by Robyn Lee
After all the planning and development, your mobile application (or simply, your app) is finally live! Unlike a physical product, which you can let go of once it’s out in the wild, an app is a living entity that requires maintenance for as long as you use it or plan to have it active. So why can’t you just ‘set and forget’ your app? Why is it important to continue to maintain the app?
1) Monitoring Performance
It is one thing to test whether your app works pre-launch. Knowing whether it will continue to work, especially with a significant number of users on the app at the same time, is another. When you push an app live, traffic to the app increases. Issues can arise if the hosting used isn’t powerful enough to handle 10,000 users, for example. Fixes or system improvements might be required for circumstances that only come up once the app is publicly available and in use.
2) Technology Changes
Technology is constantly changing at a rapid pace. You will want to keep the app updated to the latest technology platform, because:
- Software development tools become outdated. If the app is left too long, it requires more development time to add new features or fix issues. After time, some features will no longer work in the app.
- Security vulnerabilities may also arise. Hackers are always looking for security holes. They do not always attack one app or website at a time – they usually find vulnerabilities to exploit, which software developers usually patch up with updates. If these vulnerabilities are left unaddressed, the app is open to attacks from hackers.
3) User Adoption
If you aren’t updating and improving the processes within the app, the users’ needs are no longer being met. What may have been a good solution for them before may not be useful to them anymore unless it’s upgraded or updated. This can lead them to working outside of the system because they can no longer use the system to do their job or solve the problem the app sought to address.
In a business context, if you have deployed an app that is critical to your operations, your app must continue to meet your employees’ needs and user experience demands so they don’t use alternative, potentially insecure, publicly available apps. On the public side, social media and dating apps, for example, continue to evolve and update their offerings as they jockey for positioning against their competitors. Think back to just a few years ago when apps like AroundMe and Foursquare were popular. Now, users are more likely to turn to Google Maps for information about the establishments around them. Photo editing apps are also constantly changing according to demand. In order to grow with your users, find ways to grow with their needs and look for opportunities to add further value with your app.
4) Preventive Maintenance
Being proactive saves time and money. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” does not apply to apps. Routine checkups and testing as well as analytics tracking contribute to the overall health of your app. Regular maintenance and updates will help you avoid major headaches in the long run!
5) Business Growth
Your business is constantly changing and growing. If your custom-built app is used internally, adding new features or improving features within the app helps the business improve processes and increase efficiency and productivity as the company grows. The app then grows with the business. If the app is public facing, then updating the app may mean new offerings for users, and in turn, new revenue streams for you. Building an app is a significant business investment, so its longevity and “stickiness” is in the best interest of your company!
If you are working with an experienced developer, they should let you know what sort of maintenance your app may need down the road, both in general and as a result of the features that you are plan to have on it. An app is a long-term commitment, so it’s important to find a developer who can maintain it long after it goes live.
Interested in creating a long-lasting app of your own? Contact us today!