An enterprise app is an application or software used by a business to solve its enterprise problems. It integrates all aspects of a company’s operations and processes like accounting, human resources, manufacturing, marketing, sales, distribution, inventory and resource planning.
“When done correctly, Enterprise Application integration really allows companies to realize the full benefit of their software investments,” said Ravi Swami, President of Informatic of South Plainfield, N.J., a nationally-recognized leader in IT solutions and services and professional staffing services.
According to Swami there are four main benefits of enterprise applications to an organization. They are listed below:
• Information sharing - Enterprise applications facilitate sharing of information across departments in an organization thus reducing the time spent by employees in searching the information they need.
• Process automation - Enterprise applications can streamline processes that include data or activity from multiple software applications.
• Reduced IT complexity - Enterprise applications help organizations to use new technology effectively. They combine information and functionality of several applications into a single, easy-to-use interface.
• Increased agility – Enterprise applications allow businesses to recognize and respond to new opportunities more quickly.
Hence, enterprise applications are essential for organizations. Now the issue arises that how do we build an effective enterprise application. There are a few thumb rules we may follow:
√ Keep things simple – we must not crowd the application with too many features to avoid confusing the users. We may ask ourselves following questions before including any feature in our application:
• Will the app deliver value to employees?
• Does the app make business processes easier, faster and more accessible?
• Once the app has been deployed, will it be considered useful by the users?
√ Management capabilities – Once the app is deployed we need to manage it effectively. Management tools should be built in the app during the app development process itself.
√ Don’t forget the look – Enterprise apps should look and feel like a consumer app. Aesthetics should not be sacrificed just because enterprise apps are serious business.
√ Integration with the company’s legacy systems – Enterprise app developers need to consider how they will integrate their apps with outdated legacy systems on which plenty of companies run.
√ Clarity of business objectives – Enterprise app developers need to understand the objective of the app they are developing to justify the investment it entails. After determining the app’s objectives the key constituents of the app need to be determined. These key constituents could be employees, customers, suppliers, different departments of the firm. There needs to be a good collaboration between all the key constituents of the app.
√ Build apps keeping end users in mind – App developers should understand the trends in mobile user behavior – how they use their mobiles, which factors affect their mobile usage. Keeping these questions in mind, the app developers should design their apps for better fulfillment of users’ needs.
√ Selection of mobile development platform – Different enterprise apps are developed over different platforms depending on the features of the app. A suitable development platform needs to be determined.
√ Build a policy to manage the app within the enterprise – Organizations need to monitor what applications their employees are installing and removing from their devices. They need to provide standard applications and configurations so that employees can derive maximum benefit out of their mobile devices. Mobile application management (MAM) can be used by organizations on mobile devices for monitoring.
√ Application security – Developers need to design applications in such a way that users’ information is protected. This is important especially for finance and healthcare industries. Password enforcement, data encryption, virus protection are all means to this end. Specific rules of usage for each device and user type needs to be formulated and implemented for a robust security.
√ Plan wisely – The biggest cause of app failure is a lack of planning. Planning includes rigorous user testing at scale and across multiple platforms to ensure success of the application. Equal importance has to be given to the front end interface as well as the backend design. There should be smooth collaboration between these two ends to ensure a painless user experience and ensure that users come back to the application time and again.
√ Get a good mobility partner – Mobility partner should provide a full spectrum of mobile technologies and services to take your initiative t maturity level. They should be able to meet your specific requirements and business objectives simultaneously. Do not make multiple partners for fulfilling your different requirements. Opt for a single partner which can fulfill all your needs. This will not only ensure streamlined development but also ensure you don’t overstep your budget.
√ Don’t skimp on design and don’t forget the lifetime maintenance costs – Invest wisely but do not skimp on design cost as good application design will ensure good user experience which will reap long-term benefits. So make sure to include optimizations, updates, additions and ongoing maintenance to overall cost.
Indeed if all these rules are followed than companies can develop an effective enterprise application.