The more employees you have, the more difficult it will be for you to update the software on their devices. Especially, if there are multiple devices—laptops, PCs, tablets, and smartphones.
Each package customization or upgrade will require lots of manual operations and, as a result, will consume more costs. There are some other challenges you may come across during this process, and today we’ll touch upon them. Also, we’ll discuss how specific software for packaging can help you resolve those issues.
Main Challenges of Application Lifecycle Management
Meet the most common problems IT management (and the business in general) usually faces when it comes to applications.
High Expenses on App Maintenance
Any updates, fixes, or modifications usually should go through the application packaging process (we’ve covered it in detail in our article “Introduction to Application Packaging”). It means your developers and QA engineers will spend time and effort on each change.
The cost of software maintenance compared to the total cost of ownership varies from application to application. Some experts say it’s 40-80%, another state it’s around 70%, yet some indicate it can reach up to 90% of TCO. Such discrepancies in numbers depend on the app complexity, format, and type/number of devices you need to distribute this package to.
Increasing Technical Debt
Over the years, the code base of an app grows older. Each package customization or hotfix makes it harder to introduce new changes.
Also, it can require some extra effort from your developers or QAs to ensure everything works as it should. This results in additional resources spent on application packaging.
Existing Business Systems Integration
Deployment of the app can be challenging for an enterprise or a small company with lots of software in its ecosystem. To keep infrastructure stable and make sure there won’t be any conflict with other applications, you’ll need to double-check the package in the staging environment.
Prolonged Application Delivery
Lots of manual operations cause slower distribution. For instance, it’ll take approximately 8 hours to package an app of medium complexity. And here’s where the need to automate application packaging arises, as far as with specialized software solutions, you can reduce that time to 30 minutes.
Let’s proceed to the other advantages you can derive from application packaging software.
Key Benefits of App Packaging Software
Here’s how a dedicated software packaging tool can save time and money, simplify your team’s life, and even mitigate some risks.
#1. Reduce Costs on Application Support
In the end, everything comes down to money, so we’ll start with that.
As we’ve already mentioned, app support can cost you from 40% to 90% of the TCO, depending on your package complexity. And corrective maintenance (which is about fixing some issues that pop up after deployment) can take up to 20% of that amount.
During application packaging, your app will go through several rounds of testing. This will help you ensure that there will be no crashes after the rollout. Which, in its turn, will save your DevOps and/or engineers time for processing support requests.
#2. Package Application and Prepare It for Deployment Much Faster
Predesigned app packaging software also helps you to automate some actions. The whole process can speed up by 15 hours if you take a complex application.
You can easily meet the requirements of popular operating systems or any other environments, instead of configuring them manually or double-checking if you’ve made all the necessary settings.
#3. Ensure a Stable IT Ecosystem
Little to no downtime in the system is the dream of any DevOps or system administrator. To achieve this, they have to perform lots of operations, like regularly updating software, monitoring security and load, and ensuring new installations won’t affect the infrastructure.
A common practice that helps to check the system’s stability is to have a reference or golden image. It enables you to reduce fragmentation and standardize the environment.
The golden image is a system template with a basic configuration, created from the existing environment. For this reason, it’s sometimes called a master or clone image. With it, you can check how adding a new application will influence the whole system and take action to avoid compatibility issues.
#4. Improve Infrastructure Security and Mitigate Data Leakage Risks
People (read: employees) are in second place in the list of top security threats for the corporate ecosystem, right after malware. In 2021, “82% of data breaches involved a human factor and were mainly caused by errors, misuse, stolen credentials, or phishing.
Application packaging tools offer you an opportunity to minimize those risks by creating an installer that will launch in the background and will have limited admin rights. Thus, regular users won’t be able to install or run it manually if they don’t have permission to.
To strengthen app protection from unauthorized access, you can also include the latest security patches in the package.
#5. Minimize Possible Business Disruptions
In addition to limiting access to installers, you can eliminate possible issues by configuring packages properly. Misconfiguration stood for 13% of data breaches in 2021. Extra testing of the app package in a staging environment can help you minimize this risk.
What’s more, you can opt for “silent” installation or updates while packaging the application. This will allow you not to affect the usage of your corporate devices or interrupt your employees’ workflow.
Finally, to reduce the influence of the app on your system, you can virtualize it. Thus, the whole app or its parts will run in an isolated environment (like a container or sandbox) and have fewer dependencies and/or impact on your OS.
As you can see, app packaging software can turn your application management upside down. By standardizing and automating app configuration, distribution, and installation, you can cut down expenses, increase your system security, and eliminate possible disruptions.
Want to reap the benefits of app packaging?