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Application Support & DevOps

We provide full, ongoing third-line custom application support tailored to meet individual client requirements, including remote and on-site assistance.

Here at Ballard Chalmers, the engineers that wrote the software, support the systems once they are live. That means fully qualified and experienced engineers do the support, not help desk staff.

SOME OF OUR Application Support & DevOps ENGAGEMENTS

HOW BALLARD CHALMERS CAN HELP YOU WITH APPLICATION SUPPORT

We can provide custom software support for the systems that we develop and for your existing or legacy systems. Our expert software engineers offer third-line support. Providing you with deep expert support to work alongside your in-house team as a seamless extension.

Once the Service Level Agreement (SLA) is finalised, our dedicated in-house UK support team will be available to help you over the phone or by email, weekdays from 9 AM to 5.30 PM.

You will have an assigned Support Manager to assist you, and direct access to technicians when needed. This gives you consistent and dedicated support to keep your application running smoothly and in optimum shape.

Having invested in building custom software, keeping it running smoothly is vital and worth every penny. With a support package, you get full, uninterrupted help for any issues or queries that might crop up.

We can provide support for:

    • Modern Azure applications
    • .NET Systems
    • SQL Server
    • Xamarin Applications
    • SharePoint Server
    • BizTalk Server
    • The Power Platform
    • Bespoke Enterprise Software
    • Legacy Systems

This gives us continuity at a reasonable cost and maintains the relationship with Geoff and the Ballard Chalmers team. It’s our software and we have the flexibility to add enhancements when we want, and we are well supported by Ballard Chalmers.

Director of Development – Ipes

Since March 2018, they have been supporting and developing our product and we have already made huge advancements in a relatively short time. The care and attention that is applied to the work they have done, the ability to resolve issues quickly, first rate communication and outstanding approach to project management all contribute to the success.

Managing Director – AppCan

Richard has been, and continues to be, a fantastic help with support to our client. He always takes the time to explain things as clearly as the situation allows and is very quick to fix problems when asked. I really appreciate all his help.

Manager – Mason Zimbler

Helpful and highly knowledgeable. Supported many of our systems for several years and continue to do so.

IT Network Supervisor – The College of Richard Collyer

I’ve always had a good experience with them. They provide good support, and recently provided us with the ability to deploy developments weekly.

Project Manager – OVO Energy

If we find a bug in the product, we’re able to speak directly with the developers to correct issues quickly and easily. In our prior partnership, we didn’t have direct contact with developers, so that was a huge improvement in this engagement. It helped us complete tasks more quickly.

Director of Operations – The Care Database

We had an initial meeting with Ballard Chalmers and were immediately confident that they were the right fit for us. We’ve now been working with Ballard Chalmers for almost a year and a half and they’ve assisted us in several areas including SharePoint Support and SharePoint consultancy to help us migrate from a 3rd party intranet solution to ‘Modern’ SharePoint Online.

CIO – United Living

I would like you to convey my appreciation for the professional faultless support we continue to receive from Ballard Chalmers. From installation to the completion of the SharePoint application and subsequent support, they have shown expert knowledge.

IT Manager – Plastic Logic

We have a large and complex healthcare management system called The Care Database. We moved our development and support to Ballard Chalmers at the beginning of the year and they rapidly picked up our existing code and familiarised themselves with our product.

Director of Operations – The Care Database

Ballard Chalmers undertook further development to an existing application. They were very quick to understand our requirements, were able to create a complete test environment within Azure in record fast time, fully understood the the existing connectivity solution into our back end systems and provided further enhancements and ongoing support.

IT Manager – Jacksons Fencing

OUR APPLICATION SUPPORT INCLUDES:

At Ballard Chalmers, we consider regular maintenance to be an integral part of the overall software application development cycle but it also covers all post-deployment emergencies.

Our ongoing support service is designed to be flexible and uncomplicated, covering all the technologies in our portfolio. Support is managed by our Service Delivery Manager and Assistant utilizing an online ticketing system, with registered client contacts authorised to raise support tickets.

Support is typically pre-purchased in quarterly blocks of 25, 50, 100, 250 or more hours depending on individual requirements and is called off as it is used up and topped up when the hours run out. Support hours do not lapse and can be used at any time. Our response times are governed by SLAs based on the severity/category of the support request.

  • UK-based engineers
  • Dedicated support team
  • Upgrades & patches
  • Data bottleneck reduction
  • Microsoft Gold Partner expertise
  • Troubleshooting & root cause analysis
  • Fast fixes
  • Disaster recovery strategy
  • Help & advice
  • Remote or onsite support

WHY YOU NEED APPLICATION SUPPORT

Keeping your enterprise software effective is essential to avoid costly disruptions. Your applications are critical for productivity, and outages or bugs can have far-reaching effects.

Maintaining applications in an optimum condition can be complex, and hard to support internally, that’s why many companies choose the cost-effective method of outsourcing to us for software application support.

Common benefits from outsourcing software application support:

  • Increase products lifetime
  • Free up in-house resources for new software development
  • Avoid in-house time-wastage on legacy systems
  • Increase company productivity with reduced slows and bugs

Without a robust application support strategy, you could risk:

  • Needing costly repairs
  • Reduced productivity from slows
  • Reputational damage from outages
  • Business continuity disruption
  • Compromised effectiveness
  • Disrupted routine caused by emergencies

Application Support can be used for all purposes, including:

  • Bug fixing
  • Updates
  • Strategy & planning
  • Informal mentoring & consultancy
  • Routine maintenance
  • Background system maintenance
  • Database maintenance and analysis
  • Rolling data back or merging data from previous versions, when needed

HOW WE CAN HELP YOU WITH DEV OPS

The key to an effective DevOps process is that the developers are focussed on the ongoing running of an application.

We plan for the live running of our applications from the very earliest inception stages of development and automate as much of the testing and deployment as possible.

We can build scalable and stable applications for you using techniques like Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD), requirements agreed as human-readable automated acceptance tests and unit testing.

Our DevOps Methodologies

Unit Testing

Applying quality assurance from the first lines of code

Our code is written with a high coverage of testing down to the first time a solution is created to ensure that the code is delivering what is expected of it. This allows a very high degree of confidence that changes made to one area of the application will not cause a bug further down the line, as we are testing that previously working code continues to work as expected. We make use of frameworks such as NUnit, Microsoft Unit Test Framework, NFluent, Specflow, Jasmine and Karma, among others to provide testing at each layer of the application.

Automated Acceptance Tests

Creating human readable UI tests

Unit tests increase the likelihood that the code will do what the developer intended but it is critical that the application does what was required in the first place as well! To help this, we write the specifications for our projects as agile user stories, accompanied by gherkin language acceptance tests that are easily understood by all users. These tests are supported with Specflow and Selenium to create a set of coded UI tests that perform the same actions as the user would themselves and confirms that the application works from the front-end as well as from the code itself. This also allows us to know that we have full coverage of the defined requirements before handing over an application for testing.

Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment

Increasing the speed from keyboard to running application

The backing of unit tests and automated acceptance tests means that we can deploy our applications at the click of a button and reduce the impact of user errors in deployments. Using Azure DevOps to build our code from the first check-in, compile it to a deployable format, setting the correct properties for each environment and then deploying that code to the appropriate servers and serverless services in Azure means that we have consistency and speed to our development practices. Automating the running of the different levels of tests mean that we can also be confident that changes made have not broken functionality before it reaches the users for testing.

Why Ballard Chalmers

Ballard Chalmers specialists will work with you and your team to maintain, support and enhance your custom software both efficiently and cost-effectively. A vital requirement for business continuity, effectiveness and productivity.

HERITAGE

We were established in 2005, though our heritage is much longer. We have decades of industry experience used to bring you the right solution in every support ticket.

EXPERTISE

As software engineers, we are technical problem solvers. We bring that expertise to you in every support ticket so your team don’t have to worry.

MICROSOFT GOLD PARTNERS

Only the top 1% of Microsoft Partners have attained Gold Microsoft competencies demonstrating best in class — we have five.

EXPERIENCE

We have a long track record of successfully supporting both SMP and enterprise systems. Your support tickets don’t run out, our experience is always available to you.
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