One reason why integrating and maintaining a new software platform can be so tricky is because all sides—vendors and end-users—need to have a complete understanding of how a new application works. On top of that, all sides need to understand the clients’ complex network platform and articulate their unique needs.
The first thing that needs to be understood is how to transfer data in and out of the new application and into a plethora of other programs on the market. The developers then need to become familiar with the interfaces that make up the client’s platform. Developers have to be able to troubleshoot any number of problems that can cause an application delay or crash. This requires not only strong design at the front end, but also monitoring and maintaining of the end-user’s software environment once the application has been launched.
To successfully integrate new applications for vendors and clients, it’s almost always best to start by simplifying your support model.
Developing a Simplified Support Model
A simplified support model eases and clarifies the maintenance process post integration. The following steps present an excellent process for developing a robust and simplified support model:
- Establish definitions for a variety of endpoint applications
- Identify consistent pathways and patterns for connecting different applications
- Using this information, create a reusable model for integrating new platforms and reducing errors
- Develop troubleshooting guidelines based on these steps
What to Look for in a Support Professional
Simplifying your support model frees developers to focus on improving existing software and creating new and better products. By the same token, end-users can stay focused on their day-to-day work without investing valuable time and funds on an integration maintenance point-person.
The optimal support professional has the following skills:
- Familiarity with new and old applications
- Ability to provide training to clients
- Can act quickly to resolve problems before the end-users’ work processes are disturbed
Allow Your Support Model to Evolve
To be most useful, it’s important that support procedures are up to date. More than that, they should have the ability to evolve with the developments of new technologies and industry trends. Even the most well thought out and organized support model can lose its value if there’s a failure to keep up with industry growth.
Follow these steps to ensure your support procedures stay updated and relevant.
- Avoid stagnation by regularly updating integration guidelines, including components that incorporate new products and software upgrades.
- Error notifications should also evolve and reflect technology advancements and industry growth.
- Recycling troubleshooting protocols saves time and helps to eliminate common problems.
Achieving Vendor and Client Satisfaction
Simplifying your support model is tremendously beneficial, for both vendors and clients. Clients are especially pleased when they don’t have to worry about maintenance and when the burden of integration is taken out of their hands. Once the pressure to delegate extra resources to application monitoring and error resolution is removed, time and attention can be spent once more in more productive and forward-looking areas of the business.