Application Primary and Backup Support

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Application Primary and Backup Support

If your team supports a number of applications and technologies, it makes sense to assign a primary support person to each application.

Each application should also have a designated backup.

If the application is large enough, you may have others providing support as well.

However, it should be clear who the primary support person is. You can have multiple backups, but only one primary support person.

The primary support person is sometimes called the Primary Support Analyst.

The backup is called the Backup Support Analyst. This designation applies to a specific application or set of applications.

Therefore, it is possible that a person could be a Primary Support Analyst on one application and the Backup Support Analyst for others.

The Primary Support Analyst takes the lead in resolving problems or answering questions. It is understood that he or she is the most knowledgeable in how the application works.

He or she may not be the most knowledgeable on the first day as the Primary Support Analyst, but by having the support calls assigned to him or her first, he or she quickly becomes knowledgeable in how the application works.

Typically each application has at least one designated backup as well. The backup helps out when the primary person is busy or out of the office.

Backups are important, but they are also an area many companies do not put enough emphasis on. When applications have support problems and the Primary Support Analyst is not available, the backup needs to know enough to be able to resolve the problem.

If you do not have good backup analysts, you will also have problems when the Primary Support Analyst leaves the group, since there is a large knowledge gap when the backup is elevated to primary status.

Over time, the people in your group will develop a level of competency in a number of applications. One reason for this is normal job rotation.

After a person has mastered his or her knowledge of an application, many times he or she will want to learn something new. He or she ends up taking primary support for another application and then becomes a backup for the original application.

Another reason is that there are times when an application requires help from team members other than the primary and backup. Other team members can become involved and develop a level of competency as well.

It is a good practice to understand and map the various applications in the group, and to know which team members have some level of competency.

You may find that your larger applications have a number of people with some level of knowledge, while other applications may be at risk because the knowledge level in the group is very low.

Your support group should track each application, the Primary Support Analyst, backup analysts and any others with application knowledge.

This tracking will allow the manager of the group to determine if your team has any applications with an unacceptable knowledge gap. If so, you have the information you need to strengthen the group’s knowledge in those applications.

Application Server Inventory


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