What Is a Software Maintenance Agreement?

Before we get familiarized with a software maintenance agreement, it is appropriate that we should know what is software maintenance first. Software Maintenance is defined as the process of changing, modifying, and updating various types of software so that it can keep up with the needs of the customers. It is usually done after the product has launched for several reasons including improving the software in a general state, correcting any issues or bugs that are discovered, boosting/improving its performance, and more.

A software maintenance agreement refers to a legal document that is typically done between a software provider and the licensee. It usually includes provisions to maintain the right to use the software. It also includes provisions for software upgrades including code updates, version updates, code fix modifications, enhancements, and any new functional capabilities that are to be loaded into existing software. Lastly, this agreement also contains provisions for technical support.

What Are the Elements of a Software Maintenance Agreement?

Here are the important elements that should be included when making a software maintenance agreement:

Types of Software Maintenance

Here are the different types of software maintenance:

Corrective Software Maintenance. Corrective software maintenance is what most people think of when they think of maintenance. Correct software maintenance addresses errors and flaws within software applications that may have an impact on various parts of your software, such as the design, logic, and code. These corrections are typically derived from bug reports submitted by users or customers – but corrective software maintenance can assist in detecting them before your customers do, thereby benefiting the reputation of your brand.Adaptive Software Maintenance. When your software’s environment changes, adaptive software maintenance becomes critical. Changes to the operating system, hardware, software dependencies, Cloud storage, or even changes within the operating system can cause this. Adaptive software maintenance can also reflect organizational policies or rules. Updating services, changing vendors, and switching payment processors can all necessitate adaptive software maintenance.Perfective Software Maintenance. Perfective software maintenance is associated with the evolution of existing requirements and features in your system. As users interact with your applications, they may notice things you didn’t notice or suggest new features they’d like to see in the software, which could become future projects or enhancements. Perfective software maintenance takes over some of the work, both by adding features that can improve user experience and by removing features that are no longer effective or functional. This can include features that aren’t used or don’t help you achieve your end goals.Preventative Software Maintenance. Preventative Software Maintenance assists in making changes and adaptations to your software so that it can continue to function for an extended period of time. The goal of this type of maintenance is to keep your software from deteriorating as it adapts and changes. These services may include code optimization and documentation updates as needed. Preventative software maintenance also reduces the risk associated with running software for an extended period of time, allowing it to become more stable, understandable, and maintainable.

The “How-to” Process in Improving Approach to Software Maintenance

Software is a model of the real world. As the real world undergoes changes or evolutions, the software must also require changes in order to continue catering to the demands of the world effectively. With that being said, here are some of the different approaches and steps that a company can take in improving its approach to software maintenance:

1. Listen to Your Help Desk

The help desk has a better pulse on application performance than any other function in IT. The help desk receives all questions and problems from users. The people who work at the help desk know which applications are the most problematic, and why, based on the calls they receive. More IT organizations would be more successful in identifying areas of persistent application problems and failures if they patched help desk insights into their application development brainstorming and performance evaluations, so these areas could either be addressed fully by repairing them or retiring and replacing them with another solution. Equally important, knowledge gained from application troubleshooting “hot spots” at the help desk can be applied to new software development to avoid making the same mistakes.

2. Engage Quality Assurance

In far too many organizations, developers who are pressed for time tend to throw their work over the wall to QA at the last minute. Before the app is deployed into production, only partial application testing is performed. When the app goes live, there may be weeks of problem reports and troubleshooting, followed by fixes and workarounds. Post-production software maintenance, on the other hand, can be drastically reduced by thoroughly testing applications for technical correctness, integration, and usability prior to release. To make this possible, project managers must step in and ensure adequate time for software testing and quality assurance.

3. Consider a Switch to Cloud-Based Software

Organizations that use broken legacy software should consider moving to a cloud-based version of the software offered and supported by the vendor to avoid endless maintenance. Software maintenance is moved out of the shop and into the hands of the vendor in this scenario. One disadvantage is that you never know when the fixes or enhancements you want will be completed – but the move may be worthwhile if you can live with the inconvenience.

4. Replace the Applications That Are Not Returning Value

Almost every company has a legacy system that is no longer providing the value it once did. This is the time to think about retiring that system and possibly planning a “rip and replace” method with a new system. When there are few needs to integrate the system with other software that is running, the rip and replace method works well. In cases where rip and replace is feasible, you can delegate much of the new system’s system maintenance to the supporting vendor.

5. Standardize Procedures Concerning Installation of New Software Releases

Whether it’s a security patch or a feature addition or fix, the installation of a new software release should be as uniform and standardized as possible across all devices on which the software runs. When software releases are not systematically distributed and different devices are running different versions of the software, this keeps the software release process organized and relieves pressure on the help desk and maintenance teams.

6. Optimize Your Software Maintenance Team

People who enjoy doing software maintenance should be encouraged and rewarded for their efforts. Software maintenance is also a great place for new employees to start their careers because they get a thorough introduction to the company’s various systems. This will help them in the future, whether they stay in maintenance or move to another part of the IT organization.


How costly is software maintenance?

The cost of software maintenance can be quite high. In some instances, the cost can be up to two-thirds of the entire cycle of the software process. Software maintenance is costly because there can be a number of different factors that are at play, such as older software costing more to maintain since the technologies and coding languages change over time. Refreshing old software to meet modern standards is a very demanding task, therefore it costs more. Another situation that can affect the costs of software maintenance is that the engineers may not be able to pinpoint the root causes of a certain software issue. It leads them to use the trial and error method, which leads to many hours of maintenance work.

What is software?

Software refers to a set of instructions, data, or programs that are used to operate computers and execute a variety of specific tasks. It is also a generic term that refers to the applications, scripts, and programs that run on a device. This is a direct contrast to hardware, which describes the physical aspects of a device. The majority of today’s software is written in high-level programming languages since they are easier and more efficient to programmers due to the fact that they are closer to natural languages than machine languages.

What is application retirement?

Application retirement, also known as application decommissioning, refers to the process of shutting down redundant or obsolete business software applications while retaining access to their historical data. It usually involves migrating data from the legacy application database to another repository that can be accessed independently using industry-standard reporting methods or business intelligence tools.

Software maintenance is considered an essential part of the software development lifecycle. Fixing any technical glitches or bugs in different software will only serve as the tip of the iceberg. The software maintenance process is a much more in-depth process. Since it is a tedious process, an effective software maintenance agreement must be drafted to avoid any kinds of confusion from unfolding due to any discrepancies discovered during the maintenance process. With that being said, examples of an effectively written software maintenance agreement can be found above this article and can be downloaded for your personal use.