The good old days of managing an organisation using pen and paper are long gone. Nowadays, organisations can digitise and automate just about every business process thanks to enterprise software applications, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, marketing tools, and business intelligence systems. In fact, digital business solutions are so popular that the UK enterprise software market is currently worth £27.09 billion.
The main goal of enterprise software solutions is to help organisations streamline their workflows by improving operational speed and efficiency, optimising productivity, cutting costs, and minimising erroneous manual processes. Furthermore, enterprise software tools provide valuable insights that help to inform critical business decisions.
Every organisation — whether a commercial corporation, learning institution, government agency, or non-profit firm — has a unique operational structure. That means every company requires a suite of business software applications fitting its particular workflow models and digital needs. This is where enterprise software development services come in.
Enterprise software development means building software solutions that meet the needs of a specific organisation. The development process involves gathering requirements, translating the requirements into digital functions, modelling the functions into a user interface, coding the software, and finally implementing the finished product.
Read on to learn more about enterprise software development and how it can benefit your business.
Before diving into enterprise software development services, let’s take a step back and look at the software options available to enterprises. There are generally two types of enterprise software applications: custom and off-the-shelf options. Here’s a comparison of the two, highlighting each type’s pros and cons:
This is a software product sold by a vendor or developer to be used as is. Off-the-shelf software is a generic solution designed for the mass market. It comes with standardised features that fit a wide range of use cases. Examples of off-the-shelf enterprise software applications include Microsoft Dynamics, QuickBooks, and SAP ERP.
Custom enterprise software is tailored to your organisation. In this case, you pay an independent developer to build the software from scratch based on your organisation’s unique technical requirements. Unlike off-the-shelf products, custom business software adapts to your company, not the other way around.
Custom software development is a collaborative effort between the client and the developer. Although the developer does all the heavy lifting, both parties work together to ensure the end product fits the purpose. The software is built systematically through a multistage process called the software development life cycle (SDLC). There are several SDLC models, each describing a unique software development methodology. But enterprise software development follows a more or less standardised SDLC approach with six main stages:
The first and arguably most important step involves understanding the software’s purpose. At this preliminary stage, the developer meets with department heads, stakeholders, and other decision-makers (depending on the scope of the software) to discuss the underlying goals, requirements, or issues the new solutions ought to address. The discovery phase seeks answers to the following questions:
The answers to these questions form the basal template for building the enterprise software. They also help the developer team to visualise the task at hand.
This is another collaborative stage, where both parties try to make sense of the data gathered during the discovery phase. The goal here is to draw up a project roadmap based on the proposed system requirements and constraints. After evaluating the feasibility of the project, the developer drafts a plan of action detailing the project’s scheduling, deliverables, estimated costs, and operational requirements. This plan may also include the developer’s expert recommendations on the way forward.
As the client, you can adjust the plans to fit your goals. However, you and the developer must agree on a practical software development plan that clearly describes each party’s responsibilities and expectations before any work can commence. This mutual understanding forms the basis of the software development contract.
Work on the custom software begins with designing the system’s look and feel. The user interface and user experience designers incorporate system functions into a front-facing interface that caters to the users’ needs and operating environments. UI/UX design involves merging visual elements, interactive features, and functional operations to make an intuitive and easy-to-use software application.
These designs may undergo several prototypes and iterations as the designers try out various navigation trees, aesthetics, and ergonomics.
Development is the most technical phase of the software life cycle. This is where the design frameworks and system requirements come together to form a functional and usable software application. Front-end and back-end developers work hand in hand to integrate the various features and elements into a complete system.
Once the software is built, it is tested exhaustively to check for bugs and whether it meets the functional, performance, compatibility, and security expectations. The product goes through several rounds of rigorous tests in order to evaluate every aspect of the software. Developers can then tweak the application accordingly based on the test results.
This is the final stage in building an enterprise software application. During deployment, the software product is launched and integrated with your business and IT operations. The deployment tasks will depend on the software’s operating environment, dependencies, and impact on the organisation’s workflows. Typical software deployment activities include bringing systems online, importing data, signing up users, and linking any associated third-party systems.
Additionally, the developer may offer helpdesk support, user training, software maintenance, and other post-deployment services as per the contractual agreement
According to a 2022 survey, these are the top five reasons companies implement enterprise software systems:
With that in mind, here’s how using software development services benefits your business:
A bespoke enterprise software solution enhances your organisation’s efficiency in many ways. Most notably, enterprise software speeds up and automates various business processes, minimising costly and slow manual work. This results in highly streamlined workflows, fewer errors, and substantial cost savings.
Enterprise software applications take over mundane and repetitive tasks such as organising data, running calculations, and taking customer orders. In doing so, the digital systems let employees focus on more important tasks. Also, a tailored software solution directly improves productivity by creating communications and collaboration pathways throughout the organisation while supplementing manual labour with digital capabilities.
As the business world grows more tech and data-reliant, IT is becoming an increasingly weighty key performance indicator in all commercial industries. Your digital prowess can easily determine your speed to market, cost and pricing figures, and overall brand dominance. But in order to elevate your brand and stand out through digital capabilities, you’ll need a lot more than generic off-the-shelf software.
An enterprise software system not only organises your information but also opens the exciting possibilities of intelligent data analysis. Today’s world is data-driven, and businesses collect vast amounts of data from countless customer touchpoints. Unfortunately, most of this data goes unutilised. But with the right tools, you can draw actionable market and business insights from every byte of raw information.
Analysing information is no longer an option but a necessity in modern commerce. For instance, nearly all Fortune 1000 companies have invested in data initiatives, and many are seeing measurable returns on their investments.
An enterprise software solution can help your business improve customer service by enhancing service/product delivery. Furthermore, it can promote stronger customer relationships by creating closer and more meaningful engagements. A custom CRM system, for example, is specially built to drive and track customer satisfaction.
Remember, any custom-built enterprise software is only as good as its developer. So, it’s essential to outsource the project to a competent team. On that note, here are ten key factors to consider when choosing enterprise software development services:
A custom enterprise software is a huge and critical IT investment with the potential to transform your business. Such a high-stakes job calls for an undoubtedly capable, trustworthy, and dependable team of experts. So, do your due diligence when hiring an enterprise software developer. Conduct thorough research on the development services available and vet each candidate exhaustively before making your pick. Here’s a list of the general questions you should ask during the vetting process to guide your research:
How much do software development services cost? Well, it’s difficult to say a definitive price for developing a business software solution, given the several pricing elements that come into play. Every custom development project has a unique price tag based on the following factors:
Ensure you have a clear budget and timeline before outsourcing custom software development. That way, you’ll avoid any surprises along the way that could stall or derail the project.
To recap, enterprise software development services enable you to create digital solutions tailor-made to your organisation. Working with the right developer team guarantees a bespoke software product that boosts operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, competitiveness, productivity, and the bottom line.
A custom business software solution is hands down superior to any off-the-shelf alternative. Developing a custom-built system may cost a lot upfront, but it more than pays for itself in the long run through the immense and unparalleled value it brings to your business.
If you are in the market for a robust enterprise software application that meets all your company’s technical demands, look for enterprise software development services to build a bespoke digital solution.
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