Ballard Chalmers provides an ongoing support service for our software systems and considers this to be an integral part of the overall software application development project. Most commonly we support applications that we have custom-built for clients, but we can take over the management of custom applications for ongoing support or modernisation purposes.
Our Application Support Service
Our support is typically third-line technical support of the application itself, while the client supports the users and any infrastructure. We do not utilise help-desk staff but rather the engineers that built the system or are familiar with the application do the work directly.
We also support Azure live hosting infrastructure using our DevOps and Sysadmin staff where required. This service includes automated set up of the environment, automated deployments, site monitoring and carrying out business-as-usual (BAU) admin activities.
Our application support is designed to be flexible and uncomplicated and can be used for all purposes, including:
- Training, mentoring, consultancy & informal Q&A
- Routine maintenance & system health checks
Ongoing support is recommended for applications to cover all post-deployment support requirements. As anyone in the industry knows, something is always going to come up!
Our support is pre-purchased in blocks of hours, called off as it is used up, and ‘topped up’ when the hours run out. We are committed to our clients and our support hours do not lapse.
Support is managed by our Service Delivery Manager and Assistant utilizing an online ticketing system. Clients register the contacts who are authorised to raise support tickets so that we all on the same page and there are no unwanted surprises.
Application Support Service Level Agreements – SLAs
Our response times are governed by Service Level Agreements based on the severity/category of the support request. Below are our standard SLAs but these are adjusted as needed to respond to particular client needs.
- A Category 1 Defect is a material defect in the system which prevents it from operating at all, or which causes a vital portion of the system to fail to function. This extends to primary failure of an area key to the operation of the business.
- A Category 2 Defect is a failure or defect in a non-critical portion of the application.
- A Category 3 Defect is a defect whereby the system, while capable of operating, could be improved through enhancements that would increase its ability to function, speed of operation or ease of use. For example, a change to the operational flow of the site to improve user or administrator experience.
- A Category 4 Defect is a failure or defect in the cosmetic aspects of the site, which would be improved through graphical and other design elements.
Below are our standard service levels responding to these categories, which again we easily adjust to suit specific client requirements.
- A Category 1 Defect will be assessed within one hour of being notified by the client representative by telephone, email or in-person. We advise the client representative of the expected time frame for the Category 1 Defect to be remedied, with a maximum four-hour resolution commitment.
- A Category 2 Defect will be assessed within four hours of being notified by the client representative by telephone or email or in person. We advise the client representative of the expected time frame for the Category 2 Defect to be remedied with a maximum eight-hour resolution commitment.
- Category 3 and 4 defects are considered enhancements and are not covered under the maintenance agreement unless specifically requested by the client. Where these occur, they will be individually assessed and a price for implementing any solutions agreed upon with the client before the work is undertaken. Unless the client instructs the work to be undertaken under the support hours on account.
As with all the work we do, we like to keep the governing and tracking simple. By pre-purchasing packets of hours, using the online ticketing system, calling-off the hours when used and no date of expiry, all parties can be happy that the application is getting the support and backup that is required with little fuss and no stress.