You Can’t Guarantee Stability
Software systems never run on their own forever. All software has bugs and sooner or later you will run into a specific case that was not completely accounted for with potentially unpredictable results. Software is also written with a lot of assumptions. It assumes good data, robust systems that it is running on top of (think how stable your operating system is) as well as well behaved users. Negative edge cases can be accounted for but it is difficult to account for every possible state.
Poor Planning Means Poor Performance
This leads to the concept of support and maintenance. Nearly every commercially viable software provider offers support and maintenance plans. Anytime software is going to be used for business purposes you must budget for support and maintenance costs. Who is going to ensure that the system is running smoothly? Who is going to troubleshoot an unexpected behavior in the system?
Also consider that your business is changing. All assumptions that were originally in place when you launched the solution no longer apply. You have new data, new users, new behaviors and changing infrastructure that the system in question depends on.
The system can’t run on its own.
Do you have access to competent staff to manage and maintain the system? This could be an in-house administrator, contractor or consulting firm. There are several advantages and disadvantages to each approach.
Working With a Consulting Firm
Using a consulting firm like MondayCall may be advantageous for your particular need. MondayCall offers a variety of ways to address your support needs. We are a partner that can not only conduct winning projects that give you a big advantage but also provide you with support and maintenance plans so you have help every step of the way. We often craft custom programs that are tailored to your specific need and work with you to change them as your needs change. Some examples of programs we provide include:
- Bank of hours – these are the most flexible and low commitment way to get help. We set a budget of hours that you can draw from at any time. We bill for only what was used and return anything that you don’t end up using. It’s a great way to get the help you need when you need it without paying any more. Our bank of hours is also flexible from a resource perspective. While you have a named consultant who knows your system, when it comes time to get help in a different area, you can draw from the expertise of the entire MondayCall team. For example, we had one customer who needed help with a marketing automation tool. Our consultant was able to draws from the expertise of our marketing automation experts to help the customer with the problem quickly and efficiently. Another common use case is getting development assistance. The developer skill set is often different from the administrator and so being able to leverage the wide range of skills and experiences from a team can be a big advantage
- Office hours – for some customers having a bank of hours is not enough. This option most resembles a help desk. Having scheduled office hours reserves specific times during a week. There may be a variety of reasons why this is advantageous: a customer requires daily collaboration on improvements to the system. They want to use the daily time to address any P1 issues and if there are none then to work on important incremental improvements to the system. Another common use case is to allocate the time for increased collaboration. If there are fast build and feedback times, having reserved time where customer and consultant can collaborate and give instant feedback reduces cycle times. Vacation times can also be alleviated because multiple people can be cross-trained to provide uninterrupted service.
- Part-time to full-time – some customers just know they need the help and can estimate how much. We have some customers who prefer a general block of time per week or per month and reserve the time of our consultants so that they can see continued improvements to the system. Some example plans are reserving 20-40 hours per month. We have periodic meetings (sometimes daily) to plan the time, prioritize the efforts and review work and give feedback. Some customers want to dial up the work during busy time periods and we can easily adjust. Again, only the hours allocated will be used. Daily standups can be scheduled to keep on top of the latest priorities.
The key is understanding how your organization works, what it needs and when it needs it. In this way the right plan can be crafted. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org