So you’ve completed the website build, and your newly polished site is online and you’re beginning to see the results from visitors who love it and who are interacting with you on a regular basis. You’re chuffed! It’s all good. The invoices are paid and now, because you have a content management system installed, you and your staff can update the content as you like without having to pay the web designer each week for updating the images. All is well with the world, your digital strategy has been vindicated.
Whilst everything is going well, there is nothing to worry about, or is there. If you don’t have staff in house who can maintain and look after your digital platforms, you may find that when a problem occurs you’re left floundering, trying to find someone who will fix it for you and restore it to it’s former glory.
It is vitally important as part of your digital strategy, to allocate a portion of your budget to the continued update and maintenance of your digital property.
There are times when this may seem to be a waste of resources, however in situations where you don’t have the in-house expertise, planning for failure can save you a lot of money in the long term.
If you’re budget is blown in the development phase of a project, there may be little left for support and maintenance. As part of your project planning, you should allocate at least one day per month to the support and maintenance of your digital property. This need not be a part of the package that you negotiate with your developers, (if you’re using external suppliers).
If the development firm is a reputable one, they will have provided you (and you should request as part of the project deliverables), documentation that explains the layout of the application, the platform requirements and a guide on how the development may be maintained.
If you have these documents, then you can find other companies that will offer you a support package as a standalone service. The main thing is that you allocate resources to either train in-house staff, or hire external suppliers to maintain and support the development for the lifetime of it’s use. The alternative could well prove more costly as you have to draft in emergency support which comes at a premium.