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Software Maintenance Costs

How to Estimate and Optimize

Learn the key factors that affect the cost of software maintenance and examine the impact of different sourcing models. ScienceSoft also shares sample estimates for apps of various complexity and outlines best practices for software maintenance cost optimization.

Contributors

Boris Shiklo

Chief Technology Officer, ScienceSoft

Andy Lipnitski

IT Director, ScienceSoft

Software Maintenance Costs in Brief

Software maintenance is the essential phase of SDLC, which may constitute up to 90% of the software's total cost of ownership (TCO).

Relying on 16 years of experience in software maintenance services, ScienceSoft helps estimate and optimize maintenance costs for businesses in 30+ industries. Use our free cost calculator to learn the maintenance budget for your case.

Examples of Software Maintenance

Corrective maintenance

Corrective maintenance constitutes around 20–25% of the total maintenance effort or more if the software is relatively new or still undergoing development.

Adaptive maintenance

Adaptive maintenance accounts for about 15–20% of the maintenance effort or more if changes in the software environment or regulatory requirements are frequent.

Preventive maintenance

Preventive maintenance makes up 10–15% of the total maintenance effort.

Perfective maintenance

Perfective maintenance makes up 25–30% of the maintenance effort or more if there is a strong focus on enhancing the software's features and usability.

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).

Sample Software Maintenance Cost Estimation

Depending on the software type, the number of users, and the required activities, monthly software maintenance costs may vary from $5,000 to $50,000+*. Below are monthly cost estimates for maintaining two different cloud-based solutions.

Mature enterprise app with a low volume of change requests

Cost: $5,000–$15,000*

Software maintenance details:

Number of users: ~500 users.

Maintenance activities:

  • 8x5 monitoring of software availability, performance, security, compliance, etc.
  • Maintenance of daily software operations.
  • Infrastructure optimization (cloud resource consumption optimization).
  • Data management (data quality assessment, data quality issues resolution, data monitoring and control).
  • L3 support (e.g., addressing high user loads, service failures, API unavailability).

Team composition:

  • Core team: 1–2 back-end software engineers experienced in web, back-end, and cloud technologies.

  • Extended team (optional): Architect, 1 DevOps engineer, 1 QA automation or manual engineer.

Software examples:

  • EHR
  • ERP
  • Property management software

Actively evolving customer-facing app with a high volume of change requests

Cost: $30,000–50,000*

Software maintenance details:

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

Maintenance activities:

  • 8x5 monitoring and management of software availability, performance, security, and compliance.
  • Infrastructure optimization (cloud resource consumption optimization).
  • Data management (data quality assessment, data quality issues resolution, data monitoring and control).
  • Continuous software evolution.
  • Regular code reviews.
  • L3 support (e.g., addressing high user loads, service failures, API unavailability).

Team composition:

  • Architect.
  • Lead developer.
  • 2–4 developers with back-end and front-end knowledge.
  • DevOps engineer.
  • 1–2 QA automation engineers.
  • 1 QA manual engineer.
  • Project manager.

Software examples:

  • A customer portal.
  • A telemedicine app.
  • An ecommerce platform.

*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.

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.

Maintenance vs. Development Costs

The total cost of ownership (TCO) encompasses both maintenance and development. However, while development is a one-time process, software maintenance is ongoing for all software types.

According to ScienceSoft’s experience in custom software maintenance projects, maintaining complex on-premises enterprise software can consume 70–90% of the TCO, while a cloud-based app typically demands 30–60%.

How to Calculate Maintenance Cost?

Software maintenance costs primarily depend on your software's maturity level. The higher the frequency and volume of updates, the higher the costs will be. Other factors influencing maintenance costs include:

  • Software infrastructure and purpose.
  • Architecture complexity.
  • The number of users and integrations.
  • The range of maintenance activities.

Accurately Estimate Your Software Maintenance Costs

Please fill out the configurator, and our consultants will carefully analyze your needs and contact you to discuss a tailored service set and its costs.

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*What type of software do you need support for?

*What platforms does your software support?

*Which statement best describes your software?

*What stage is your software at?

*Is your software custom-built or platform-based?

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Platforms such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, Salesforce, SharePoint, Adobe Commerce, etc.

*What services are you interested in?

*Which levels of software support do you need?

What is the expected number of tickets per month?

*What regulations does your software need to comply with?

*How many change requests can we expect per month?

?

A change request is a request for direct modifications or additions to the software code.

Do you need any additional services to facilitate app maintenance?

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Our team is on it!

ScienceSoft's experts will study your case and get back to you with the details within 24 hours.

Our team is on it!

Some Facts about ScienceSoft as a Software Maintenance Company

  • 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.

How to Optimize Software Maintenance Costs: 8 Ways Proven by ScienceSoft’s Engineers

Detailed documentation

We keep documentation simple yet highly detailed to reduce dependency on specific employees and save your time and money during the onboarding of new team members.

Rightsizing computing resources

ScienceSoft uses cloud optimization tools (e.g., AWS Compute Optimizer, Azure Cost Management and Billing, etc.) to identify the resources that can be downsized before they cause unnecessary spendings.

Regular code reviews and updates

ScienceSoft regularly reviews the code to spot and address issues before they can affect the whole system and escalate maintenance efforts. We also ensure that software and libraries are updated to the latest versions for optimal performance and security.

Terminating unused resources

We timely spot and terminate the unused resources to ensure you are not billed for them.

Bug tracking and issue management

For enhanced transparency and accountability in the maintenance process, we use bug tracking and project management tools to prioritize, manage, and monitor bug fixes and maintenance tasks. It eliminates overlooked issues and keeps every team member updated on the progress.

Updating instances to the latest generation

Leading cloud providers often introduce new-generation instances with enhanced performance and functionality. By updating the existing instances and rightsizing them based on your current needs, we achieve the desired performance at a lower cost.

Using reserved instances

We can help you reduce up to 75% of cloud fees via reserved instances. But first, we make sure that this option is feasible for you (e.g., the project should be long-term, the workload is predictable, etc.).

Deleting obsolete snapshots

We don't store all snapshots as, in most cases, only the latest ones are needed to recover the lost data.

ScienceSoft’s Agility in Software Maintenance

  • < 8 h

    for a hot-fix deployment.  Collecting and analyzing telemetry data about software performance and usage, we identify issues fast, respond to them in line with their priority, and test the success of the measures taken.

  • < 24h

    for rolling out comprehensive patches. We reside on mature DevOps processes to ensure that code building, testing, and deployment are automated, which results in swift and secure updates.

  • < 1 week

    for a minor app upgrade. We employ Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) principles to ensure fast and frequent app updates without compromising the app's reliability and stability.

Sourcing Models for Software Support and Maintenance

In-house software maintenance

  • Full control over the maintenance process.
  • Possible lack of talents for specific maintenance activities.
  • Expenses on staff training, tools licenses, etc.
  • The need to establish the software maintenance process from scratch.

Fully outsourced software maintenance

  • A fully managed team with required skills.
  • Cooperation based on the most suitable pricing model.
  • Transparent KPIs.
  • Exposing your IT infrastructure to a vendor.

A mix of in-house management and outsourced support resources

  • Sufficient control.
  • A scalable team with the needed competencies.
  • Efforts to establish collaboration between the in-house and outsourced teams.

Get Consulted by Software Maintenance Experts

If you're unsure about the scope of software maintenance services or would like to learn about your cost optimization opportunities, feel free to contact ScienceSoft to get expert help.

About ScienceSoft

About ScienceSoft

Headquartered in McKinney, TX, ScienceSoft is a global IT service provider with representative offices in seven countries across three continents. Since 2007, 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.