Compiled By Traci Purdum Addressing the debate of who is responsible for what in software agreements, Spirian Technologies Inc., a software-operations-management solution provider, has devised a short list to help software companies improve customer satisfaction. "An often overlooked component of software ownership is the increasing cost of applying updates and patches to core applications," says Shruti Yadav, analyst at Wellesley, Ma.-based Nucleus Research Inc. "To maintain an application's long-term return on investment, companies need to take a structured approach to technology maintenance." The five key guidelines that will help software companies improve the serviceability of their applications, according to Spirian, are:
- Adopt an automated, rules-driven software distribution process. Replacing legacy, reactive methods used to deliver software updates -- whether an upgrade, patch or hot fix -- to a large customer base speeds technology adoption and improves customer satisfaction.
- Offer proactive maintenance. Automating corrective action on a customer system when specific performance patterns are detected or system thresholds are exceeded can help prevent outages.
- Periodically gather customer asset data. Often, the key to solving a problem is comprehensive understanding of the hardware and software assets in the environment. Having up-to-date asset information is critical for identifying incompatibilities.
- Include analytics capabilities in application software. Tracking key metrics about application usage and performance, and gathering data about functionality, user preferences and defect occurrence in software can be invaluable in future software development and investment decisions.
- Perform regular software reviews. Software vendors should consider a periodic review of how their customers use their software.