Custom Software Support

Custom Software Support Magic Exists

Custom software support is provided after a product is released. Its terms are usually described in the software support agreement. The success of the product lies in the professionalism of the support team.

Nevertheless, many underestimate the importance of the support department. It is the support team that communicates with software users. Customers often notice flaws that cannot be seen by developers or product owners, because the team can often get overly attached to their product.

Let’s dig a little deeper in what bespoke software support is and how it can make your software better.

Custom software support is a set of services such as remote troubleshooting, installation assistance, usability assistance, installation of product updates and migrations for major releases of software.

Don’t confuse software support with maintenance or enhancement. Maintenance includes minor script and configuration parameters modifications. Software enhancement leads to appearance of new product features. Usually they are defined by the contract.

Different support for different products.

Take a basic custom software product that does not require specific skills for support. The daily work for the support team member is to help users who do not have enough IT knowledge to understand how to accomplish a specific task using the software.

For example, you have one small product. Your developers know it very well, only a few people use it, and it works in a non-critical environment, which means that the problem does not affect business continuity. In this case it will be relatively easy for developers to fix the bugs and answer any questions.

You may assign a different team member to be responsible for support every week. It will add some dynamics into the team’s work, it will help them develop interpersonal skills, and it will raise the team spirit, because developers will need to share the knowledge they acquired during software support.

On the other hand, you may have a complicated system that is used by many people, that has been built by a big team of developers and that works in a critical environment. In this case the business will suffer losses if the platform goes down. Custom software support is going to include 24/7 support by phone, email, and chat. You will need specialists who can answer specific questions quickly and effectively.

When the product is big, you will need a support team. It usually consists of computing consultants who help users with issues they encounter.

The support team has to be informed and trained accordingly in case of product update. Moreover, support has to be involved in the development process. They should be informed what bugs have been fixed so that they can inform customers about that as well.

It may be a good idea to invite your support team to sprint planning or sprint review meetings. It is also important to make sure that the support team documents the most frequently asked question and uses a FAQ list. The knowledgebase will optimize the work process and serve as a good source of information for newcomers.

The support team has to identify those areas that get a lot of questions. Complaints are useful and must be taken seriously, because they are a sign that a specific area has to be improved. Support team can raise this sort of questions during meetings with developers and recommend changes based on users’ requests and preferences. Once the customer finds out that the issue has been fixed, they will turn into a happy client and will eventually spread the word.

Collaboration of development and support teams serves as a solid foundation for quality software. Custom software support provides strategic information about the product. It is better than any market research you can possibly conduct, because you can get feedback from your customers about what kind of features are missing and what has to be added or changed. If you listen carefully to what your users have to say and implement the necessary changes, it will raise customers’ satisfaction level with your product. This is the magic of custom software support.

Telecom Solutions

You Need to Know about These Innovative Telecom Solutions

Telecom network operators have always relied on technology but have often taken a conservative approach, valuing stability from established systems above improvements through innovation. Faced with a rising tide of user expectations from the flood of OTT services, MNOs have now shifted their priority to streamlining their operations, improving the customer experience with real-time, agile telecom solutions.

To stay competitive, network owners and not only, will look beyond their traditional technology suppliers and seek out innovation.

Here are some innovative telecom solutions and technologies you need to be aware of:

SDN Solutions

SDN (software-defined networking) is a new architecture for data networks in which the emphasis is shifted from hardware to software. Being able to control networks through software allows for the streamlining of many IT tasks. Speed and automation are thus relevant for the development of IoT and cloud networks.

According to CM Research, SDN technology is disruptive, because the network can be controlled by more players than ever before.

A closer look at SDN solutions reveals that there are open source as well as commercial solutions available on the market. NOX, POX, OpenDaylight are free, while Big Data Fabric, Virtual Application Network, and Contrail can be purchased.

5G networks

The emergence of 5G (fifth generation mobile networks) is around the corner. 5G will provide faster speeds, greater coverage, as well as less latency in comparison with 4G networks. This is essential for the connected things of the future, such as VR, holograms, driverless cars, or drones.

Even though the industry consensus holds that 5G technologies will become publicly available by 2020, companies such as Verizon and Ericsson have announced that field trials will be run in 2016.

SK Telecom (the first to roll out 4G) has completed a successful 5G system field test this April. Park Jin-hyo, who is the senior vice president and head of SK Telecom’s network tech, said that the company plans to lead the development of 5G technologies and services and be the first one to commercialize it.

Huawei is not far behind. This May they have completed the first phase of key 5G technology tests as a part of field trials.

Solutions for smart cities

New opportunities for growth can be found in the development of solutions for smart cities. There is a municipal demand to operate cities more effectively by implementing platforms that allow to manage and monitor city lighting or video surveillance systems.

Citizens wish to have technologies that make their lives easier at their fingertips. As consumers, they inspire companies to create innovative telecom solutions that, for example, allow payment for parking or public transportation using one’s smartphone.

A UK based company offers an app that lets its users pay for the parking and it also allows to extend the parking duration remotely.

An innovative telecom solution allows commuters in Singapore to pay for the bus and train tickets with their phone. The technology enables data transmission between a mobile device and a contactless card reader.

To enjoy the service, customers have to purchase NFC (Near Field Communication) SIM cards and turn on their devices’ NFC function to make payments or top-ups.

This telecom solution allows to get rid of both cash and travel cards when paying for the transportation.

Mobile Money telecom solutions

GMCS (Global Mobile Consumer Survey) has demonstrated that from 2014 to 2015 mPayment (mobile payment) technology has increased in 4 times. eMarketer estimated that the total value of mobile payment transactions will grow 210% in the US in 2016. This happens thanks to the support from customers, governments and central banks.

Mobile money telecom solutions can be used by operators for a range of mobile money services, such as money transfers, international remittances and mobile payments.  Business of all types, from coffee shops to digital stores are implementing point-of-sale systems that allow customers to pay using mobile devices, therefore it is anticipated that the mPayment method will soon be adopted by many users around the world.

Innovative telecom solutions are going to predetermine the direction of the development of the entire industry. Companies that invest in the capabilities, technologies and relationships to foster changes now, will have an advantage for many years to come.

How to Meet IT Project Deliverables?

At DAS Solutions we often work with our partners on creating a project plan and project-related documentation. One of the first things we do before starting the project is discuss the IT project deliverables.

A deliverable is an item produced as a part of the project. As the project moves forward, deliverables are further defined and specified. Deliverables can be tangible or intangible. For example, if you need to implement a system that tracks orders, your key deliverables will include tangible (the system itself) and intangible (training sessions for employees) items.

The most important thing to do to meet the IT project deliverables is to define them.

Clearly stated deliverables will help you see the project strategically. Once the deliverables are identified, they serve as a foundation for the success of the project. That is why it is crucial that project managers take enough time to gather and analyze all relevant information.

The deliverables need to meet the following criteria:

  • Have a detailed and clear description for all team members involved in the project;
  • Specify the operations and functionalities that will be performed by the software;
  • Ensure alignment with all requirements provided by the customer;
  • Clearly establish the client’s expectations;
  • Secure the client’s consent and acceptance;
  • Serve as a measurable basis for deliverables’ testing and review.

Keep the documentation updated

Updated documentation written clearly will help avoid any confusion. Make sure that all those involved in the project have a copy or can easily access it, because everyone has to be on the same page. Efficient coordination of the information will ensure that the deliverables are met.

Master the management of IT project deliverables

  • Assign your team tasks that have a work result. It can be a short script that allows to add new items in the bag, or it can be something more complex such as user manual.
  • Be clear about task delivery intervals. A specific date stimulates the team member to focus on the result. At the same time, don’t set too broad intervals, for example a month or two months.
  • Monitor and record the progress of larger deliverables. If something goes in the wrong direction you will be the first to notice. This will give you the opportunity to come up with a different plan.
  • Implement a formal acceptance and review procedure, this will help you avoid misunderstandings.
  • Gather a dedicated responsible team of developers and encourage knowledge-sharing between them. In case someone decides to move to a different project, you need to ensure that all deliverables for your project will be completed on time.
  • Don’t make assumptions. If something does not seem clear enough, discuss it with the team members and the stakeholders.  It is better to spend 30 minutes on making sure that there are no ambiguities left than to spend hours on re-working.

When you have a reliable and professional partner it is an exciting process of meeting project deliverables.

We recommend reading the guide on how to build a software development project plan as well.

Moving forward,
DAS Solutions Team.