You’ve been looking forward to it for weeks and now the day has come! Your app has shipped and you’re anxiously awaiting to see how many people download it. A few days go by, and now you’re anxiously awaiting to see what the reviews are. And now you’re excited because the first reviews are in and they’re good—great, even—and you’re already making money and improving your customer experience. At this point, paying extra for a maintenance contract seems like a waste of money… why spend more on something that is working perfectly?
The easy answer is because your app will not continue to work perfectly forever. Technology changes, and as new iOS and Android operating systems are released and new phones hit the market, your app will be affected. Your users may start to notice a decrease in performance, or perhaps the user interface appears incorrectly on the new screen size.
For clients with a maintenance contract, the app can be fixed fairly quickly, often while the operating systems are still in their beta versions. This will allow you to publish the newest update to users once the changes become available to the public, effectively eliminating issues before they even appear.
However, things can get tough if you don’t have a maintenance contract. Once downloads have decreased and/or app performance is suffering, you’ll need to get back in contact with the development company who built the original application, and then schedule one of their programmers to take a look. However, it may not be the same developer, which means that he or she will need to investigate the problem before determining how to move forward.
This investigation (and the ultimate fix) are not free, so a new contract is needed. In the meantime, you’re spending days or even weeks waiting on the paperwork to be signed, for a developer to become available, for development to be completed and for the fix to be deployed to the end users, all while your customers are becoming increasingly frustrated with your app and your brand.
For most people, the thought of spending thousands of dollars on an app only to let it become ineffective is enough to consider signing a maintenance contract at the end of development. However, for those of you who need a little more information on why it’s important, read on.
Developing for mobile devices is different than developing for the desktop or web, particularly because of the faster rate of change in the mobile world. Think about all the changes that happen in any given year:
And these are only the major things that could change performance and ratings—there are thousands of small changes that could impact your app. To complicate issues even further, these changes do not all appear at the same time. They roll out over the course of the entire year, meaning that changes to the app need to occur on an ongoing basis. Without those updates, it only a matter of time until the app not only become ineffective, but actually stops working completely.
If you get lucky and nothing catastrophic happens, most apps can run for two years or so without requiring any maintenance. However, after three or more years without any updates, any significant changes or fixes could require an entire rebuild of the application from scratch. Starting over after three years is ultimately going to cost you more money in the long run than paying for the maintenance contract. And think about it… have you ever found a successful app that hasn’t pushed updates to your phone on a fairly consistent basis?
There is no doubt about it. Once an app is built, it will require time and resources to keep it profitable for your company and enjoyable for your users. You’re going to be spending that money no matter what, so it really comes down to how you want to spend it. Would you prefer to waste your time (and ultimately more money) on emergency fixes, or would you like the peace of mind in knowing that our developers have you covered, no matter what happens?
Having a mobile app maintenance contract is a smart investment, and it shows foresight on your part. If you’re ready to learn how Big Nerd Ranch can provide you with continual maintenance and save you money in the long run, get in touch. We’re looking forward to making sure that your app is successful, no matter what the future holds.
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