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Cost of Software Maintenance

The cost of system maintenance represent a large proportion of the budget of most organizations that use software system. Software maintenance cost are the greatest cost incurred in developing and using a software system. In general, these costs are underestimated when the system is designed and implemented.

Maintenance costs very widely from one application to another but on average, they seem to be between two to four times of the development costs for large embedded software systems.

It is usually cost-effective to invest effort when designing and implementing a system to reduce maintenance costs. It is more expensive to add functionality after delivery because of the need to understand the existing system and analyze the impact of system changes. Therefore good software engineering techniques such as precise specification the use of object oriented development and configuration management, all lead to reduction in cost of maintenance.

Overall lifetime costs may decrease as more effort is expended during system development to producer a maintainable system. Because of the potential reduction in cost of understanding, analysis and testing, there is a significant multiplier effect when the system is developed for maintainability. For system 1 extra development cost of Rs 25,000 are invested in making the system more maintainable. The result is a saving of Rs 1, 00,000 in maintenance costs over the lifetime of the system. This proves that a percentage increase in development costs results in a comparable percentage decrease in overall system costs.

Development and maintenance cost

One important reason why maintenance cost are high is that is more expensive to add functionality after a system is in operation than it is to implement the same functionality during development.

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