SaaS applications have become a key component of business operations for SMBs, revolutionizing how products and services are brought to market, and transforming the ways in which we communicate – both internally and with customers. Applications support our desktop and mobile operating environments, our hardware, the cloud, and more. They reflect today’s industrial operations, ensuring steady financial transactions, solutions management, and the extension of a positive customer experience.
That said, as applications grow in their capabilities, so does their complexity. With the proliferation in the number of apps used in the average business, combined with the volume of employees that interact with these apps every day, fixing bugs and maintaining security can become a challenge.
As such, dedicated application maintenance becomes necessary. Outsourcing this service can be a sound business decision, ensuring smooth and consistent performance of critical apps, and alleviating the strain on in-house IT teams that would otherwise be tasked with continually monitoring their status. Keep reading for everything you need to know about application maintenance for SMBs.
What is Application Maintenance?
In short, application maintenance is the ongoing upkeep involved in ensuring the SaaS apps used by your business are in good working order. While many business leaders believe that the app providers in question will take care of all essential maintenance, there is, in fact, some work involved on the user side as well.
Considering the IT infrastructure used by today’s businesses typically encompasses numerous applications, tools, vendors, data, and systems, managing the IT environment effectively can consume a lot of time, energy, resources, and budget – all of which could otherwise be spent on activities that drive business value and innovation.
As such, most SMBs find it challenging to strike the right balance between keeping up with day-to-day business operations and embracing technological change. This is where managed service providers come into the picture, enabling businesses to outsource IT services like app maintenance and monitoring to an external team of experts.
By availing of application maintenance services, businesses can delegate the responsibilities of maintaining their apps’ wellbeing, such as fixing bugs, enhancing its framework, and releasing patches to an external provider, so that internal IT teams can focus on core business operations.
Why is Application Maintenance Important?
Just like all other critical IT responsibilities, application maintenance requires careful planning and consistent efforts. Here are some reasons why application maintenance is crucial to your business:
1. Saves money, time, and resources
Application maintenance enables businesses to perform their daily operations consistently and effectively. All SMBs have experienced outages of core apps at some point. Suddenly, internal communication grinds to a halt or planned activities need to be postponed at short notice. The associated downtime and confusion as employees attempt to carry out their tasks without the requisite access directly impacts your bottom line.
2. Legal and regulatory compliance
If your business operates in a highly regulated industry, your applications will likely need to be updated as regulations change. Failure to comply with regulations can lead to hefty penalties and even suspension of business depending on which rules have been violated. By outsourcing application maintenance services, you can rest easy knowing that there are professionals ensuring that your business is compliant.
3. Cybersecurity defenses
Cybersecurity is one of the most pressing concerns for SMBs these days, especially given the rising number of data breaches across the world. There is a good chance that some or all of your applications have access to sensitive data. Having a maintenance plan that includes regular security updates will help prevent your business from becoming a cyber attack victim.
4. A fresh user experience
Many of the most commonly used business apps are updated regularly to improve functionality and user experience. If your employees are using outdated applications that make their jobs difficult, they’ll become frustrated and struggle to accomplish their objectives. By properly maintaining your applications with the latest updates, you can help streamline the efficiency of your apps and enhance the user experience.
What’s Involved in the Application Maintenance Process?
The application maintenance process involves the constant updating, modification, and re-assessing of an application to correct faults or improve its performance. Given that applications are closely connected to the machines and people you work with, such changes should be carefully planned and communicated appropriately.
Most enterprises focus on keeping up with current trends, releases, and technologies to avoid missing out on crucial new features. However, businesses that want to gain agility in today’s dynamic environment need to rethink their approach to application maintenance. By proactively suggesting specific courses of action when new software releases are anticipated, app maintenance service providers can not only avoid negative effects but also help businesses stay ahead.
What are Some Application Maintenance Tasks?
Some of the tasks involved in application maintenance include:
- Fixing any problems or issues with your applications
- Keeping applications up to date with the latest releases and in line with the prevailing industry standards
- Monitoring the performance of your applications to ensure that they are functioning as required
- Updating permissions regularly to grant employees access to the apps and data they need, while removing unnecessary access to mitigate security risks
- Managing licensing and renewal
- Ensuring ongoing cybersecurity protection
By outsourcing application maintenance, all of these tasks can be accomplished seamlessly, without the need to burden internal IT teams.
Application and Software Maintenance Costs
Cost control is a driving factor for most businesses and a key motive for outsourcing application and software maintenance to managed service providers. Many businesses underestimate the time and cost involved in the day-to-day management of these IT functions internally, and it can be difficult to put a dollar figure on the work involved.
By outsourcing, you know exactly how much to budget for IT expenditure each month, and you can focus your internal resources on business growth and innovation, rather than repetitive but necessary administrative tasks. Check out this cost calculator to determine just how much IT could be costing your business.
Support for Your Business’s Critical Apps
Are you seeking support for your business’s application maintenance? Electric can help. We provide support for 250+ SaaS applications across a broad range of business functions, including communication, content creation, storage, and project management. As our customers’ business needs expand, so does our scope for SaaS application support. Contact us to learn more.