In today’s rapidly changing market, all organizations are engaged in attempts to gain a competitive advantage over their competitors. One of the ways a company improves its competitive position in the marketplace is by the use of various software solutions to improve productivity and ensure seamless connectivity throughout the organization as well as with the vendors. As more and more organizations introduce software solutions to ensure smooth enterprise operations, it is but natural that newer solutions with more advanced features replace the outdated solutions, while existing solutions undergo further modifications in order to suit changing business requirements. But, complete replacement of existing solutions requires both time and money, which is the reason why application maintenance processes are even more important in the rapidly changing market conditions we find ourselves in today.

Application maintenance and support services may be defined as a branch of software development, which is involved in activities designed to extend the useful life of deployed solutions as well as additional processes to ensure proper working of such solutions. Such application maintenance and support services often include the modification of coding or features of the available software to ensure suitability and proper functioning in various industry settings. Commonly used classification for application management procedures include:

Adaptive Maintenance

Depending upon business conditions and market scenarios, companies often incorporate new or deploy modified form of existing software solutions. Such changes can often lead to far-reaching changes in the company’s software environment. In order to ensure that other solutions implemented by the company are able to function at peak performance in the new software environment, Adaptive maintenance processes are implemented. The adaptive maintenance approach of application development and maintenance thus ensures that existing solutions continue to deliver peak-performance to the organization even after radical changes in the enterprise-wide software environment.

Perfective Maintenance

Perfective maintenance is often considered to be an essential aspect of custom software development. Using various perfective maintenance techniques, a custom software development company can help enterprises in deploying solutions which are tailor-made to suit specific organizational requirements. By using such techniques of application development and maintenance, a company can choose to incorporate new or enhanced functions into existing solutions to bring about the functional enhancement of the current solution.

Corrective Maintenance

This is definitely the most common form of maintenance carried out by an organization. With continued use over a long time period, solutions tend to develop errors or break down. In such cases, corrective action is performed by using various correct maintenance techniques. This format of application maintenance and support services also helps in resolving previously-identified limitations or defects in existing software to provide superior ROI to an organization.

Preventive Maintenance

Prevention is always better than cure, as the old adage reads. The same is true for problems occurring with any software solution, which is currently in use. Preventive maintenance techniques ensure that the downtime caused due to failure of the software is minimized to ensure smooth company operations. The key benefits of preventive maintenance include superior software reliability to appreciably decrease the risk of future problems in the system.

Many offshore software development companies in India ink detailed SLAs (Service Level Agreements) with their clients, which often specify the following types of software maintenance services:

Application Upgrade

This is a form of adaptive maintenance and the procedure usually results in the introduction of new features into existing solutions to extend the useful life of current solutions deployed by a company. Such upgrades usually involve the introduction of new coding into the existing solution or the modification of existing coding to incorporate more features, while simultaneously improving the robustness of current operations. This service is usually included within the scope of application development and support in the IT industry.

Platform Migration Support

Many development companies ink SLAs, which include support for migration of the software from one platform to another. Such migration often requires the modification/rewriting of existing software codes to ensure support on a different or on multiple operating systems/operating platforms. Platform Migration Support can also be classified as an extension of adaptive maintenance, as the procedure requires modification of the existing/operational software coding to ensure proper operation on multiple platforms.

Incident Management

In certain cases, the user identifies bugs in the software, which cause it to malfunction, when a specific set of circumstances occur. The conditions in which such a malfunction occurs is known as an incident and preventive maintenance aimed at resolving such bugs in the software system are termed as incident management. The procedure requires identification of specific incidents which precipitate the malfunction of the software and take steps to ensure that the problem is resolved and optimal functioning of the solution is maintained even if the incident reoccurs. The importance of identifying and resolving bugs in newly developed software is mostly resolved in the testing phase, but in case any bugs are missed, the presence of robust application management and support services would help in the swift and efficient resolution of such issues.

The utility of Application Maintenance

In the constantly changing business environment, business applications can help companies gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. However, if not properly maintained, such solutions are capable of causing grievous harm to the business and render them uncompetitive in comparison to competitors. Thus the importance for application maintenance services for an organization cannot possibly be overstressed as such services are essential for companies intending to command a leading position in the market by leveraging the available software tools at their disposal and minimizing the unexpected downtime faced by their organization.