Is your development team working on development?
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. a recent Gartner Benchmarking Report, only 40% of the activities conducted by application development teams, on average, are associated with support of the application. Any executive in charge of application development should be concerned by that figure. And every executive in a software business should be alarmed.
It means that 40% of the time, your development team is not working on the next release, the next module, the next product--the one that will keep your maintenance revenues flowing, drive new sales, and maintain your competitive lead.
In its 2004 Benchmark Study, the Service and Support Professional's Association (SSPA SSPA Solid State Power Amplifier
SSPA Service and Support Professionals Association
SSPA Software Support Professionals Association
SSPA Short Statured People of Australia Inc.
SSPA Submicron Signal Processor Architecture ) reported that the percentage of support cases closed at first contact continues to decline, while the length of time a case is open continues to increase. Escalation to a broader resolution team leads to skyrocketing personnel costs. Longer problem resolution times cause customer satisfaction issues and possibly delayed or lost revenues.
These distressing facts aren't all that surprising. While the software development process (presumably pre·sum·a·ble
That can be presumed or taken for granted; reasonable as a supposition: presumable causes of the disaster. accounting for the other 60%) of a developer's time has undergone multiple paradigm shifts A dramatic change in methodology or practice. It often refers to a major change in thinking and planning, which ultimately changes the way projects are implemented. For example, accessing applications and data from the Web instead of from local servers is a paradigm shift. See paradigm. in the past few decades, the software support process continues to rely on the same manual, labour intensive, iterative it·er·a·tive
1. Characterized by or involving repetition, recurrence, reiteration, or repetitiousness.
2. Grammar Frequentative.
Noun 1. approach.
Supporting applications means solving application problems. And while systems to manage the "trouble ticket process" have been in place for many years, very little advance has been made in technology to handle the heart of the issue--figuring out the root cause of the application problem.
As any software veteran knows, the challenge is that the symptoms of a software problem rarely reflect the root cause. Finding the glitch A temporary or random hardware malfunction. It is possible that a bug in a program may cause the hardware to appear as if it had a glitch in it and vice versa. At times it can be extremely difficult to determine whether a problem lies within the hardware or the software. See glitch attack. is not easy when you don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. where to start looking. A single business transaction may kick off a sequence of complex processes. Each of which may involve events that happen on up to a dozen potential servers. The root cause of the problem could be a software issue, a hardware fault, a configuration issue, or even an end-users mistake. A recent survey, conducted by Market Dynamics, found that 75% of the application problem resolution cycle time is attributed to determining the root cause of the problem.
Pinpointing the root cause of application problems can be especially difficult when problems are happening at remote customer sites. Support team members typically go though a lengthy and costly process that includes endless conference calls, iterative attempts to gather information, costly trips to the customer site, and multiple attempts to recreate the customer's environment and the problem scenario. And although Gartner research also tells us that application faults are responsible for only 40% of all unplanned downtime The time during which a computer is not functioning due to hardware, operating system or application program failure. , any veteran of software support knows that the vendor is guilty until proven innocent.
Clearly, a change in the application support paradigm is long over due. A growing number of innovative software vendors are leveraging low-impact application recording technologies as a mechanism to remotely record the information needed for problem resolution. These software technologies look inside a running application to collect the technical information needed by support specialists. The most sophisticated application recording technologies can capture not only the user's actions preceding a failure, but also the system configuration, events, application performance parameters, and even the related code execution flow and can synchronise Verb 1. synchronise - happen at the same time
contemporise, contemporize, synchronize
hap, happen, occur, come about, take place, go on, pass off, fall out, pass - come to pass; "What is happening?"; "The meeting took place off without an incidence"; this information on a single timeline for the support team. The most advanced application support systems usually provide the support team with powerful automated analysis to dramatically accelerate root cause determination.
With automated application support technologies, the most costly and cumbersome steps of the current problem resolution process are dramatically reduced or eliminated. The process of gathering information from end users and system administrators at the customer site drops significantly since the capture of all necessary information is automated. Time spent in attempts to replicate the problem is eliminated, since the actual problem history has already been captured. (According to the Market Dynamics report, this problem replication step is repeated seven times, on average, in the resolution process!) Since the problem history can simply be replayed, the problem resolution team, aided dedicated by root cause analysis product interfaces, can proceed directly to delivery of the fix.
The use of remote application recording technology has been proven to reduce problem resolution cycle times by 70-80% with labour savings of nearly 60%. The innovative software vendors who are transforming their support processes with application support and problem resolution technologies are experiencing some dramatic results: An ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) An integrated information system that serves all departments within an enterprise. Evolving out of the manufacturing industry, ERP implies the use of packaged software rather than proprietary software written by or for one customer. software vendor's payables application kept mysteriously crashing on start-up--but only at one customer site, for one unlucky group of users, and only on two of six seemingly identical servers. After investing over a month and 35,000 [pounds sterling] in a multi-engineer analysis, the support team still had not discovered a cause or cure. After deploying remote application support technology, the team was able to solve the problem in less than two hours. Analysis of problem history logs pinpointed the root cause: access rights to the required Windows registry The Windows registry is a directory which stores settings and options for the operating system for Microsoft Windows 32-bit versions, 64-bit versions and Windows Mobile. It contains information and settings for all the hardware, operating system software, most non-operating system key, due to an inadvertent and undetected change.
A leading hospital management organisation faced recurring re·cur
intr.v. re·curred, re·cur·ring, re·curs
1. To happen, come up, or show up again or repeatedly.
2. To return to one's attention or memory.
3. To return in thought or discourse. , intermittent processing delays Processing Delay
Time a selling firm takes to record receipt of a payment and deposit it. in a Web-based application See Web application. . The application supplier, facing some stiff service level penalties, deployed a 15-person crisis team who spent some 3,000 hours--200,000 [pounds sterling] in fully loaded costs--without solving the problem. When the company turned to application support technology, the first insights came in just a few hours. By isolating the root cause to specific components in the application server tier, the vendor was able to return most crisis team members to their normal responsibilities. Within the next several days, the remaining engineers pinpointed the problem to threading issues with their COM object A software component that conforms to Microsoft's Component Object Model (COM). See COM. , and solved it. Had this company deployed such technology from the beginning, they could have reduced their investment in engineering hours from 3,000 to less than 100--saving over 175,000 [pounds sterling] in this one incident alone.
The characteristics that make today's enterprise applications so powerful and productive when all goes well, makes them nearly inscrutable in·scru·ta·ble
Difficult to fathom or understand; impenetrable. See Synonyms at mysterious.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin when things go wrong. The time has come for a paradigm shift in how we support these complex applications--a technology approach that can accelerate the problem resolution process dramatically and reduce the number of escalated issues, so that the development team can stay focused on development.
www.identify.com (1) (Computer Output Microfilm) Creating microfilm or microfiche from the computer. A COM machine receives print-image output from the computer either online or via tape or disk and creates a film image of each page.