Software development and maintenance are key to keeping businesses competitive and increasing their return on investment.
Overall software maintenance is the process of upgrading and changing software programs after they have been delivered to fix bugs, enhance performance, or adapt the program to an unfamiliar environment. It is a crucial stage in the software development lifecycle, and maintenance guarantees the software will continue to work and satisfy the user’s expectations.
According to Plant Engineering, in 2020, 18% of companies spent 40 hours or more per week on software maintenance activities.
The statistics show that software maintenance plays a huge role in business and needs lots of time and resources to maintain customer and user satisfaction. It also ensures that products are safe, so a financial software application can really appreciate this fact.
What is software maintenance?
Developers and entrepreneurs who invest in innovative technology know that creating a new piece of software and launching it in the world market costs lots of money and time. However, a well-designed piece of software must be able to adapt to the times and legal regulations. To reach this goal, there is a process of changing and updating the provided software to include fixing bugs, new feature additions, performance enhancements, and software updates that make it compatible with new hardware and software platforms.
There are four types of software maintenance, which can be divided by reasons and purpose:
- Corrective Software Maintenance – focuses on bug-fixing, faults, and errors as they are found.
- Preventative Software Maintenance – consists of making changes, adaptations, and upgrades that prevent software failures in the future. Also, it makes the program easier to scale and manage.
- Perfective Software Maintenance – adds new features and deletes some ineffective ones according to users’ evolving needs and input.
- Adaptive Software Maintenance – focuses on adapting programs to changes in their environment to comply with organizational rules and statutory requirements.
Are there situations in which software maintenance isn’t needed?
In the case of finance and fintech products, security plays an overriding role in ensuring that the use of the software is safe for users. So, software maintenance methods can help keep finance products in compliance and up to date. In the financial sector, it’s impossible to bypass the statutory and regulatory requirements. Entrepreneurs who manage fintech and finance software should be even more careful and dedicated to pushing software system maintenance because some issues, such as security debt, aren’t visible at first glance. Developers and DevOps can help to find out which components need updates to correct faults.
The second case is a company’s policy. Even if there isn’t a need to create modification of software, the product must be updated to guidelines that outline the practices and procedures of a business.
So, we think that software maintenance management is needed because there are external factors that force us to modify software that is no longer useful.
How the software maintenance process looks
EEE is an international conference on software maintenance that provides a framework for sequential maintenance process activities. The framework is a standard lifecycle of work carried out by developers and other IT specialists to keep software well optimized.
- Identification and tracking: involve tasks when maintenance or modification is necessary. Users produce it, or the system itself may report it through logs or error messages.
- Analysis: the possible modification is analyzed if can threaten the system, including safety and security. If the likely impact is significant, alternative solutions are proposed. The analys is and estimation of the cost of modification and maintenance are complete.
- Design: new modules are designed at this stage to replace or modify those set in the analysis. Modifications are validated and verified.
- Implementation: developers code new modules based on the structured design from the previous phase. This step requires unit testing.
- System Testing: developers check new modules via a process called integration testing. Both the new modules and the system undergo such testing. Finally, specialists evaluate the software by using regression testing.
- Acceptance Testing: if the system is evaluated internally, there is time to assess new modules from the user’s perspective. The aim of acceptance testing is to determine to what degree the software meets the end user’s approval.
- Delivery: if program’s tests are positive, there is time to install new modules in a small update package or anew system’s installation. After the software is delivered, users can test it on an external site.
- Maintenance management: system maintenance must include configuration management. Version control tools are used to manage patches, semi-versions, and versions.
How to improve software maintenance
Support teams are between developers and users. They usually receive complaints about the issues that users experience. So, they can help to identify an application’s failures and communicate this to the developers so they can fix problematic features easily.
After implementation, developers must ensure that different stages of testing pass the tests. Quality assurance testers are responsible for this; they conduct end-to-end testing and UI testing, which checks usability, technical correctness, and integration.
By migrating your software to the cloud, you could stop performing ongoing software maintenance. It offers a lot of advantages, including scalability, dependability, and security. Make sure the producer supports the cloud version prior to the move.
The installation of the new software version, as well as all fixes, upgrades, and security patches, has been standardized. It should be the same across all platforms on which the software is used. The software maintenance processes are made easier by standardization.
Why is software maintenance activity important?
To have a long software maintenance lifecycle, it is crucial to run updates consistently on the system. From a business perspective, custom application isn’t cheap and neglecting software maintenance management may result in rewriting the app, so the cost of the products are higher than before. What is more, it isn’t enough to just deliver products to market because the software lifecycle is dynamic and constantly needs to be tested and upgraded to make a profit.
Reliability and stability
Users are not happy if the application or program doesn’t meet their expectations and fails during its operation. Thanks to the regular maintenance process, bugs and other issues can be found and repaired before they lead to system failures that could impact the user experience.
Nobody likes to wait too long, so in the case of software, speed and efficiency are important to give user satisfaction. Inefficient code, memory leaks, and hardware limitations may cause performance issues. Regularly monitoring and optimizing the software can identify and fix these issues, so clients get faster and more efficient applications.
Users want to be sure that they use safe and trustworthy applications, especially if they manage their finances and confidential data. Software systems must be able to react to these changes, since security threats are always changing. Routine security updates and fixes can mitigate security vulnerabilities. In addition, security evaluations and assessments can find areas of potential risk that need focus.
Meet technology trends
Technical debt may turn out to be costly, so it is important to update and maintain the product. In most cases, the application does not work without any connections. Developers check if the framework they use is still supported. New features and functionality allow us to meet technology trend sand not get left behind. This ensures that the software stays relevant and beneficial for users, potentially drawing in and maintaining customers in the long run.
Good software maintenance management involves writing instructions for clients and users, tests, and processes down. To ensure that all software maintenance activities are completed, the maintenance documentation must be always usable and available during the maintenance workflow.
What are refactoring and reengineering in software maintenance?
The software maintenance plan assumes a refactoring and reengineering of the project. Let’s look at these two different practices and see what benefits they can bring to your business.
At first glance, both refactoring and reengineering aim at changing existing computer code. As a result, we improve the internal design, structure, and implementation of the software without touching its external functionality. Refactoring is the process of making minor changes to software while largely leaving the program's core unchanged. Developers who work on the project must supervise the software, know what improvements the system requires, and be familiar with the technical debt they are facing.
On the other hand, reengineering fundamentally alters a program's structure and design, whether this involves switching the software to a different programming language or hardware platform. There are three types of software reengineering practices.
Like the phrase "prevention is better than cure", it is reasonable to invest money into rebuilding software development. This might require upfront costs, but in most instances, the long-term returns from modernizing a digital product will cover the initial expenditure by a significant margin.
Wrapping up software maintenance
Your product usually depends on a framework and legal standards that are changing. Keeping outdated software isn’t affordable and technical debt may cost more than being consistent about modifying the software from the beginning. Companies from the financial sector want to have the best and safest software that users will appreciate and use with pleasure and trust, but without constant care, it’s impossible. Products from the financial sector especially need to be maintained because outdated financial software is a security threat.
Software maintenance can help SaaS products, where maintenance and security are on the supplier’s side. So, you don’t have to worry about maintaining the software. On the supplier’s side, its duty is to keep the product safe and take care of clients’ data.