Setup and Approximate Costs
With 15 years in application support, ScienceSoft 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 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).
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.
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).
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.
To track the progress of long-lasting app maintenance activities, our support managers also apply general process KPIs like the ratio between the estimated and actual budget for the planned maintenance activity, its earned value, and compliance with the deadlines.
After outlining KPIs, we design ITSM-based standard operating procedures (SOPs) to stipulate all support and maintenance activities.
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.
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.
Our support team schedules planned activities for weekends or non-working hours. To ensure that app maintenance doesn’t cause work disruption, we inform users on upcoming activities.
Since 2007 in application support services and 2008 in ITSM, ScienceSoft’s high-performing support teams provide full-range reactive and proactive support activities to ensure maximum availability, stable functioning, and swift evolution of your apps.
ScienceSoft as an Application Support Provider
Benefits of Application Support by ScienceSoft
Before we start, we analyze TCO and ROI of supported apps and assess how these financial estimates will improve as the result of our support services.
Our IT support activities and service quality are reflected in regular reports with clear metrics (e.g., application availability, user satisfaction, Mean Time to Recovery) for strict compliance with service level objectives.
We ensure flexibility in pricing and SLA for application support services.
What Our Customers Say
Business Development Director
Due to our business growth, we decided to outsource the continuous development, support and maintenance of our proprietary internal systems. ScienceSoft coordinated knowledge transfer, discovery of our internal systems, then transitioned into supporting those systems and taking on projects to evolve their functionality. We recommend them as a trustworthy partner with skilled technical specialists on board.
For the past 6 years, ScienceSoft has been a reliable partner in supporting and maintaining our HR software product. They have fixed hundreds of bugs in the product’s performance since the start of our cooperation back in 2016 and keep modernizing HR on our demand, introducing new features and tweaking existing functionality to let us better cater to our growing client base.
We needed help in revamping a web app for pre-school institutions. ScienceSoft’s PHP team has fixed the app’s security issues and has enhanced its features like financial reporting and attendance tracking to make the app more efficient and easy to use. We are fully satisfied with the current results, and we are going to continue our cooperation with ScienceSoft on this project.
After the intranet migration was finished, we engaged ScienceSoft to provide maintenance and break-fix support for 10 months with monthly system health checks. We’d like to point out that ScienceSoft remained highly responsive during the support cooperation (2 hours to respond, max 4 hours to address a downtime issue).
Director of Security Department
We were looking for a reliable technological partner to implement and support QRadar, an IBM SIEM solution. After the system was successfully launched, we cooperated with ScienceSoft on technical support and continuous evolution of our QRadar solution. ScienceSoft’s team provided SIEM support services during our working hours, introduced complex configurations, and developed custom features for our solution.
Technologies and Tools We Work With
Data Capture Application Support for a UK Software Company
ScienceSoft carried out NOC monitoring, multi-tier support (L1, L2, L3) and customization for the Customer’s platform.
App Support for a Global Provider of Loyalty and Advertising Solutions
ScienceSoft provided 8/5 support (L1, L2 and L3) for the Customer’s complex ecommerce solution operating on different platforms (Magento, Magento 2 and Shopware), which ensured its stable operation
Image Management App Support for a Global Provider of Photo Processing Solutions
ScienceSoft carried out 8/5 help desk and L2 support for a set of ready-to-release image management desktop applications, which helped to ensure high user adoption and satisfaction rate
Modernization and Support of an Acclaimed Mobile Banking App
ScienceSoft provided performance monitoring, troubleshooting and modernization for the Customer’s banking app, which helped the solution remain a leading one on the mobile banking market and preserved the Customer’s competitiveness
In-house application support
- Complete control over the application support activities.
- Lack of flexibility in scaling the support team.
- Excessive training and staff costs.
Turn to ScienceSoft if you need help with designing a support process, selecting best suited software, defining the skills gap or other consulting services.
Outsourced application support team with in-house management
- A scalable support team with required talents.
- Balanced app support costs.
- High requirements for in-house management.
Turn to ScienceSoft if you need a professional, multi-language, L1-L3 support team.
Application support costs may greatly differ with regard to the app’s type and requirements.
For ScienceSoft’s 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 response 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:
For a stable mid-size application with a small rate of minor change requests
$80,000 - $160,000/yr
For a mid-size application that requires frequent and substantial changes
For a complex enterprise application that require continuous evolution
ScienceSoft is a global IT consulting and IT services company headquartered in McKinney, TX, US. We deliver flexible application support and maintenance services to help our customers maximize their applications’ availability and user adoption, minimize the number of software issues, and optimize the application support budget. Being ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certified, we rely on a mature quality management system and guarantee that cooperation with us does not pose any risks to our customers’ data security.