An article by our Systems Support Analyst, Tristan Hudson
Support is generally a plethora of different services. There is the lower level aspect which is more help and advice to the less experienced, and then there is the commitment to maintain.
The latter can often be construed as a form of weakness. Every software application in the world needs to be maintained and supported by the developer. Why? The chance is the delivered solution is far from perfect. Computer applications and software require absolute perfection to run at an optimum level.
How would a developer achieve perfection? Quite simply, they cannot. Regardless of testing procedures there is usually a scenario that is overlooked which could induce bugs into the system. Striving to achieve an unobtainable level of perfection would do nothing more than overshoot project deadlines.
This is where the Artificial Intelligence (AI) experimentations kicked into life. If we could build a machine that could write software for us, the majority of errors and bugs would be eradicated. AI has come on leaps and bounds within the last decade or two, introducing arguments that it may even end up a threat to humanity. However for now, it’s the metaphorical human hand that is writing software applications.
The developer warranty:
Whilst this sounds rather negative, it is often expected that a developer support their work. It can be compared to that of a warranty on a new laptop or tablet. A developer will endeavour to supply you with the best possible end result they can whilst accepting responsibility for any tweaks that may need to come further down the line. The less support that is needed between the developer and the client the better, as this does nothing but benefit both sides.
It’s reported that the majority of B2B companies feel retention is a more important factor, and cheaper than acquisition. So, whilst support may seem like a weakness it can actually be transformed into an incredible strength. Many businesses feel the support for the product they receive is as important as the product itself. After all, a flawed product is not a good return on investment. Good after-sales support can be the driving force behind retention, profitability and growth.
Keeping it in-house:
There’s increasing investment into the support industry, as companies start to realise that there’s profitability potential within. A popular way to handle support is to outsource the support to agencies situated in cheaper regions. This has its pros and cons. Whilst some of the pros of outsourcing can be general scalability and cost-effectiveness, the cons tip the scale as the business has limited control over their support whilst also missing the opportunities to build rapport with the end client.