Decisions, decisions! What makes the best application support model? And what do you mean by ‘best’? Throughout the life cycle of a software application, you will have decisions to make. These decisions, if not made properly from the beginning, will inevitably come back to haunt you during your development and lifetime support stages.
Application support models have a big impact on IT support and the cost-effectiveness of a product or a suite of products. This means it is essential to choose the right model for your environment when you are building or updating your enterprise applications portfolio.
In this article, we will outline some of the key decisions you will need to make as an application owner that could have a tremendous impact on your support model.
What Is the Application Support Model?
Application Support Model is a term used to describe the application support processes, methods, and metrics. These processes, methods, and metrics are dependent upon the application lifecycle stages. The application support model ensures that best practices are applied before, during, and after each lifecycle stage.
The application support model is a pattern or practice of providing effective, predictable, systematic, and predictable customer support to help users and application developers achieve their goals and desires in using Microsoft products and services. Customer support varies with different customers, depending on their needs and budgets. Some customers may require support on a 24×7 basis while other customers may require more situational awareness, detailed planning, or prompt response times.
Key Decisions to Make
- Pay Attention to Your Support Team
Pay Attention to Your Support Team is a core decision you have to make during the application support model. More than likely, you will encounter several applications related to the issue you have. The support team consists of application developers, support staff, QA testers, database administrators, or designers who make sure all requirements and interactions are specified in the application. It’s hard to prioritize tasks during application support so pay attention to who else is working on the application as well as how they are doing in terms of completing work requirements and providing support.
It helps to engage the wider (main) community if you can get your community involved in the application process through events. An excellent example is Google Scholar together with the LinkedIn groups for Science and Technology applications.
- Determine the scope of the ASM contract
The scope of your contract is the minimum amount of time (in months) it will take for your application to be handled and resolved, after which you will switch off the contract. Your scope will depend on the contractor’s performance records and on their willingness to work with you on repeat business. Reasonable negotiations can drive a good bargain, but it’s also necessary to address concerns that may arise during the initial negotiation—for example, if something goes wrong on one of your projects and you need to cancel early, that’s an instance in which you need to bring up with the contractor early.
- Select the ASM provider
ASM (application support model) is a software solution that can be applied to the entire process of applying for credit, including the information entering into the system, processing of applications, and any subsequent action taken as a result of those applications.
ASM helps the lender detect and avoid the risk of applying for credit in the first place while also assisting the customer in understanding their financial status and supporting them in making good decisions through an easy-to-understand interface. As more and more customers rely on mobile devices to access financial services, banks must ensure they can offer effective mobile solutions.
- Consider the different customer support channels
Customer support is important for success on the internet as it enables companies and organizations to reach out to customers in a personalized manner. However, it has become increasingly challenging for companies to ensure that their customer support remains competitive with competitors.
The team will be able to receive requests through different channels, including:
- Contact email
- Fixed live chat
- Customer portal
- Social network
- Ticketing method (case tracking system)
- Contact phone (mostly used for emergency)
Before deciding where to support your users, ask the following questions:
- What are my competitors doing?
- What are the most popular support channels?
- How can I most effectively use customer support channels?
While it’s convenient for users to have a direct line of communication with you, it may add stress to your support team and may prevent them from being as efficient.
- Create an effective communications plan
Communications are the driving force behind application support. Depending on what type of support you need or want, the right team can help you in shaping your plan. The support, you need will shift based on the outcome of your application. If your application is successful, you’ll continue to receive support from your network. If it fails, however, then it might be time to consider other options.
You must build this communications strategy into your application. Without it, your application will languish in support indefinitely while you wait for someone to fix it or move on to something else.
- Two approaches to hiring: in-house and outsourcing
You want to develop a strong in-house support staff to drive application performance by reducing human errors and improving the system. At the same time, you want to outsource some applications when the cost of doing so isn’t justified by additional productivity gains or increased quality. The decision which approach gives you the highest return on investment makes the most sense only if you’re taking into account all of your costs.
Advantages of Approaching In-House Supporting Staff
- Most of the decisions happen in-house
- Easy to communicate with management
- ZERO marketing costs
- You may get a deal on printing, especially if you’re not the only ones promoting it!
Onshore vs. Offshore outsourcing
Outsourcing is competitive and indicates an element of predictability. The offshore providers generally provide much higher rates than onshore services. On the other hand, if you are an active customer, they are more likely to treat you well. You will have to make sure that the service you get is comparable with what you would get if you were doing the work in-house. Your competitor may offer cheaper services in the short run if they are of lower quality or not able to provide the desired customization at the right time.
One vendor vs. multi-vendor outsourcing
Vendors offer a variety of products and services. Each vendor has a style and approach that they take with their work. One vendor may focus more on building relationships with their clients, while another focuses more on the technical aspects of building applications or software. Each approach has value, but knowing what both vendors offer will help you determine how much you are potentially paying in costs and benefits.
All-round or partial outsourcing
All-rounding refers to the process of hiring and firing staff as you grow and change your business operations. Partial outsourcing involves the use of contractors where some staff is provided by one company and some by another. Neither approach is right or wrong in itself, but it depends on what goals you set for each company and how you want to handle issues involving the individual staff members.
Do Business Wisely And Maintain Polished Operations
The right model for your company’s support depends on the size and type of business as well as the nature of your product offering. An application support model is an approach to application development that relies on the active involvement of customers, candidates, and business partners in shaping the product before it is released.
This model has been employed by major software providers as well as startups to create trust with customers during the application process and ongoing support. It’s important to note that the software-based aspect of this approach is crucial.