Software Maintenance Costs

How to Estimate and Optimize

Relying on 16 years of experience in software maintenance services, ScienceSoft helps estimate and optimize software maintenance costs for businesses in 30+ industries.

Software Maintenance Costs in Brief

Making up the largest part of software development life cycle (SDLC), software maintenance entails significant ongoing costs that can make up to 90% of software TCO.

ScienceSoft shares major cost considerations for software maintenance (e.g., team composition, in-house vs. outsourced maintenance, software complexity, the number of users), provides sample software maintenance fees and best practices for optimizing the costs of running software in the cloud environment.

Key Types of Software Maintenance

Since 2007, ScienceSoft has been providing software maintenance services for businesses in 30+ industries. Below, we list four software maintenance types that are the most demanded by our customers:

Corrective maintenance

Fixing errors that affect software logic, performance, design. These troubleshooting activities require urgent implementation to keep the software operational and available to users.

Adaptive maintenance

Modifying software to adapt it to the environment changes, like changing a cloud provider, switching to another operating system, or introducing new software integrations. Changes in industry regulations, enterprise policies, etc. may call for adaptive maintenance as well.

Preventive maintenance

Introducing changes to prevent deterioration of software, avoid disruptions, or make it more stable and reliable. Among the most common preventive maintenance activities are code optimization and updating software documentation for easier future maintenance.

Perfective maintenance

Enhancing software performance and usability. Perfective maintenance activities are typically based on user feedback (e.g., updating UX and UI design), new functional requirements (e.g., adding a new business rule), the need to achieve cost savings (e.g., cloud resources optimization) and enhance software performance (e.g., optimizing the storage use for quicker access to relevant data).

Major Software Maintenance Cost Factors

Software maintenance costs may vary significantly depending on a project’s specifics. Among general factors that influence the total cost of software maintenance are:

  • The type of software maintenance (corrective, adaptive, preventive, perfective), the chosen time coverage (8/5, 12/5, 24/5, 24/7), and the scope of maintenance activities.
  • Software type, its complexity, availability and fault tolerance requirements.
  • The number of application users.
  • Availability of comprehensive software documentation (knowledge base).
  • The maintenance team composition and the team members’ seniority level.

In addition, ScienceSoft recommends considering cost factors specific to the chosen sourcing model:

In-house software maintenance

  • Talent recruitment that might recur in case of high turnover.
  • Investments in the in-house staff training.
  • Regular payment of salaries and fringe benefits, tax payments, etc.

Outsourced software maintenance

  • The chosen pricing model (price per ticket, monthly subscription fee, T&M with a cap, mixed).

Get a Clear Picture of Your Software Maintenance Cost

ScienceSoft’s consultants will analyze your software specifics and required maintenance activities to provide cost estimation for your software maintenance.

Sample Software Maintenance Cost Estimation

Depending on the software type, the number of users, and the required activities, the monthly software maintenance cost may vary from $5,000 to $50,000+*. Below is ballpark cost estimation for one-month maintenance of two different cloud-based solutions.

Complex custom enterprise application for financial management

Cost: $5,000–$15,000*

Software maintenance details:

Number of users: ~500 users.

Maintenance activities:

  • 8X5 monitoring and management of software availability, performance, security, compliance.
  • Infrastructure optimization (cloud resource consumption optimization).
  • Data management (data quality assessment, data quality issues resolution, data monitoring and control).
  • Regular code reviews.
  • L3 support (e.g., addressing high user loads, service failures, API unavailability).

Team composition:

  • 1-2 back-end software engineers.
  • DevOps engineer.
  • QA automation or manual engineer.

Customer portal/vendor portal

Cost: $30,000–50,000*

Software maintenance details:

Number of users: 20-50 internal users and 100,000-1M external users.

Maintenance activities:

  • 8X5 monitoring and management of software availability, performance, security, compliance.
  • Infrastructure optimization (cloud resource consumption optimization).
  • Data management (data quality assessment, data quality issues resolution, data monitoring and control).
  • Regular code reviews.
  • L3 support (e.g., addressing high user loads, service failures, API unavailability).

Team composition:

  • Lead developer.
  • 2-4 back-end and front-end developers.
  • DevOps engineer.
  • 1-2 QA automation engineers.

*The estimates provided are not ScienceSoft's official pricing for the software maintenance services. We estimate the cost of each project individually, based on our customers' specific situations and needs.

How to Reduce Software Costs During Maintenance

As cloud-based software is gaining traction, continuous cloud optimization has become a demanded maintenance activity requested by ScienceSoft’s clients. Below we share best practices we use to help our customers significantly minimize fees for running software in the cloud.

Rightsizing computing resources

We analyze the cloud infrastructure utilization and performance metrics to get a clear picture of software demand for computing resources. With the help of cloud rightsizing tools (e.g., AWS Compute Optimizer, Azure Migrate), we identify the underutilized resources that can be downsized, and make appropriate modifications.

ScienceSoft’s best practice: Using visual tools like heat maps helps get a better understanding of the ups and downs in the computing demand.

Terminating unused resources

Timely spotting and terminating the unused resources prevents you from being charged for the resources your software does not rely on any more.

Updating instances to the latest generation

During our maintenance projects, ScienceSoft always stays tuned with the updates of the leading cloud providers’ products. As a rule, new-generation instances offer enhanced performance and functionality. By updating the existing instances and rightsizing them according to the clients' needs, we help achieve the desired performance at a lower cost.

Evaluating the viability of reserved instances for your business

Reserved instances can help you reduce up to 75% of cloud fees, if your software demand for computing resources is unlikely to decrease within the commitment period. To make sure this is a viable investment, ScienceSoft analyzes our clients’ current usage of instances, and conducts a feasibility study for implementation of reserved instances.

Deleting obsolete snapshots

Although snapshots are efficient for restoring data, there’s no need to store all of them. In most cases, only latest snapshots are needed to recover the lost data. We can help our clients remove obsolete ones to achieve greater cost-efficiency.

Why Choose ScienceSoft for Software Maintenance

  • Since 2007 in software maintenance and since 2012 in cloud services.
  • 750+ experts on board.
  • 62% of our revenue from the customers we serve for more than 2 years.
  • Established prtnerships with Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle, ServiceNow, and other global tech leaders.
  • ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certifications to ensure mature quality management and security of the customers’ data.
  • For the second straight year, ScienceSoft USA Corporation is listed among The Americas’ Fastest-Growing Companies by the Financial Times.

ScienceSoft’s Agility in Software Maintenance

  • < 8 h

    for a hot-fix deployment

  • < 24h

    for rolling out comprehensive patches

  • < 1 week

    for a minor app upgrade

Sourcing Models for Software Support and Maintenance

In-house software maintenance

  • Full control over the maintenance process.
  • Possible lack of talents needed to perform specific maintenance activities.
  • Expenses on in-house staff’s training, licensed maintenance tools, etc.
  • Low team scalability & the need to establish the software maintenance process from scratch.

Fully outsourced software maintenance

  • A fully managed team of software maintenance professionals with required skills.
  • Cooperation based on the fitting pricing model.
  • Transparent KPIs.
  • Exposing your IT infrastructure to a vendor.

A mix of in-house management and outsourced support resources

  • Sufficient control.
  • Access to a quickly scalable number of outsourced experts with the needed competences.
  • Extra time and efforts to set up smooth collaboration between the in-house and outsourced teams.
About ScienceSoft

About ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft is a global IT service provider headquartered in McKinney, TX. With 34-year experience in IT and 16 years in software maintenance services, we help customers retain and improve their software performance and availability, as well as optimize underlying infrastructure costs. Holding ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certifications, we employ robust quality management and guarantee the security of our customers’ data.