Enterprise-grade software, or apps, have progressed to a point where nearly all organizations and businesses depend on it to stay competitive in the marketplace. It doesn’t matter if you’re a non-profit that needs to keep track of donors or an auto dealership looking for better inventory management. Mobile enterprise apps offer an unprecedented amount of flexibility and functionality for companies.
This post will explore key areas to consider in the enterprise software design and development process.
When developing enterprise software, understanding your needs is essential, as this will ensure a viable and beneficial solution for your company.
We’ll be using a hypothetical app example from the perspective of an enterprise client to help illustrate key points.
If you haven’t already, consider answering the following questions before doing further research:
Thoroughly vetting these questions upfront will help your company with the process of choosing the right software development company. With a complete understanding of what your project entails and your end needs, experienced developers will be able to add insight and help identify alternative solutions to enhance your project.
Company Needs & Capabilities
Imagine you’re a regional wholesale food distributor.
Your company wants to create an app that allows its customers to interface directly with their sales team, process orders, and track the status of previous orders. Having noticed many competitors in the market starting to adopt custom software to handle similar situations, your company is looking to develop a competitive app that will give their customers unique and enhanced functions to simplify their day-to-day tasks.
Knowing your company doesn’t have the in-house capabilities to take on such a project, you’ve determined the most viable solution is to outsource the project. Outsourcing a project can provide many benefits to a company when working with the right partner. When considering your options, look for the following qualities in the development company:
There are many approaches that companies take when it comes to software development. Researching and knowing the benefits of each method and how they relate to your project plays a crucial role in understanding cost estimates and the working relationship.
Development models can include but are not limited to lean development, scrum development, or agile software development.
In this case, your company has assigned a dedicated in-house project manager or VP responsible for overseeing the development project. They are required to report status updates to other key individuals.
We design software to reduce the effort of maintenance, but the whole reason we expend effort or make software in the first place is to help people. So it’s okay to spend more effort to help more people. Design is just about removing unnecessary barriers to helping people.
– Max Kanat-Alexander, Author of Code Simplicity
Looking at developers running an agile development approach would allow your company to develop the app in iterations with weekly or monthly updates based on pre-determined milestones.
The agile approach would allow for detailed updates throughout the process and the opportunity for feedback as needed along the way. It also allows the in-house manager to present frequent updates to other individuals within the company on a regular basis.
UI/UX design documentation is one of the most important steps in the app development process. Your company has decided that the user interface doesn’t need to be a flashy affair, forgoing transition animations and extensive art resources. Instead, you’re opting for a straightforward interface that emphasizes efficiency while being easy to use for customers and employees.
Even with a simple design, take the time to put together user flows and wireframes illustrating the key functions of the app. Prepare this before speaking with outside developers. This allows you to discuss the important functions and find alternative solutions based on the UI/UX documentation.
Having the document outlined also allows for a more accurate estimating process. This way, both you and the developer are on the same page on what costs are in relation to app functions. A timeline for development deliverables will also become clear.
There are a variety of platform options including iOS and Android, and web. Assessing what platform will meet your project needs plays an essential role in your app’s success. Look at crucial platform attributes like:
For our example purposes, let’s assume that your Food Distribution company wants to enable its employees and customers to run the app on their iOS devices. Developing for iOS, the company can leverage Apple’s automation process to streamline repeat behaviors and enhance connectivity and security.
Writing native software for iOS hardware allows the app to access the device’s hardware at a low level, expanding its functionality. iOS also provides unique capabilities for scalability. This will help create greater integration across the companies’ entire digital ecosystem.
As such, an app developed for iOS will be available as needed and become a functional and accessible component of an employees’ toolkit across multiple iOS devices.
Native apps also run more efficiently and faster than their hybrid and web-based counterparts. Utilizing the Swift programming language, native iOS development allows the app to access core components of the hardware and software for enhanced functions, security, and performance. In the end, this will provide a robust piece of software that can continue to grow after initial development ends.
One function that the companies’ end-users and clients frequently request is a way to integrate their hardware, like smart-device barcode scanners into the ordering process.
Integrating this into the app will allow their customers and employees to scan barcodes to query an inventory count or order more of a particular product SKU through the Smart-device scanners. To do this, the app will need to integrate directly with smart-device scanner hardware and allow it to interact and transfer data within the application and databases. There will also be additional information needed to account for various product manufacturers, SKU’s, and unique barcodes on the back-end of the app.
This functionality, while it seems basic in nature, requires extensive development to allow for the recognition and processing of data within the app.
However, planning for features from the start will allow developers to create a clear roadmap of how to integrate and develop.
When thinking about app development, back-end functionality is often one of the most overlooked components of an app. While the front-end of the product may be what the consumer or end-user interacts with, for most apps (and enterprise apps in particular), there are robust back-end systems designed to manage the app’s core functions.
The key function of your app will be its ability to receive new orders from clients and track orders that are in processing. Thankfully, your company already has the server infrastructure in place to manage the data for the ordering process. However, the ordering process can be slow, data can be segmented, and difficult to manage for sales, fulfillment, and billing.
Having the data in place benefits development, as specialized connectors can be written for the app that will interface directly with your servers. While additional requirements may be needed, having a system in place may help shorten development time, as a back-end system does not need to be built from scratch to support data management.
Because of the extensive planning that went into the design document, the development company can transition smoothly into active development. Through clear milestones and sprint cycles, the client can analyze the progress of the app, as well as give feedback to the development team along the way.
Along the way, rigorous quality assurance (QA) testing ensures the software product has a rock solid foundation.
The final result is released internally or through public App Stores. You’ll have a powerful piece of software that provides you with value and can fundamentally transform the way you do business.
Build an App for Your Business
Designing and implementing a successful enterprise app hinges on creating a detailed plan around your needs and working with knowledgeable, experienced developers. Zco Corporation has reliably delivered high-quality enterprise software to start-ups and Fortune 500 companies alike as a proven leader and innovator in the enterprise app development industry. If you’re exploring creating custom software for your business or organization, contact us today and receive a free consultation and quote. We’re ready to work with you.