Let’s face it – businesses today would not function without software applications. These software applications run the gamut from on premise third party ERP systems to Software-as-a-Service online applications, and a growing number of businesses are relying on custom-built applications to run their core business operations. Custom applications often provide a capability that enables a business to have a competitive advantage. This could be an application that provides a unique capability to the businesses customers, connects disparate systems to make business operations more efficient, or ensures legal or regulatory compliance in a way that eliminates manual efforts. Whatever the purpose of a custom application, they are very often critical to ensuring the success of the operation. Business application owners, however, often forget the importance of an application maintenance plan to keep their applications up to date with their ever changing business. Let’s take a look at the major reasons for needing an application maintenance plan.
Legal and Regulatory Compliance
If you are in a highly regulated industry – or really any industry with city, state, or federal regulations – your custom applications need to change as regulations change. Often times, government regulations are slow to change, and if you aren’t ready for them, the impact to your business can be swift and severe. Depending on the regulations, penalties for non-compliance can range from monetary fines to suspension of business operations. Fortunately, regulation changes typically also provide a lengthy runway to achieve compliance, but short and long range planning is key to make sure that regulatory changes to your applications are done in a timely manner.
A Fresh User Experience
Business workers today are exposed to a variety of user experiences, and typically custom enterprise applications are not known for their high-quality user experiences. User experiences from leading technology companies such as Amazon and Google have set the bar for how applications need to behave, and enterprises need to catch up. If your employees or customers are using custom apps that don’t meet that bar, they’ll quickly become frustrated and find other ways to accomplish their goals. Your applications user experience doesn’t have to change overnight, but steady progress towards that high bar will help you keep employees and customers by improving their interactions with your business.
Data Security & Modern Web Browser Compliance
Cybersecurity is one of the biggest topics these days, and the number of data security breaches around the world is increasing. If you are running an application that provides access to sensitive data and do not have a maintenance plan that includes security updates, you run the risk of opening a hole for a data breach. Related to data security is modern web browser compliance of custom web-based applications that serve your business. If your applications require an out-of-date web browser, such as Internet Explorer 8, you are also running the risk of an unpatched security issue in a web browser contributing to a data breach or other major cyber security issue.
Continual innovation of business operations and practices is just one way that businesses stay in front of their competition. Often times, legacy applications that serve a critical part of ongoing operations are crucial to the back-office processing of transactions, so they just simply can’t be replaced, so they must be updated to keep up with the changing business. One of the biggest challenges in updating legacy applications is often simply finding and allocating development staff to work on legacy apps. Typically, development staff is allocated towards the applications that are providing new value to the organization, and updating older applications to keep with innovative new ones isn’t high on the priority list. An application maintenance plan that takes into account ongoing innovation work is critical to moving your business forward.
Application maintenance is key to keeping businesses running, and that is best accomplished through a robust plan for not just trying to react when inevitable change needs to occur, but being proactive to solve issues before they become huge problems. AgileThought provides managed application maintenance services so that your business can leverage your existing investment in custom apps, and be ready for them to carry your business forward.