Application support is the maintenance of web applications installed in businesses and enterprises. Applications are often made using Java or .Net and can be complicated to use, hence the input from a highly educated support specialist to oversee the application and ensure its running as it should.
In many cases, application support is outsourced off-shore as the support must run on a 24/7 basis to cover any possible incidents at any time and reduces the app support cost.
Support can be provided to any level of an application. From the server and admin to technical and functional aspects.
Generally speaking, application support is the day to day process of running an application. An application support analyst is behind this and is usually part of a support team. There are over 150,000 app support specialists in the US alone. Their main duty is to ensure the smooth running of an app or software.
An application support analyst oversees the maintenance of apps and software that your business uses in order for it to be as streamlined as possible. Here are the main duties of an application support job role:
- Application performance
This is all in an effort to provide the best customer service experience possible. Is a customer struggling to use your software? Are certain aspects of your application bugging and preventing users from using it? – both of these cases fall under the broad term of application support.
Let’s explore some common elements of application support:
We are all familiar with it and it is a place for customers or users to submit complaints or queries directly to a help team. This is the best place for small localised issues to be addressed like a user struggling to update their application. Imagine a helpdesk as the main avenue for a user to contact a support team regarding both small and serious issues.
This principle is where all the previous patches and updates are stored. You can view the application’s lifetime history and see what changes have been made over a time period. You can also see the current state of an application.
This is a method to ensure an application can run to its full potential and handle the influx of users that will be using the application. Information such as network bandwidth and data storage should be organised here.
Continuous Testing and Monitoring
An app shouldn’t be abandoned once it has hit the online shelves. It should be nurtured and looked after with constant monitoring. Application support encapsulates testing and ensuring an app is functioning the way it was intended to.
It’s just as vital to monitor the application closely and assess the performance. If it does go down, measure the time between technical difficulties and an application support team should focus on reducing these downtimes.
Picture this, a peak demand period causes your application to crash, preventing customers from using it. A user can use the helpdesk to report this issue directly to a support team or the issue is picked up instantly due to continuous monitoring, as we mentioned earlier.
Good application support involves recognising these incidents as they happen and fixing them with as little inconvenience to the user as possible. Any incident like an application crash should be reported and organised along with the reason for the crash and how to prevent it from occurring again.
There are 3 main stages of application support if an incident occurs and they are categorised into levels:
First Level Support
This is where basic troubleshooting occurs and finding the source of the problem. An issue is received through a helpdesk, email or app and categorised into “issue management” where all current and previous issues are visible. The problem is then escalated to “problem management” to find a resolution to the problem.
Second Level Support
During level 2 support, a person must have privileges to be able to make changes to the IT’s infrastructure. Here, an in-depth investigation takes place to figure out why the problem occurred and how to fix it.
Here is where an expert in using the application is consulted.
Third Level Support
At the third level, development work must be carried out to fix the problem. Usually, the people who designed the application and developers and coders will work with the support team in order to fix the problem and patch bugs.
For any business using an application or software, application support is vital to ensure your users aren’t left using a faulty and buggy app.
It’s important to have a person or team dedicated to supporting as issues can arise around the clock and users in different time zones can be affected when you least expect it.
Utilising 24hr monitoring not only allows you to manage the performance of an application but also provide customers with solutions to more localised issues such as user interface confusion or small crashes.