Both support and maintenance are essential for the success of any creative campaign or project. It’s easy to get carried away by the sexier side of a new idea and forget about both entirely, but be warned! Agencies and clients alike do so at their peril.
Having support and maintenance down from the outset is key, so it helps to know exactly what’s meant by ‘support’ and ‘maintenance’ before you begin.
This is ad-hoc reactive work that keeps the digital platform going in the face of ‘breaking bugs’ (like something that stops people buying products on your ecommerce site at 2am). Our support agreements typically come with an SLA (service-level agreement) defining how quickly we’ll respond. Once we’ve reacted to your support request, there are often further, resultant tasks that will need scheduling into the maintenance work plan after the support ticket has closed.
This is scheduled work required to fix ‘non-breaking bugs’ – non-urgent, but nonetheless requiring attention – and to add new features. Unlike support work, maintenance releases are planned and scheduled.
Clients usually ask for a combination of support and maintenance, and the services often get bundled together – hence why there’s often some confusion between the terms.
Agencies sometimes charge an hourly rate for doing any ongoing work. But this is a bad idea. Here’s why:
- Scheduling. If there’s one thing agency developers hate, it’s being pulled off an exciting new project to work on an older project using last season’s technology. They get frustrated, and, soon enough, they leave. There’s also the loss of time resulting from switching between projects.
- Resources. Specifically, a lack of allowance for hardware/software resources required for performing the service. Agencies don’t always understand that they need a ready development, testing, staging and production environment for each project they maintain. So, for a whole bunch of projects, that’s a ready set of environments – not one developer’s laptop. Inevitably, there’s a cost to running these, and typically it’s tempting for agencies to cut back so these environments aren’t available.
Short of building your own support and maintenance department from the ground up, we can help.
Cohaesus offers a full support and maintenance service. And we have that rare gift of combined technical wizardry and extensive agency experience.
Author: Richard Bundock