mainly it’s the combination of two factors that determine the pocket pinch for your app:
Complexity: The more complex is the app, the more comprehensive its maintenance need to be.
Frequency: Next comes the frequency at which the intervention is needed. Weekly or monthly maintenance intervention as a service will cost more than quarterly or half yearly maintenance.
As such, the cost can be broken into the following broad components –
- Hosting costs
- Monitoring and crash analytics
- App store optimization
- Frequency of adding new content
- Marketing costs
- Emergency situations
As a ballpark, you can estimate 20% of the cost for initial development while scheming about the cost of maintaining your app.
Over here, it is also important to acknowledge that the cost is going to be highly dependent on how your app was initially built. If it hasn’t been designed to scale, the costs of maintenance can significantly multiply as the app grows its user base.
Usually, the companies that provide app development services also offer the mobile app maintenance plans.
You may stick to the same team or look for another experienced app maintenance service provider.