Maintenance Agreements – They are — They are not
Websites and apps are not commodities and the purchasing of them is not a one-night-stand. Websites and apps are born into dynamic environments. Their full value is realized when they are maintained current with those environments. The developer relationship established during the initial development is part of the purchased value. Economies accrue when a structured relationship is maintained.
A Maintenance Agreement provides the budget to prevent obsolescence. The sad news is that a new website or app is becoming obsolete even as it is built. All three sectors of the technology advance rapidly.
- New display and interaction devices replace the old at increasing rates.
- There is daily industry news about greater power in databases and middleware.
- Methods-of-use, ways of thinking about these technologies, sprint into our lives.
The users of any valuable website or app will chafe immediately when it does not take advantage of this or that new device, or some new way of searching, or some social opportunity. Staying atop these concerns is the noble use of a maintenance agreement.
A Maintenance Agreement budget also should be provided for installing important updates to the underlying software. The price should be small, maybe $250 per event, maybe two or three events per year. Security updates in particular must be done.
A Maintenance Agreement provides a management structure for all the above. There is a prioritized wish list, a clear line of communication, and a non-intrusive billing arrangement.
The Maintenance Agreement budget is not for hosting the app and ensuring its connectivity. These services are budgeted under Hosting Agreements.
GORGES would be embarrassed if Maintenance Agreement budgets were spent mostly on fixing the app. In some cases this is appropriate use, but there should be very little of this. Websites and apps are warranted for thirty days after going live and after major upgrades. Clients should test the app thoroughly before and during that period to take advantage of the warranty.
The best websites and apps pay their own way. Allocating a portion of the return for maintenance extends their lives and empowers their constituencies.