Outsourcing Services

Software Maintenance and Support

Types, Costs, Tools, and Required Skills

With 32 years of the overall experience in IT and 14 years of experience in software maintenance and support, Vertscend helps companies set up and run preventive maintenance and on-demand support of applications and their infrastructures.

Software Maintenance and Support Services

The Essence of Software Maintenance and Support

Software maintenance and support imply a set of activities aimed at ensuring software’s stable functioning, scalability, high performance, and security. Software maintenance and support activities are divided into 4 main groups:

  1. Corrective: fixing problems discovered by users or identified during monitoring.
  2. Adaptive: keeping software up-to-date by tuning it in line with the changing business needs.
  3. Perfective: continuously improving software’s usability, performance, and reliability.
  4. Preventive: detecting and correcting latent issues.

Software support and maintenance setup plan steps include estimation of the scope and required resources, maintenance and support process design, choosing a sourcing model, implementation, and launch.

Required team: Help desk specialists, application support engineers, software developers, QA and DevOps engineers.

Software Support and Maintenance Setup Plan

The setup plan will differ depending on the specifics of the supported software and its underlying infrastructure, as well as the scope of the required support and maintenance activities. Based on Vertscend ample experience in software support and maintenance, we outline some general steps that are characteristic of all IT software support and maintenance activities.

Step 1: Estimation of the support and maintenance scope and required resources

Step 2: Software support and maintenance process design

Reactive support  (on-demand)

  • End user support (L1) – solving usage issues and minor problems, escalating more complex issues
  • Application support (L2) – software troubleshooting, fixing its performance, configuration, and security issues.
  • Development support (L3/L4) – fixing software issues on the code and database level, customization, adding new features, software integration.

Proactive support (continuous)

  • Software availability, performance, security, compliance monitoring and management,
  • QA activities (including regular code reviews),
  • Infrastructure optimization (e.g., cloud resource consumption optimization).

Step 3: Choosing a sourcing model and implementation

Model 1: in-house software maintenance

1. Hiring and training staff for software support and maintenance

Duration: 4-8 weeks

2. Tool selection and customization

Duration: 1-4 weeks

The choice of tools should be based on the type of software, the support and maintenance scope, KPIs you’re interested in, and other aspects. The toolset may include software for performance and security monitoring, backup software, DevOps, help desk, and other tools. In most cases, support and maintenance tools need to be customized.

Vertscend best practices:

  • For application performance monitoring, we choose tools that provide insights into the software CPU and memory usage, transactions profiling, response time and request rates, an app’s handling poor network connectivity, etc.
  • Since many tools for maintenance and support are multipurpose and cater for different types of applications, we customize these tools to adjust them to the specific maintenance and support needs.

Model 2: outsourced software maintenance

Vendor selection

Duration: up to 12 weeks

To choose the right vendor, Vertscend suggests:

  1. Examining top listings of software development companies as 90% of them offer maintenance services.
  2. Shortlisting 3-5 companies based on their adherence to ITSM and DevOps practices, relevant certifications, for example, ITIL, Microsoft certifications (e.g., MSP, MCSA), certifications issues by cloud providers (e.g., Certified Solution Architect, Certified SysOps Administrator by AWS), Red Hat certifications.
  3. Preparing and sending an RFP containing your software support and maintenance needs.
  4. Getting tailored offers from potential vendors and comparing their approaches to your software maintenance project, as well as relevant expertise.

Step 4: Software maintenance and support launch

Consider Professional Software Support Services

Software support and maintenance consulting

  • Feasibility study of your maintenance and support project.
  • Designing the software maintenance process.
  • Elaborating on a launch plan for software support and maintenance.
  • Choosing a suitable sourcing model.
  • Selecting an optimal toolset for software support and maintenance.


Outsourced software support and maintenance

Service forms:

  • L1/L2 support (service desk).
  • L3/L4 (development support).
  • L1/L2/L3/L4 (end-to-end support).
  • Proactive software monitoring (performance, security), detecting and fixing latent issues.

Additionally, we provide infrastructure maintenance and support.

  • Request types: consultation, change request, issue.
  • SLA that ensures:
    • Response time depending on the request severity: Critical (30m-1h), High (4-8h), Medium (24h), Low (48-72h).
    • Processing up to 6 critical requests per day.


Vertscend as a Trusted Software Support and Maintenance Provider

Peter Hermann, CEO , ZEITundZUTRITT GmbH

Human Resources Required for Software Support Maintenance

Depending on the software support and maintenance scope, the team may include various IT specialists from developers to UI designers. Below, we mention the backbone specialists required for the project involving both on-demand and continuous support activities:

Help desk specialists

  • Receiving, registering and tracking queries from software users.
  • Solving simple and repeating issues (e.g., username and password problems, installing newly released patches and service packs.
  • Escalating unsolved issues to L2/L3.

Application support engineers

  • Continuous software monitoring and health check.
  • Fixing application performance issues.
  • Resolving software configuration and account administration issues.
  • Log investigation for root cause analysis of issues.
  • Database administration.

Software developers

  • Fixing issues on the code and database level
  • Creating new software components or features.
  • Implementing software customizations, integrations and migration.
  • Unit testing.

DevOps engineers

  • Automating the software’s change implementation and evolution using the CI/CD approach.
  • Managing physical and virtual servers and their configurations.
  • Configuring and optimizing cloud services.
  • Solving infrastructure issues.

Test engineers

  • Functional, regression, integration, and other types of testing considering implemented updates, upgrades and other software changes.

Sourcing Models for Software Support and Maintenance

In-house support and maintenance

Provides you with full control over the support and maintenance process but brings about risks associated with the setup and management, for example, inadequate support and maintenance scope estimation. Also, an in-house team needs regular training and usually higher salaries than outsourced specialists, which can make it expensive.

Outsourced support and maintenance

Offers external management of software maintenance and gives access to a wide expertise of external specialists, reduces support and maintenance costs. However, it may bring about security risks, if your company is bound by governmental or industry-specific regulations like HIPAA, GDPR, SOX, GLBA and others.

Mixed model

Combines in-house management of software maintenance and completely or partially outsourced resources, which helps you retain full or partial control and get optimized costs of the process.

Entrust Software Support and Maintenance to Experts

Due to 32-year experience in IT, 13 years in IT service management, and adherence to ITIL 4 practices, our team will ensure the stability and relevancy of your software.

Software Maintenance and Support Costs

Usually, software maintenance and support costs are around 15-20% of the initial development costs (per year), and in total (during the entire software life cycle) they can be as high as 70% of the TCO. Additionally, the maintenance of 20-30 servers at 8/5 EST may cost $1,000-2,000 per monthIn this case, maintenance covers proactive monitoring of software performance and security as well as detecting and fixing latent issues.


Cost factors

The support and maintenance costs vary a lot depending on the sourcing model. The key cost factors for in-house and outsourced software support maintenance respectively are:

In-house software maintenance

  • The type and number of software and technologies used in it including legacy techs, integrations and customizations.
  • Complexity of the organization’s digital infrastructure and its degree of automation.
  • Licenses for tools used by the team: software monitoring, configuration, help desk, and more.
  • Availability of complete and high-quality software documentation required for maintenance.

Outsourced software maintenance

  • The outsourced team’s size and competencies.
  • The pricing model (per ticket, bucket of hours).
  • Type of maintenance and support services (on-demand, continuous, both).
  • The number of help desk tickets (agreed and extra).
  • The team member’s actual workload, e.g., 5 FTE (168h*5), 1 FTE (168h), 0.25 FTE (40h).
  • Support and maintenance time coverage (e.g., 8/5, 12/5, 24/5, 24/7).

Want to Know Your Maintenance and Support Costs?

Vertscend team is ready to calculate the costs depending on your software and its underlying infrastructure, the scope of support and maintenance activities required, and the preferred pricing model.

About Vertscend

Vertscend is a global IT consulting and services company headquartered in McKinney, TX, US. We offer application maintenance and support services and advise our customers on setting up the software support and maintenance process. We help companies retain operability, availability and relevance of their software, improve user adoption and reduce maintenance costs. Being ISO 9001 and ISO 27001-certified, we rely on a mature quality management system and guarantee cooperation with us does not pose any risks to our customers’ data security.