Although often linked to hosting decisions, application support is something that needs consideration whether you are hosting yourself or hosting externally. Whether it is support for Moodle, Mahara or another open source application the challenges are the same.
What does application support cover?
This is often different depending on what organisation or package you select from support companies. There are three key aspects of support:
- application use support
- application code support
- application platform support
Sometimes you may need “how to” application use support, where the company is providing commercial support for “How do I add a quiz?” or “I am trying to add this scorm package and it isn’t working, am I doing anything wrong?”.
Sometimes you may need a more technical level of support which involves troubleshooting the application code when something isn’t working as it should or when you want the application upgraded or security patched.
Sometimes you may need IT level support on the hosting platform, be it for backups, disaster recovery or performance tweaks.
What options are available?
There are two basic approaches to engaging support, all-in support and usage based support.
Set price support, is usually a defined support package for a set amount yearly although this is often limited in scope for example only including one upgrade a year.
The usage based support generally is generally more flexible in scope and application as you are paying for every task that is being done. This places you the customer in control of your costs and the level of support you maintain.
It is important however to recognise that applications get regular updates throughout the year, with patches, security fixes, and major upgrades, so you will need to consider this also in thinking about what option you need.
With our project needs assessment workshop we can work with you to help identify the levels and types of support that you will need initially and long-term and help you put together a plan to get the best solution at the best value for your project. For more information please contact us.