Application support is not only an essential part of the app development process, but it is also a valuable facet of customer service for businesses that maintain a digital presence. Unfortunately, too many companies fail to adequately address or plan for ongoing app support at the conclusion of their software development project.
This post will explain what application support is. By describing the tasks associated with app support, you will see how valuable it is to your business and digital efforts. For successful software solutions, ongoing app support and maintenance is the largest and longest part of the software development lifecycle.
Understanding Application Support
Some people have difficulty understanding application support because it is a comprehensive service that entails several different support tasks. Application support is a service that ensures a business’s digital operational processes run smoothly and enable employee users, clients, customers, etc., to complete their target tasks without any trouble.
Application support for internal users, like employees and ownership, is as important as app support for external users, like customers and end-users. Application support services can be broken down into two broad categories: technical support and human support.
Technical support is related to maintaining digital assets such as web apps, mobile apps, websites, software, and technological systems. Technical support is essential to the longevity and health of an organization’s digital assets. Websites, apps, and other software services always have bugs, service issues, security flaws, and other technical issues. No software solution is perfect, and without ongoing app support, the normal technical issues that arise will cause larger problems or create a bad User Experience and drive your users away.
Human support is an aspect of application support that is often overlooked. While technical support focuses on software performance, human support helps end-users understand how to use the software. Users who experience issues might get frustrated and abandon your application without good human support. In addition, it can be difficult to foresee every possible issue a user might encounter ahead of time.
While your business should strive to design an intuitive application, there will be times when a user is confused and requires guidance. In addition, good human support can help your company retain users who might otherwise abandon your application after a frustrating experience.
What Is an Application Support Engineer?
As you can see, application support requires more than technical knowledge. It requires communication skills too. App support combines IT and customer service since it requires both technical knowledge and good customer service skills. As a result, application support engineers need to be well-rounded with technical skills and human support and communication skills.
The duties of an application support analyst might vary based on the organization and its goals. Still typically, you can expect an application support team to do the following tasks for your organization:
- Assess problems – Typically, organizations have customer support channels such as email, phone, or live chat. Application support engineers help communicate with users through these channels and address their issues, concerns, and complaints.
- Identify and assess technology solutions – Businesses employ a variety of software solutions and technologies to facilitate their operations and meet organizational goals. Application support analysts actively identify, assess, and implement tech solutions to solve a company’s challenges.
- Troubleshooting – Application support analysts solve technical issues with a company’s software, operating systems, hardware, and other technical systems as they arise. If an application support engineer cannot resolve the issue, they are responsible for notifying senior management and engineers.
- Coordinate between cross-functional teams – Technical issues can affect more than one facet of the business. Application support entails coordinating between a company’s internal teams to ensure everyone is experiencing the proper functionality to complete their tasks.
- On-call support – Some employers prefer to have their application support team on-call to address issues. Employers might only reach out to application support as needed in other cases.
- Write reports and maintain detailed records – A big part of application support is keeping detailed records and reports of all technical issues, solutions, downtime, etc. Key stakeholders and management use these reports to decide what software solutions and technologies to invest in or discard.
The Different Types of Application Support
Now that you have a better understanding of what application support is let’s cover the common types of application support. If you hire an outside provider to be your application support team, they might not be able to provide all of these support services. The different types of application support are:
- First-level support
- Second-level support
- Third-level support
- Information security
- Problem management
- Continuous testing
- Service desk
- Application knowledge
- Configuration management
- Capacity management
- Business continuity
First-level support services are basic troubleshooting tasks. Typically, first-level support determines the likely cause of an incident and works to resolve it.
Second-level support requires more expertise than first-level support. Second-level support entails the resolution of incidents by an expert in the software or its underlying structure.
Third-level support is the resolution of incidents by the people who understand the software or code the best. Typically, third-level support is handled by the developers who created the software or website.
This type of application support is basic security for the digital asset. Information security involves monitoring the product, implementing security patches as needed, and escalating urgent issues to the security team.
Problem management is the process of resolving the root cause of technical incidents and problems. Problem management tasks can take months to complete. For example, suppose an unreliable telecom provider is the root cause of the problem. In that case, it might take an expert time to adequately establish this connection, end the relationship, and find a suitable replacement provider.
Every application has performance levels and metrics. Measurement is tasked with measuring and reporting key metrics to stakeholders.
Monitoring is a general application support service tasked with ensuring that the quality of service, availability, security, and performance of the application is operating as expected.
Continuous testing is designed to catch issues before they are found by or impact users. Continuous testing is a modern approach to app support.
Service desk is a customer service task that entails creating and maintaining a space for users to submit questions, concerns, etc.
Modern applications get updated regularly. Therefore, release/deployment app support tasks entail deploying new changes for the development team.
There is always something to learn about software, how it performs, etc. Application knowledge is tasked with capturing and improving knowledge related to the software. This helps with the creation of FAQ documents and other support materials.
It is important to keep detailed records and documentation of an application’s configuration with regular updates, patches, etc. Configuration management is an application support task that thoroughly documents the application’s history and current configuration state. Detailed documentation is a huge help to developers.
Capacity management is all about ensuring that an application efficiently uses resources without waste and has enough bandwidth and data storage to complete required tasks.
Business continuity is a task that plans for the event of a disaster. Hopefully, disaster never strikes your business and impacts your software, but what happens if it does? Business continuity plans for major disruptions.
Application support is a broad service. There are a lot of different technical skills that go into providing good app support. If your business is struggling to keep up with all of the demands of its software, reach out to an app development partner. A partner can help provide world-class application support that supplements the existing skills of your staff.