In this digital era, the demand for mobile apps is increasing continuously. As a business owner, launching user-centric apps has become more than necessary to expand the global reach. But the real challenge begins just after the launch. Yes, we are talking about app maintenance and support. Many companies are unable to perform it correctly or face issues while including it in their mobile app development process. That’s why our experts have come up with this complete guide to help you achieve all your post-launch objectives in a hassle-free way.
In this blog, we are going to discuss the ideal app maintenance process, security strategies you need to consider while approaching it, proven factors that define the overall cost to maintain apps, and much more. But first, let’s understand what is app support and maintenance in detail.
All about Mobile App Maintenance and Support
Mobile application maintenance is one of the most important app development stages where developers take the necessary steps to ensure that the app is bug-free. This stage primarily focuses on multiple aspects, which include fixing potential errors, improving existing features, updating functionalities, etc., to match the users’ expectations.
Why is it Important?
Users tend to immediately uninstall a particular app if they don’t like it or get a poor experience. But a good app support strategy can help you overcome this challenge seamlessly. Here’s what you can do with dedicated application maintenance services in place.
1 Complete App Monitoring
Closely observing the component-level performance of your mobile app will become easy. The maintenance and support services will help you monitor hosting and third-party payment, server, analytics, app crash, app feedback, etc. You can also keep an eye on security reviews and foster app store management.
2 Facilitate Latest Upgrades
You get the privilege to focus on frequent app updates that are compatible with multiple devices and operating systems. You can introduce the latest versions, support new library versions, work on operation level upgrades, improve app interface, perfect existing functions, optimize app performance, and so on.
3 Redesign UI/UX
Your developers can monitor the existing UI/UX experience, user suggestions, and ratings of a particular app store to find the areas that need modifications. They can observe the most-used as well as neglected design elements parallelly to bring the best to the table. This helps in offering what the users exactly need or expect.
4 Identify Potential Errors
One of the most important reasons to invest in mobile application maintenance services is to eliminate bugs and vulnerabilities. Timely maintenance of your app can help you identify the cause of app failure and enhance code quality. Your developers can avoid frequent downtimes and suggest quick fixes accordingly.
5 Integrations and Enhancements
Extend the needed support to manage your enterprise applications. Your developers can integrate new features and functionalities as required. Migration script and backend server modification, release plan and management, performance enhancement, continuous testing, and app porting are some other benefits to look forward to.
6 Provide Optimum Security
Often cyber attackers find loopholes in your app and use business-critical data to their benefit. With app support services, your team can offer end-to-end encryption and lessen the impact of this data breach. It helps to keep an eye on malicious activities or any other unauthorized intrusion and safeguards your mobile app.
Various Types of Mobile Application Maintenance
Understanding application maintenance types can accelerate your mobile app development process like never before. Let’s take a look at these types to help you build a robust mobile application maintenance strategy.
1 Emergency Maintenance
This type of maintenance is designed to address unwanted, unexpected, and unpredictable app errors. It deals with emergency issues and prioritizes quick bug fixes to provide a seamless user experience.
2 Perfective Maintenance
In this type of app maintenance, user requirements and preferences are of utmost importance. It involves tracking user preferences, for instance, which features are most loved by them so as to come up with the best-suited solution.
3 Adaptive Maintenance
The process of tracking necessary changes in an app to keep it up and running with the changing times and technology trends is known as adaptive maintenance. It is performed in accordance with your hardware and software environment.
4 Preventive Maintenance
It outlines all the possible factors to provide dedicated app support by eliminating the occurrence of errors. It reduces app complexities and focuses on maintainability via documentation updating, code optimization, and code restructuring.
5 Corrective Maintenance
With this type of maintenance in place, your team can keep a check on recurring bugs and other problems related to app performance. You can also fix issues related to design, coding, and app logic quickly.
Mobile Application Maintenance Process
Now that you know all the basics of app support and maintenance, let’s move forward to understanding the process that can help you take full advantage of your app maintenance activities. We have divided this process into 8 simple steps as follows:
Step 1: Identification
The first step is all about identifying the modifications and necessary changes. Before offering alterations for the requests raised, you need to classify those alterations as per your maintenance activities. This step can be easily automated or manually performed by your development team.
Step 2: Analysis
The next step in your mobile application maintenance and support process is to consider the practicality and utility of every verified modification request. You need to analyze and plan the changes you want to incorporate into your app. The analysis should include validated changes or input.
Step 3: Design
This step helps you define the new architecture and design elements for your app. It is determined according to the results and findings of your analysis. Your developers get enough room to develop a survey or test app with an aim to improve the security and safety of your user base.
Step 4: Implementation
This is one of the most important steps where your new app architecture is implemented. In a nutshell, the coding is done and programs are run simultaneously. It involves the addition of the evaluated specifications concerning features and functionalities to your app support system.
Step 5: System Testing
After successful implementation of codes and specifications, your developers need to conduct exhaustive system testing. With such internal tests, they can decide whether this implementation is appropriate or any further changes are needed to satisfy the maintenance activity.
Step 6: Acceptance Testing
When you are done with your internal system testing, it is now time to test it for acceptance. This step is also known as a dry run test and is performed to check if the additions are working properly as per the modification requests. If not found satisfactory by third-party users, iteration is required.
Step 7: Delivery
If the acceptance testing is cleared and your developers get confirmation from the third-party users, then your app modifications are delivered to the primary users. This step aims to offer fine-tuned coding and UI/UX. It also focuses on rendering better app performance and engagement.
Step 8: Maintenance Management
Last but not least, maintenance management is a step where your developers need to exploit the best source code management tools and platforms like GitHub, Git, GitLab, Apache Subversion (SVN), CVS, Mercurial, etc., to control patch-management, semi-versions, and versions.
3 Important Security Strategies to Follow
As you follow the above process to plan your app maintenance activities, you also need to consider a few security strategies to make the most out of them. To put it simply, here’s a list of 3 strategies that your developers should never miss out on.
1 Enhance Malware Protection
Often similar copies of proven enterprise apps are developed to confuse users who aim to download them. These copies are nothing but Malware that introduces critical security risks across your mobile app development process. This compromises user privacy and leads to data leakage, mobile device rooting, and other malicious activities. Hence, it is necessary for you to use the best malware removal and protection software like Bitdefender Gravityzone Business Security, ESET Endpoint Security, Kaspersky Endpoint Security, etc.
2 Install SSL Certificates
As a business owner, it is imperative for you to install SSL certificates. These certificates are nothing but small data files that can virtually bind a cryptographic key to your company’s details. This will not only elevate your app maintenance process but also help your app’s server to securely align with the browser.
3 Prioritize Mobile Device Encryption
Encrypting mobile devices is an essential application development and maintenance strategy to counter poor security measures. Once the devices are aligned with the desktop computers, the information stored within becomes readable and the files are easily accessible to your users. Consequently, encryption safeguards these devices against possible data malfunction and threats, and only intended users have permission to copy the encrypted files to and from the devices. Besides, the users can access the data only after entering a PIN/password.
Key Considerations that Define Your App Maintenance Costs
One question that must have crossed your mind while reading all the above is – how much does app maintenance cost? The answer totally depends on how you plan it and the key areas you want to address. However, to give you a brief idea of the cost distribution, here’s a compilation of factors that you can count on.
1 App Maintenance Platform
Your chosen platform for which app maintenance activities are to be performed plays a vital role in deciding the overall investment. The cost for Android or iOS (Native) platforms will completely differ from hybrid and cross-platform app maintenance.
2 App Security
Along with the above-mentioned security strategies, there are a few other app maintenance imperatives that you need to consider while planning your budget. This includes basic OS security policies, HTTPS – only for initial MVP, and full protection – using the SQL injection and XSS for data-sensitive applications.
3 Server Setup and App Hosting
You need to be clear about your server setup and app hosting requirements. You have to choose the type of server you need for your mobile app and estimate the relevant app hosting cost accordingly. Just make sure you choose it after analyzing your data type – text-based, static, or audio/video data transactions. Remember, you will need more disk space, memory, and server CPU to cater to huge amounts of data, which will ultimately increase the maintenance costs.
4 Data Storage
Your app maintenance cost also depends on the data storage method you choose. The key ways to store app data include offline storage, data cache, and cloud database. All of these ways require the time and effort of particular developers, and you need to keep this in mind while estimating the budget.
5 Hiring Resources
Hiring the right professionals or a team for your app maintenance activities is the most important aspect to watch out for. You need to decide whether you want dedicated app maintenance services for a long-term project or you seek a one-time maintenance service model. Either you can outsource your requirements or go for a team augmentation services model to hire the best app support and maintenance experts.
Another significant consideration that helps you define the costs related to your app support and maintenance services is real-time data analytics. You can definitely use free tools, but with a little investment, you can exploit advanced analytics tools like App Radar, Localytics, Google Analytics, Apple Analytics, etc., to get detailed insights into users’ expectations.
7 Bug Fixing and Updates
Your mobile app must go through regular updates to stay competitive and keep the users engaged. However, calculating the cost of updating features and functionalities depends on various factors such as the coding complexities, number of bugs, average time to fix a bug, and so on.
8 Customer Support
Many businesses leverage customer support teams and tools to stay connected to their users and understand what they exactly need. Investing in this area proves beneficial in addressing user reviews, suggestions, and feedback. You just need to consider the cost for the workflows and technologies involved.
9 Third-Party Dependencies
If you have included third-party solutions in your mobile app development process, then it is to be considered as an added investment. It is necessary for you to calculate the costs related to such external dependencies before starting your app maintenance activities.
Mobile App Maintenance Best Practices
Defining the maintenance costs is not the only thing that will help you deliver uninterrupted services. Your developers need to understand some standards to meet user demands and offer a seamless experience. Here’s a quick overview of the application maintenance and support best practices that they can follow.
1 Regular App Support
Technology is constantly evolving and bringing new iOS and Android versions to your table. Especially when it comes to hardware, an array of devices are getting released with improved specifications. As such, it is imperative for your company to offer regular app support and ensure that it is backed by the latest software and hardware features.
2 Add New Features
You need to keep a check on areas that are working fine as well as the areas that need improvements. This is a great practice to make new feature additions to your app. Furthermore, this addition of new features and removal of old or less used ones can help you deliver better user experiences.
3 Keep UI Updated
Another important practice to get hold of your app maintenance is updating UI with respect to the latest market trends. Keeping it updated or making necessary alterations by following ongoing designs, styles, patterns, etc., will help you enhance the visual appeal of your mobile app.
4 Check Licenses
Most of the mobile apps are developed using licensed technologies. The most important aspect to look into while doing this is checking whether the technology certifications or licenses are renewed or not. This practice becomes much more predictable if you have researched the technology while planning your mobile app development process.
5 Monitor Performance
It is necessary for your team to constantly monitor the app’s performance. Ask them to look for lags, bugs, downtime problems, or responsiveness issues, if any. Make sure continuous checks are carried out to address all the circumstances that negatively affect the overall functionalities of your app.
6 Scheduled System Maintenance
Practicing predefined system maintenance can uplift your app development and avoid missing out on potential errors. You can notify users about the system being down for maintenance beforehand and update the app accordingly.
Top Tools to Elevate your App Maintenance Process
There are various tools and technologies available across the market that promise to improve your app maintenance process. But only a few have the ability to simplify it. Let’s take a look at them one by one.
Xcode IDE is device-agnostic and is recommended by experts for maintaining code quality. Its key features include advanced testing mechanism, coding assistant, code filter, schemes management, UI prototyping, etc.
2 Android Studio
It allows developers to actively incorporate changes with thorough code analysis. Its key features include robust analytics, cloud test lab, APK analyzer, GPU debugger, app indexing, etc.
3 React Native
React Native offers dedicated mobile app support with code reusability and modular architecture. Its key features include live reload, reusable components, third-party libraries assistance, etc.
Ionic SDK can be the go-to option to develop and support your hybrid applications. Its key features include codebase maintenance, built-in browser instruments, debugging tools, ready-made UI elements, rapid prototyping, etc.
5 Apache Cordova
It is a powerful framework that offers multi-platform compatibility for all your app maintenance requirements. Its key features include Cordova command-line interface, Cordova core components, pre-developed plugins, etc.
With Flutter, your developers can perform maintenance activities faster and better across different operating systems. Its key features include state management, UI rendering components, build automation, DevOps support, etc.
It offers complete binding for the underlying SDKs that lead to fewer runtime errors and high-quality app development. Its key features include auto-completion, integrated testing, shared code, etc.
With all the above, you would have definitely understood that application maintenance is not a one-time operational task. It is a never-ending mobile app development process activity where you need to combine user expectations and the latest market trends to release the best-updated versions. If you want your app to keep up with the times and evolve continuously, then choose our comprehensive suite of mobile app maintenance and support services right away.
Pritam Barhate, with an experience of 14+ years in technology, heads Technology Innovation at Mobisoft Infotech. He has a rich experience in design and development. He has been a consultant for a variety of industries and startups. At Mobisoft Infotech, he primarily focuses on technology resources and develops the most advanced solutions.