Introduction

Everyone will tell you about the costs to create or build a mobile or web app, but very few talks about the cost to maintain your online business drivers. There will be various factors affecting it, like the business tactics you decide in the beginning phase or the launch, and the changes you would want when the customers actually start becoming a part of your business.

Simple examples of why you should consider maintenance would be, advertisement integrations, which might be a good way to monetize businesses working in a few niches or app types, but not so great to draw customers in. It could also be about creating the project in phases, for which you would need maintenance at each milestone to implement the next phase.

We will be thoroughly discussing the types, the need, and the engagement models, of maintenance. All this together would give you an idea about why maintenance is so important for your app/website, and why it should be considered right from the beginning.  So, the next time you plan out your mobile app’s development cost, you can weigh in maintenance you might need in the future.

Here are the points we will cover:

1. Types of Maintenance

2. Need for Maintenance

3. Maintenance Engagement Models

4. Cost for App Maintenance

Let us begin with the major points that you need to know when it comes to app maintenance.

1. Types of Maintenance

 After deploying your app, you will be facing a lot more issues than you imagined while getting it developed, but that’s nothing to worry about because everyone who has their app deployed faces almost the same issues. Maintenance will help you nullify the effects of when the environment changes or the technologies change or at least would help the app acclimatize to changes in the best ways possible.

All of these maintenance types play a very necessary part for most apps, and a must, to be planned before beginning work on your project, as it would lead to simpler app maintenance after deployment.

Major types of maintenance are:

i) Corrective Maintenance

ii) Adaptive Maintenance

iii) Perfective Maintenance

iv) Emergency Maintenance

v)  Preventive Maintenance

At first, there were only 3 defined maintenance major categories, but as we know there are a lot more subcategories, so we rounded it off to 5 to ensure the readers understand everything about app maintenance.

Let’s begin with a brief description of each.

i) Corrective

Done to ensure that any residual bugs or small errors are corrected as early as possible. Many companies won’t offer you this as they aren’t confident about this, they don’t trust their product enough. We recommend you hire android app developers and iOS developers from the top mobile app development companies, as to include 1-month of free support and maintenance, for that instance, we offer 3, for every project that we develop.

ii) Adaptive

Adaptive as the word represents is maintenance done to achieve perfect adaptability to ever-changing technologies, and app store norms, after the app is deployed to the store and is being used by the customers. The environment in which your app would work in would always be upgrading and changing, so while planning for the future is one part of the picture, adaptive maintenance is the other.

iii) Perfective

Perfective app maintenance refers to changes that can make your app better for business and can help keep and convert more users. A top iPhone and Android app development company is one that ensures they keep perfecting the app even after deployment. As the name suggests, perfective maintenance is done to perfect the app that has been deployed, a business needs to include this in the plan to ensure they can reach new heights by fulfilling customer demands.

iv) Emergency

There have been many cases across history when either Apple or Google decided to take apps off which asked for certain permission or simply changed the compliance form. In this case, if you don’t take the emergency app maintenance package, you could end up losing all your customers, be it iPhone users or Android users to the competition, as your app could be removed from the respective app stores.

v) Preventive

Preventive maintenance is a continuous process, if done correctly, you can ensure that the app wouldn’t go down even if the environment changes, top mobile app development service providers take special care of it, as it’s a very important aspect of app development. There are various aspects to preventive app maintenance, the most important ones would be knowing exactly when new operating system versions are released, and planning changes thinking of updates in advance.

2. Need for Maintenance

The need for maintenance begins at deployment, and go on forever and ever, no matter your business niche or app category. You can find below the top reasons for why taking maintenance packages for your app would be a great idea.

•    Keeping up technological updates

•    Minimizing uninstalls

•    Optimizing for new hardware

•    Adding/Integrating emerging technologies

•    Adding new features

•    Updating according to store policy

•    Versioning

•    Implementing phases

Let’s begin with why and how each of them is important for your app and maintaining your online presence.

i) Keeping up technological updates

To keep this one simple, let’s take the example of the quite recently added ‘Dark Mode’. Let’s suffice it to iPhones, and iOS apps, so with it the complete theme of your phone changes to dark, to strain the eyes lesser, in case of low lighting.

Now suppose, a user opens your app, with big pupils, in the comfort of their bed, with the lights off.

Accustomed to apps compatible with dark mode, the user would expect the same from you, and if you didn’t change the app accordingly, the user would be furious for you to be too ignorant and strain their eyes in all of this.

Read Also: Top App development Trends

ii) Minimizing uninstalls

The journey doesn’t end when the customer is converted and downloads your app, the real situation, and the need for maintenance commence after that. Continuous monitoring and adaptive maintenance are the best ways to achieve it, as it can only be done after the app is being used, it is directly done for the feedback you receive or the analytics you gather.

What goes after a user installs your app on their particular device is fairly unpredictable, you will need maintenance to ensure every feedback is taken on priority, and the user’s problems are solved. The lifetime value of a customer is significantly affected by the approach you take towards minimizing uninstalls, as increasing it is the only way forward.

iii) Optimizing for new hardware

About every 6 months or so, new chips and new hardware are being launched, they are then adapted by almost every new phone that is to be launched. The hardware will directly affect your app, it might need to be optimized better, it might add new capabilities that your app can make use of, it could be anything at all. To be sure you can avail it all, you will need a maintenance team to make those changes and release new versions.

iv) Integrating emerging technologies

New technologies are taking over the ordinary ones one day at a time, you simply can’t plan ahead for them, what we can do to make for it, is integrate them when their stable releases are out.

Let’s make a technology wise bifurcation for you to see how maintenance is necessary for your app if it revolves around emerging technologies.

• AI

Artificial intelligence requires data on a day to day basis, and in many cases, hiring a maintenance team is much cheaper than getting a panel made to control how data is fetched. AI algorithms could be anything, but what they fetch has to go through your app directly, and that’s how maintenance could solve all your problems, by directly changing the code.

• IoT

Calibration is a most for all apps that connect directly to IoT devices, it will turn out to be a much more beneficial deal than losing money in replacing burnt devices or resolving bad customer experience. IoT is as close as you get to a customer, by directly allowing then to operate devices of daily chores through your app, maintenance is an absolute necessity for every app based on IoT.

• Blockchain

Be it Smart Contracts, or changes in the chain, there will always be a requirement for further development on a company’s end. We know how Blockchain can work without any intrusion from the outside, but all the forks, and contracts, are to be made regularly, to ensure it’s updated at all times, and that’s right where maintenance fits in.

• AR

Calibrating images that are displayed on your phone is an ongoing task, and the easiest way to make it work smoothly is through maintenance. Augmented reality would always require more objects, as your customer base increases, while it’s a better option to hire permanent designers to make them, maintenance team would be much cheaper when it comes to deploying them and versioning the app accordingly.

v) Adding new features

Finally, a point where we would say maintenance isn’t the best option, it is actually, but planning the app in phases could be much better. But of course, if your app is already out there, you can start by planning changes you would require in phases, get them developed at once, and proceed with the maintenance team deploying them whenever you planned to.

For example, in our company, we have specialized contracts for app development in phases. Maintenance until the end of the contract is a part of it, and everything will be done according to a master plan. We will create the components which can be modified later, to ensure you can implement more functionality with just our maintenance team, significantly reducing the app development cost.

vi) Updating according to store policy

The AppStore and the Play Store work very differently, over and above that, Apple and Google keep changing policies to ensure the safety and security of the users and their privacy. Maintenance is the only way you can ensure you can have your app running even after overnight policy changes. Now we aren’t saying that it is the only way to go, as many contracts will fill this possibility if it happens sometime after deployment.

Fairly recently, Apple announced that you can’t update your app if it works with UIWebView, and you need to update it to WKWebView for improved security. Likewise, it could have been avoided if your app was maintained and updated regularly, even though you would have a fair amount of time, it will certainly cost more than if you have already planned ahead.

3. Maintenance Engagement Models

The costs for hosting, app store deployment and fees that are recurring and won’t change through the life cycle of the app aren’t included here. We are focusing this article on the costs that are actually going to be overhead above those, and the money you would have to spend on these unplanned circumstances.

Now for maintenance to actually happen, you are going to hire app developers, designers, tester, who can continually improve your app and make changes to it when necessary. Although it depends on the company to company basis, there are mostly 3 wide categories of engagement models, when it comes down to hiring app maintenance teams. 

i) Fixed duration maintenance

This model is for everyone who is looking forward to keeping the maintenance part at minimum hassle. Anyone can just hire a team from a reputed mobile app development company, and they are good to go. Companies usually charge on task to task basis, to ensure maximum transparency.

But since technological advancements are so unpredictable, these contract could usually include such clauses, this model is best suited for large scale businesses or apps with over million downloads, just make sure you choose an app development company with transparent operations.

ii) Dedicated maintenance

In this approach, dedicated maintenance staff would be allocated to a project, this model is especially suited to those who work in niches that involves customer satisfaction. As the name suggests, businesses can have the maintenance at their disposal at all times, if they go ahead and choose this model.

A team would be allocated to the project, and the owner would be charged a per hour flat fee for each of the team members, the changes that are done are charged at an overhead, according to the time taken to get them done.

iii) Scope based maintenance

This model is for businesses that have their own teams for planning and managing maintenance, and they just want people to get the job done, no questions asked. Scope based maintenance revolves around the idea of outsourcing maintenance work, which is already broken down into components.

In this model, the developers, tester, and everyone on the team, would work on your direct command, the development company’s involvement would rather be minimal. This model is usually chosen by businesses who work with emerging technologies, or for who R&D is the main segment of how they drive their business. The scope and the contract can change at will, and this is usually a clause while signing a scope based maintenance contract.

4. App Maintenance Cost

App maintenance will cost you quite a bit, depending on how many points you encounter when you actually need it. But you must at all times know, it is much cheaper than losing out customers and much cheaper than explicitly hiring developers for doing the same things.

App maintainance Cost

Take your average maintenance cost to be around 15-50% of app development cost, for the first year, and 10-20% cost in the coming years.

Let’s just say if you plan it out first, you will save about 35% of maintenance cost for the first year, and about 5% so forth.

Conclusion

App maintenance is a major part of a business’s journey towards success. Businesses strive to make the perfect app, but often forget that the users, want things their way, and not the perfect way. Entrepreneurs bet too much on perfecting the app, and often leave no scope for spending money on quality app maintenance services.

This blog was written for that particular reason, to give entrepreneurs and business owners an idea about how many possible ways are out there, where maintenance would weigh much higher than burning out for app deployment. We hope we made it worth your time, and that we were able to guide you all everything you wanted to know, about app maintenance.

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