Enterprise Software has not always been as popular and sought-after as it is right now. For decades, it has been associated with large enterprises and organizations that many people conventionally deem slow and bureaucratic.
However, unlike older software, enterprise solutions built in recent years now focus on functionality, ease, relevance, and scalability. This explains the significant rise in demand for quality enterprise app development over the past few years.
If you are considering building an enterprise app for your organization, you are in for a big task. In this article, we are going to share our expert insights to help you dodge the common pitfalls in enterprise mobile app development and get it right the first time.
In case you find the process overwhelming, fear not. At Appvales we have a remarkable track of building, designing, testing, and deploying complex software solutions and enterprise mobile apps are no exception. We can collaborate with your product team through our dedicated engineers or handle end-to-end product development for your entire project.
Back to the brass tacks, read on to explore enterprise mobile app development in-depth.
Table of Contents
Before we discuss what is business application development, here is data to prove that investing in a business or enterprise application would be a profitable move for your company.
- Market revenues from enterprise software doubled in the decade between 2009 and 2019.
- 66% of organizations are expected to increase investment in mobile apps in the next three years.
- By March 2020, global downloads of business apps increased by 90%.
- Mobile enterprise application market size is expected to grow from USD 48.24 Billion in 2016 to USD 98.03 Billion by 2021, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15.24% (MarketsandMarkets)
What is Enterprise Application Development?
For context, enterprise applications are large-scale mobile-based software built for use in a corporate environment. They are usually complex and scalable software built to boost an organization’s productivity through automation. Enterprise apps are ideal for customer relationship management, content management, payroll management, human resource management, etc.
So, what is enterprise application development?
Enterprise application development is the process of designing a custom mobile-based software that aids the daily activities of a business. They also create a user-oriented experience so customers, employees, and partners can engage efficiently with each other.
Custom enterprise application development is different from standard mobile app development. The differences exist in:
- Internal architecture:
The internal architecture for enterprise level applications is considered more deeply than standard mobile apps. The reason being, enterprise applications are designed to meet the needs of organizations compared to standard apps built with single users in mind.
Considering they are meant for multiple users performing different functions simultaneously, the software architecture of enterprise applications has to be built for speed, scalability, and multiple data flows to take this colossal workload.
Enterprise-level applications go through an intensive auditing process before deployment because they contain sensitive organizational information that would need to be analyzed.
Therefore, the software must be carefully audited to confirm that it can carry out these business-specific duties efficiently and without error.
Enterprise application platforms also need a higher level of end-to-end encryption and security protocols due to the large amount of user data they host.
What is the Most Important Benefit of an Enterprise Application?
Enterprise applications have multiple benefits. The most important is most likely how it boosts organizational efficiency. Other benefits of enterprise application include:
- Process Automation:
Integrating enterprise applications into an organization can streamline the day-to-day processes and reduce the need for human intervention.
A great example of process automation is the use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.
CRM software is enterprise software that manages client information and ensures customers have a satisfactory experience. The software stores customer details and tracks their interactions with the company to personalize and optimize the company’s relationship with its customers.
With CRM software, companies can create email marketing campaigns using the data stored in the application.
CRM software can help your team run an email campaign focused on each customer instead of addressing a general audience. Without CRM software, this process would be almost impossible due to the massive amount of customer data your team would have to go through.
The CRM automation feature saves time and energy. It also ensures a personalized customer experience which will lead to more profits and satisfied customers.
- Enhanced Agility:
Thanks to the massive amounts of consumer data consistently received across enterprise applications, a company can quickly adapt to changes in customer expectations.
Enhanced agility enables businesses to get accustomed to shifts in market trends, disruptions in the supply chain, and other changes that would affect the business.
- Better Communication:
Enterprise apps boost the flow of information within the company and also from third-party sources. Custom enterprise applications aid in the communication between shareholders by data integration from different applications and users. That way, there is a single data source for both customers and employees.
Furthermore, enterprise applications allow for collaborations between departments because of the readily accessible data.
- Increased insight into the business:
Enterprise app platforms can analyze data and provide information that can significantly value the organization’s workforce. In addition, the data can provide insight into the organization’s processes. That way, they can easily catch redundant tasks or those that need attention.
What are the Challenges of Enterprise Application Development?
During enterprise app development, the software team encounters challenges such as:
Security is one of the primary problems enterprise app development teams face during app development. Since software development involves the use of sensitive client and organization information, the process is prone to security breaches and cyber-attacks which can cripple a business or lead to multiple lawsuits.
As a result, software teams have to ensure that they take the necessary precautions to prevent hackers and unauthorized persons from accessing the data. Extensive testing and auditing have to be done before the enterprise mobile application is launched.
Other ways an enterprise app development company can protect company data is through:
- Mobile app encryption
- App maintenance and support
- Preventing mobile app impersonation
- Appropriate Resources and Slow Development of Technology Solutions
Most of the time, finding the ideal software team and the right resources to develop an enterprise application can be challenging. In some situations, the best team might be in a different country, giving rise to communication and collaboration issues.
Enterprise application development can also be a long, tedious process as compared to normal app development. This is because most regular mobile apps can be developed using low code app solutions. This solution enables software designers to build apps from reusable components. Hence, they can quickly be made with a “drag and drop” methodology.
However, enterprise apps are usually built from scratch because of security reasons. It could also be because they are made for specific business functions. Since they are built from the ground up, the enterprise application development process is usually longer than average.
- Device Fragmentation
This problem arises because different devices use varying operating systems, such as iOS, Android, and Windows. To successfully deploy a practical application, your enterprise app development team has to customize it for these different operating systems.
- Integrating with Back-End Resources:
Another challenge that arises can be the integration of front-end to back-end resources. Since enterprise applications are primarily to help business processes, designers can sometimes neglect the front-end aspect.
However, employees using enterprise applications are now concerned with their user experience. So, an enterprise software developer needs to ensure the back-end and front-end architectures work seamlessly.
Types of Enterprise Mobile Apps
- Marketing automation
- Automated billing systems
- Payment processing
- Messaging and collaboration systems
- Call centre and customer support
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Email marketing systems
- Enterprise application integration (EAI)
- Business intelligence
- Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
- Enterprise search
- Content management
- Project management tools
- HR management
A Modern Approach to Enterprise Mobile Application Development
Enterprise mobile application development is a good move that can make all the difference for a company. As such, the approach taken when designing the enterprise app development platform is vital.
Your team must use an approach that embraces innovation so your company can stay ahead of competitors. This approach is as follows:
- Enterprise Design Thinking
IBM developed this framework, and it is a perfect methodology for mobile app development. This framework combines traditional design techniques with innovative design elements. The conventional techniques include personas, hypothesis-driven design, wireframe sketches, empathy maps, design ideation, to-be scenarios, as-is scenarios, and minimum viable product (MVP) definition.
The innovative elements are hills, playbacks, and sponsor users.
- Hills: These are concerned with user needs and desires. This design component requires that emphasis is placed on user-centric market outcome, not feature requests. Hills focus the enterprise development on measurable, desired results. For every app development project, release hill objectives and one technical objective should be defined.
- Playbacks: These focus on feedback and iteration. Playbacks are a necessary component that will make sure your team keeps the established hill objectives in mind. Playbacks help your team to keep the focus on user outcomes constantly.
- Sponsor Users: These are real people selected from your enterprise app’s user group. Working with them during the development means your team doesn’t need to make assumptions concerning user needs. Instead, they can get user feedback concerning the app in real-time from real people.
Using Enterprise Design Thinking can generate ideas, design, evaluate, test, and develop code faster. Most importantly, you can deliver value to your customers more quickly.
- Design for mobile, and think cross-platform
Every mobile app has a step-by-step design process. It is not the same as web-based software as there are vital factors such as operating systems that are considered in mobile-based applications, unlike their web-based counterparts.
The design process of your mobile enterprise application should follow these steps:
- Strategy: Every design starts with this. Here, the mobile app builder defines the idea behind the app. Then they decide on a goal that would be the app’s core function and map out a path to achieving that goal.
In this stage, you will be concerned with:
- Defining the app audience/users.
- Research extensively on the competition and their apps.
- Draw up goals and objectives
- Select a suitable mobile platform for your app, either iOS, Android, or Windows. You could also decide to build the apps for multiple platforms.
- Analysis and Planning: This process defines use cases and makes the app’s functional requirements evident.
In this stage of design, you are expected to:
- Define your minimum viable product
- Develop a product roadmap
- Identify the skills necessary for your app development
- Research on the name of your app
- UI/UX Design: User experience is an integral aspect of app development and design. The goal of every mobile app is to be intuitive, easy-to-use, and interactive. There are certain aspects of design that the enterprise app development team must develop at this stage:
- Information Architecture and Workflows: Workflow diagrams contain information on the data your app will display and collect from users. For enterprise application development, users perform various functions simultaneously, which is why you should draw the workflows for all interactions.
- Wireframes: These are conceptual layouts that give you an idea of the visual structure of your app.
- Style guide: Here, the designer has to ensure that features such as fonts, icons, etc. stay true to the brand.
- Mockups: The style guide is applied to the wireframe.
- Prototype: With tools like Figma, you can convert your mockups into click-through prototypes. This simulates the user experience and allows for modifications.
- App Development: This is where the actual app building occurs. During app development, the back-end/server of the app is designed and linked to the front end with an API.
Choosing the mobile cross-platform approach is also beneficial for reasons like the uniformity of design across operating systems, simplicity, and shorter app release duration.
- Test Everything
After app development, the next step is to ensure quality assurance.
- Why Is Quality Essential?
For every app, quality is a necessity, and particularly for enterprise mobile applications. Enterprise apps are built to streamline business processes and the success of the company partly depends on their quality.
Thus, there is a need to ensure that the application will function effectively even with a massive daily workload. Apart from performance, the development team must also thoroughly test security, accessibility, and device compatibility.
- When Should Quality Be in Focus?
From the onset of design, quality should be in focus. During the first stage of enterprise thinking, the app’s quality would be a significant point of consideration. And throughout the design process, the enterprise app development team should constantly keep quality in mind to ensure they design an app that provides value and solutions efficiently.
- What Is the Cost of Quality?
When focusing on the quality of enterprise business apps, your team might have to place certain features above others. Some of those features are:
- Function: With enterprise apps, developers prioritize function over form because the software is primarily used to improve business functionality..
- Flexibility: Your app should be easy to customize for every unique user. Flexibility also involves the scalability of your enterprise application. Thus you need to ensure that your API system is robust enough to adjust to changes in the business environment.
- Security: Security is given maximum priority in enterprise apps because of the sensitive daily data transfers.
- Automated versus Manual Testing
During testing, you can choose to automate or handle it manually. As much as there seem to be more pros to automated testing, manual testing is still essential in mobile app development.
Manual testing is best when:
- There is a significant focus on an effective user interface.
- Real user experiences are a priority.
- The app cannot afford to have app crashes and bugs during use.
- The app is being developed for complex use-case scenarios
The reasons above are why you cannot skip manual testing in enterprise app development. It is best to start with automatic testing, after which a manual test will still be done.
- Preproduction versus Postrelease
Post-release testing is when an app is still tested extensively after going live on an app store.
Post-release testing is a great way to gauge the overall effectiveness and functionality of the application as development teams test the app’s quality in a live scenario and not in simulations.
However, for enterprise application development, the majority of the tests should be done pre-production. Security issues being one of the serious risks of enterprise applications, it is best to ensure that it is secure before launch. Also, an enterprise app cannot afford glitches after going live as it can significantly impact business processes.
- Leverage cloud and microservices:
Microservices and cloud computing are two new technologies that are being used in mobile app development.
Microservices architecture is an approach to app development where a developer designs and deploys the different components of an app separately. Then these components are combined to create the desired application software. APIs act as the bridges connecting all of the fully-fledged smaller parts of the app.
Also, instead of hosting their program data on the mobile’s server, software designers choose cloud-based servers.
The benefits of leveraging cloud and microservices include:
- Microservices are ideal for large-scale apps that consist of multiple small-unit components that should function independently and in cohesion.
- Enterprise app builders are advised to leverage a cross-platform approach because of the wide use of the app by different individuals in a business. The cloud’s massive storage space and data processing abilities would save developers the additional time and tools needed for cross-platform app development.
- Implement DevOps and CI/CD
DevOps in mobile app development is concerned with the continuous collaboration of all the key contributors in developing a mobile app. It is usually implemented with a CI/CD tool.
CI/CD stands for Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment or Delivery. It is a tool that enables development teams to deliver changes to a software’s code reliably, automatically, and more frequently.
More than an approach, DevOps is a culture that aims to bridge the gap between the development and operation teams involved in app development. This goes a long way in improving efficiency and speed during the enterprise app development process.
DevOps Best Practices include:
- Plan and Track Everything,
- Dashboard Everything.
- Version Everything,
- Automate Everything,
- Test Everything,
- Monitor Everything
Mobile DevOps Challenges:
- Fragmented Platforms,
- Code signing,
- Mobile Apps fronting a complicated enterprise back office,
- Security issues,
- App Stores adding an extra out-of-sync deployment step,
Mobile DevOps Best Practices:
- Practice CI/CD and automate builds and deliveries,
- Test every build,
- Simulate back-end services to Increase testing environment availability,
- Centralize governance of provisioning profiles, certificates, and API keys,
- Use a private app store to test deployment devices,
- Keep track of the deployed application and back-end server performance,
- Convert real user feedback to enhancements.
Example of Enterprise Mobile App Architecture
The architecture for an enterprise application has to be designed to match the needs of the business. It has to take the organizational goals, vision, future growth, etc., into consideration.
A typical example of this architecture is this one by IBM.
Enterprise Mobile Apps Examples
Listed below are some enterprise apps examples.
- Microsoft Office 365
- Google Suite
- Cisco Meraki
- Amazon Web Services
Hire our Enterprise App Development Team
In these innovative times, an organization without a custom enterprise mobile application stands to lose time and money in the long run. Opting for standard mobile applications might be cost-effective for a small business, but only for a short time. As the company expands, you will find that an app streamlined for the business’s functions would go a long way to boost productivity and speed.
Appvales offers enterprise app development services to companies interested in keeping up with the market trends and competition. We understand the complexities that surround the development of business apps, which is enough reason why our expert enterprise app development team can deliver scalable, intuitive, and secure apps within a reasonable period.
Contact us for more inquiries.