Support, specifically in the software development industry, is a term whose meaning has changed and matured quite a bit over the last twenty years. Many will still relate support to the idea of the help desk; call this random 800 number when something breaks, and hopefully a human on the other end will walk you through the steps to fix it. This model isn’t exactly wrong – for end-users this is still a preferred model of tech support for many companies – but it is changing immensely as monitoring capabilities are continually improved.
The help desk model goes something like this: create a product, put the product on the market, learn of bugs and defects from customer, fix bugs. If many customers complain of the same or similar issue, then the company will create a new iteration of the product to amend said bug and obsolete the old version. And so the cycle goes. This type of support works for a variety of different products and industries, but it’s in no way the most efficient or optimized method of performance tuning and bug fixing for software.
Let’s use take an example from a different piece of hardware/software that you are very used to: your car. Just a few years ago, there was no real way to tell if the hardware in your car was deteriorating or malfunctioning unless you checked under the hood on a daily basis or waited until something broke. Now, cars come with native software that gives you little warning lights and notifications before something breaks – Hey driver! Your wiper fluid is almost out! Watch out, your tire pressure is low. Just so you know, your engine seems to be overheating, better get it checked out.
Software support and maintenance services serve as both the warning lights and the mechanics. For critical, complex systems in production support developers are able to closely monitor certain key performance indicators (KPIs) that represent the current health of the system. Many enterprise grade software solutions need to be running at all times for a variety of reasons dependent on industry, company size, and other business factors.
A great example of a client who benefits greatly from premium support is B-cycle, a revolutionary bike-sharing company that is steadily popping up in cities all over the US. Because their bike kiosks are available to their clients around the clock, they need a way to monitor the operations of the kiosk software at each of their locations and ensure that they are performing at an optimal level at all times. The Amadeus Consulting Support Team does just that, and much more. On opening day for the Colorado Rockies in downtown Denver, one of the bike stations near the Rockies stadium wasn’t allowing users to check out bikes. Our team was able to quickly get down to the bottom of the issue: because there was so many people using their smartphones in the area on that afternoon, the kiosk was experiencing connectivity issues. The problem was addressed immediately and B-cycle Denver was able to get those Rockies fans off and riding around the city in no time.
The Rockies opening day example showcases the need for monitoring in order to get the B-cycle system up and running in critical situations. But monitoring isn’t just important for quick bug fixes, it’s also a fantastic method for ongoing tuning and enhancements to the system. Our team has been able to make some immense improvements to the original code because of small but important discoveries by the Support Team. One such discovery occurred when B-cycle noticed that some of their kiosks weren’t recognizing when bikes where being returned to their docks in the kiosks. After conducting some on site testing with one particular kiosk, it was discovered that some users were returning their bikes into the dock too quickly and therefore the software was failing to register their return. Without this kind of attention and on the fly testing, this bug may have gone long unnoticed and unaddressed.
Curious about Amadeus Consulting’s Software Support and Maintenance service line, or want to learn more about the different support options that are available for your business?Visit our website for more information!