Over the last few years, mobile app development has mainly been seen as a tool for startups to get their name into the market and often their entire business is built around an app. For this reason, many don’t realize that larger companies can benefit from creating custom software. Enterprise app development can help your organization tap into new technologies and improve user experiences, a valuable asset in today’s market.

With this article, we want to give you an in-depth look at the enterprise app development, from ideation to implementation. Our hope is that with a better understanding of both the benefits and processes involved, you will be able to launch your digital transformation with confidence and reach your full potential. With this in mind, let’s start at the very beginning.

enterprise app development

What is enterprise app development?

In order to start off on the same page, let’s explore the question: what is enterprise app development? According to Techopedia, an enterprise app is defined as a “large software system or platform designed to operate in a corporate environment.” These applications are often complex, scalable, component-based, and mission critical to the organizations they serve.

This is the best thing about enterprise applications – that they are tailored specifically to the business. Not only does this allow for a much higher level of sophistication and integration, but it provides the opportunity for enterprise companies to gain a competitive advantage. Just imagine the kind of leg-up you could get from using a software built for you while your competition uses off-the-shelf solutions like everyone else.

Types of Enterprise Apps – Mobile, web, & custom software

Now, in the same way that each enterprise application is different for every organization, enterprise app development encompasses different types of software development. Enterprise applications can be mobile apps, web apps, custom software, or all of the above. In the same way that you will choose features for the app itself, you will need to conduct research on which device will provide the best user experience.

Finding the right enterprise app development approach will depend on the size, industry, customer needs, and several other factors of your specific business. While we will get into the different ways these applications can be used to improve your business, let’s first take a look at the benefits of enterprise app development as a whole and then get into the details of it.

Benefits of enterprise development

For any organization to commit to enterprise app development, your team needs to have a firm concept of the ‘why’ behind your initiative. It is often said that the best way to do this is with both top-down support and a firm foundation coming from your stakeholders. Next, we’ll cover the benefits of this process for you to use when garnering the support you will need.

1. Increase productivity

The first benefit of any digital transformation strategy like enterprise app development is increased productivity across the board. This will lead to either a higher quality product, well-oiled business processes, or both. However, it is one thing to talk about increase productivity within your company, but what does that actually look like?

Consider a typical day, week, or month at your business. Now, imagine if bureaucratic processes like timesheets, time-off requests, and performance reviews could be consolidated into a single program that reduced time spent to 50%? Not only would these tasks get completed quicker, but it will open up more space in your day, week, or month to spend on more pressing business issues.

This is just one example of how increased productivity can benefit your business, but the possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

2. Streamline processes

While streamlining processes is one part of increasing productivity, we wanted to highlight this benefit as it has further applications you may not be aware of in its own right. Primarily, if you decide to pursue a customer-facing application, you can greatly improve the user experience and add another tool to your customer engagement arsenal.

Each enterprise application will look different depending on the business, but these benefits will work across almost any solution. By using automation where you can, creating systems that learn as they go, and trimming any potential waste from the processes, your organization will be better equipped to serve your audience and your employees at the same time.  

3. Tap into Big Data and analytics

The last benefit of enterprise app development we will cover in this section is the ability to tap into Big Data and the analytics that come with a custom application. Whether you are building your enterprise application for customers, employees, or both, your organization can benefit from digging deeper into the insights provided. Not only will this further improve processes and productivity, but it can give you an edge when it comes to user engagement.

When you are working on the development of your application, make sure your team knows this is priority. In order to properly track your analytics, you will need to build in places for capturing that data throughout the application. Data points such as page clicks, user sessions, and daily active users will provide you with the information you need to better serve your audience.

Opportunities for building an enterprise mobile app

Now that we have reviewed a few of the benefits of building an enterprise mobile application, let’s now take some time to look at a couple of opportunities you can take advantage of through the same process. Then, once you are able to identify those opportunities, we will review the types of applications you can build to match those opportunities. After that, we will offer some best practices for building the exact application that you need.

Types of enterprise applications

First, let’s go over the types of enterprise applications that are out there and then review the opportunities they can fulfill for your organization. Each of these enterprise applications can be built across web, mobile, and custom software, but we will specify which works best for each opportunity to help you put your best foot forward.

1. Apps for running background processes

The first type of enterprise application you might build for your company is one that runs background processes for you automatically. Although this may seem like a small part of what makes a business run, systems such as automated billing, payment processing, and others can be revolutionized through digital transformation.

When should your company consider a enterprise app development for this type of program? Take a look at the current infrastructure for running background and bureaucratic processes to see if things can be done more efficiently. Unless you have already made changes to this process recently, the answer will likely be yes and an enterprise application could be the right fit.

It is also worth considering that companies have seen an increase in employee satisfaction and employee loyalty, as well as improved internal communication, just from using an enterprise mobile app. It is for this reason that we recommend using a mixture of mobile and custom software for this type of solution.

2. Apps for developing strategic planning

Now, on the flip-side of running background processes we find another type of enterprise application, one that can be used to develop strategic planning for the business. Terms such as CRM, ERP, BI, BCP, etc. are often thrown around in this regard. However, while those do play a vital role in this process, a custom software can typically bundle all of these systems into one easy-to-use program for improved development.

The best opportunity for building an application like this is to do so when your business is planning to grow, expand, or scale into new markets and/or new products. As you start to take on new and exciting responsibilities, it is important to have a secure system in place that can grow with you. Enterprise application development will save you a lot of headache down the line if you build a bespoke software from the get-go.

3. Customer-facing apps

The last type of enterprise application we will look at is the most obvious and most popular: customer-facing apps. There is a multitude of different reasons for building this type of app, but the most important is to facilitate better customer engagement with your audience. In today’s day and age, unless you are actively trying to engage with your audience to improve their experience, they will quickly lose interest and go elsewhere.

Depending on your product and audience, you will likely want to look at your current customer engagement efforts to see if adding a customer-facing application would improve them or hinder them. That being said, with more customers than ever using their phones to communicate with the companies they work with, adding your own mobile app will make this process easier and greatly improve the user experience.

From this point, you can learn from your customers, gather feedback, and perform mobile app maintenance in order to continuously offer further value to your audience.

How to successfully develop an enterprise application

With a firm understanding of both the types of software available for enterprise app development and the benefits of pursuing it, the last area of this process we will look at is how to get started and which best practices to follow for a successful development. While following these practices won’t guarantee future business success, they will put you on the right track.

In this article we don’t have time to go over the entire process of outsourcing developers or sticking to an Agile methodology, but we do recommend using these tactics and doing more research on these approaches before getting started. The following best practices should be applied within the actual development.

Best practice #1: Consistent Branding

The first best practice for crafting an exceptional enterprise application is to come up with consistent branding that can be used across all products and devices. While you will hopefully already have some basics out of the way such as colors and branded logos, other considerations such as custom buttons, infographics, or even emojis can set your design apart from your competition.

Additionally, while UX design should be considered in its own right, keeping a consistent and predictable design standard can greatly improve the user experience of your software. The easier it is for your employees or customers to use you app, the more successful it will be.

Best practice #2: Focus on User Experience

Speaking of UX design, the next best practice for enterprise application development is to focus on the user experience. As more businesses begin to build their own enterprise solutions, a stellar design and user experience will become the best possible brand differentiator. By focusing on this before ever writing a line of code, you will already be ahead of the crowd.

However, focusing on the user experience goes beyond simply designing your enterprise app. Analyze your entire process with your team and pick out areas that, if improved, would lead to a better experience for your users and any other important stakeholders. Then, go ahead and ask your users what they want to see from your business. You might be surprised how helpful these insights will be when you begin QA testing the software.

Best practice #3: Iterative Design

It is one thing to talk about good, well-thought-out design, it is another to actually see it through. This is why our third best practice is to user an iterative design approach when working on your enterprise application. By learning from your mistakes and your users as you go, you will have a much better product by the time it is launched, rather than trying to play catch up from day one.

But what does iterative design actually look like? Depending on the framework you are using, it often involves dividing the project into smaller time increments, usually 1-2 weeks, with daily meetings to stay on track followed by a more in-depth discussion at the end. By keeping everyone on the same page and adapting to new situations as they arise, your product will be far more prepared for the real world.

Best practice #4: Privacy and Security

Finally, the last best practice we will look at is how to include user privacy and security throughout the entire application. As an enterprise company, you cannot afford to be lax about either of these concepts, especially with a customer-facing application. Before ever launching your application, you need to be sure that your software is airtight and won’t compromise user data.

One way to improve this could be with a Blockchain ledger that encrypts the entire process. However, Blockchain is still a new technology and unless your team is adept at creating this type of system, it may lead to more security flaws than fixes. Another option is to simply encrypt as you go and avoid any sort of integrations that could leave a hole in your defense. As long as you make privacy a priority, this will hopefully be a relatively small part of the project.

Final thoughts

As you can see, enterprise application development is not an easy task, but with the right tools it can be an important one. We hope that this article will provide the guidance you need to begin your own project and take your enterprise organization to a whole new level.

Remember, the first and most vital part of the process is simply taking the first step, so why not get started today? Our team is always available to offer a free consultation to show you what’s possible. Schedule yours today!