Business application development can boost your company performance drastically. A business application is software or a set of programs that provide some business functionality and can be used externally, internally or with other business apps. There are different types of business applications that can be categorized from two perspectives.
Based on their functionality, there are 3 types of business apps:
- B2B applications are used between business partners (e.g. resellers, suppliers etc.) and can be accessed using dedicated lines, for example, Bulk Order Submission web service.
- B2C applications are general applications, mostly web/browser based such as dynamic content websites e.g. customer loyalty apps, e-Commerce apps etc.
- Internal applications are used inside the enterprise such as Internal ERP system, HR system etc.
Taking into account where and how they run, applications can be subdivided into:
- Front-end applications that directly interact with users through Graphic User Interface
- Background applications that are typically background processes
- Services based applications that serve as an integration point for other apps or systems.
When you start your company, you should be doing things that don’t scale, just to test if there is a market demand for your service. When your business starts growing, you need to ensure the efficiency of your operations. That’s where business applications come in handy.
Here are 5 key reasons why your company needs business apps:
- Business apps increase employee productivity and help optimize business processes to improve efficiency.
- Business apps empower field workers allowing them to stay connected to the office and get real-time insights into the process.
- Business apps increase customer engagement and boost sales.
- Business apps that are powered by intuitive analytics tools that help gain actionable insights and make more informed decisions to grow your business.
- Developing business apps has never been easier.
If you are considering business application development for your company, read on to learn about the advantages of ready-made and custom business apps and how to prepare a plan and a team for the development of a business application. We will also give you some useful advice on how to choose a reliable business application development company for your project. Let’s get started.
Business Application Development: Custom vs Off-the-Shelf
Wondering which is better: ready-made business software or a custom business app? The truth is that there’s no single right answer. You need to analyze a number of factors and understand the benefits of each approach because there is a huge gap between these two approaches in terms of functionality, performance, and usability. To help you make an informed choice, we will discuss the advantages of both approaches so keep reading.
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Custom Business Application Development
First, let’s talk about custom-built business apps. Custom-made applications are typically very flexible and can be a good fit for companies with specific requirements. Here is why.
- They are built for specific business processes of a specific company, so you don’t have to adjust your processes to fit the application. You pay for what you need because the functionality and features of custom apps are designed to meet the needs of specific users and the company’s goals.
- Custom software can be modified and updated as your company develops and will give you a competitive advantage. You can make changes whenever you want and don’t have to wait for new releases to add new features and functionality. You can get upgrades done by your business application developers at any time.
- Custom software can be smoothly integrated within the existing IT ecosystem and this is very important for data analytics and developing a data-driven business strategy. You can also perform any integration with other legacy systems or plan the installation of additional systems later on.
- You are not tied by the busy support team of the ready-made system providers.
- The development costs for a tailor-made solution can be high but it pays for itself in the long run so the investment into a custom software solution might even turn out to be less expensive than buying ready-made software.
- Your company’s staff will be involved in the app development process, and thus they will be more willing to accept the new system when it’s launched.
Ready-Made Business Applications
Now let’s discuss the pros and cons of ready-made apps. A ready-made app is something you can buy, install, and start using immediately. You don’t have to wait until your business application is designed, built, tested, and launched. There are a lot of advanced, scalable, and secure solutions on the market that offer a high level of functionality. But off-the-shelf software is targeted at a wide range of consumers so it might not meet your company’s specific needs and you will be forced to alter some of the business processes in your company to take advantage of all its features.
Off-the-shelf apps have regular updates and if you purchase quality software from well-known developers, you may also enjoy flawless customer support. The prices for ready-made applications are lower than for the development of custom apps. But there might be hidden costs such as maintenance and service fees and employee licenses which could have a big impact on your ROI over time. Besides, you should keep in mind that if you choose a ready-made approach, you will be buying a version of the same business application as your competitors so it will be hard to gain a competitive advantage from your investment.
As you can see, custom built software applications offer a number of great benefits over off-the-shelf software. So a custom business application is a better option since it provides flexibility and can be tailored to your needs and it’s not that difficult to create an app if you have business application development experts helping you. Besides, the word “custom” doesn’t necessarily mean “expensive”. Especially if you consider the return on your investment in the long run.
Business Application Development – Getting Prepared
Think it’s time to consider custom-built software for your company to improve efficiency and gain a competitive advantage? Then you need a good plan for business application development and a great team for its implementation to ensure the success of your future project.
Create a Plan
The most common issue with the implementation of a business app is that the end users may find them too difficult to use and encounter problems with integration or reporting. To avoid such problems, you need to focus on creating a detailed plan before the actual development to ensure that your business application is simple but powerful in use. Follow these 5 essential steps to ensure the successful planning of your future project.
1. Gather the necessary information
You can conduct surveys or start with interviews with the key decision-makers and employees to get a better idea of what kind of custom app you actually need to streamline your business process.
2. Suggest the improvements
Use the information you have gathered to get a better understanding of your specific business needs and use a mapping technique to identify the new opportunities to improve the business processes and customer relationships.
3. Define the scope of your app development project
Brainstorm to identify the potential goals that your future business app should be capable of achieving e.g. improve efficiency, increase productivity, leverage big data. Use this set of strategic goals to outline the technical requirements necessary for their implementation. Think about the technology stack, specific development environment, and processes that will be used to complete each task.
4. Build a business plan
You need it to understand the potential return on the investment from your business app development. The average cost to build a custom business app may vary greatly and depends on the complexity, urgency, and customization. When estimating the final price of your development project, you should take into account the following:
- Software development costs
- Approximate number of users
- Ongoing maintenance and support
- Additional training for your employees
Your business case should include the following information:
- Details about resources and required costs
- The duration of the entire project and the time necessary to complete each of the tasks you have outlined
- Options to perform each part of the app development project by your internal team or by external developers
5. Develop the strategy
Develop a cost-effective strategy for rollout of your app’s key features. Prioritize the tasks and estimate how long each phase of your custom business app development project may last.
Gather a Team
When you have developed a detailed plan and a strategy for your project, you need to create a team responsible for its successful implementation. Your team should include people from several departments of your company that perform different functions. Such a team will be able to provide valuable insights to define the information that you should take into account.
You should assign the following key roles.
- Your project team should include representatives from all of your user groups, e.g. managers, field workers, end users, executives, operations staff etc. The project team will be responsible for documenting the business app requirements, promoting the value of the custom app to all its users, creating an ongoing training program for all employees, gathering feedback about the app and suggesting new features and improvements.
- The system administrator will be responsible for setting up your new business application. A good administrator should have a perfect understanding of the business processes in your company in addition to the technology. The system administrator will be responsible for data migration from other systems, integrating the new app with the existing business application systems, creating dashboards and building reports, rolling out new features and upgrades.
- Executives and managers will be responsible for planning your business app implementation, determining report and dashboard requirements, establishing workflow rules etc.
- End users of the new business app should be involved in the implementation process to ensure the successful adoption of the new software. You need to give them an opportunity to provide feedback about the new system and suggest improvements. You should also take measures to provide proper training for all employees so that they will be able to use the new business app efficiently.
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Selecting the Right Business Application Development Company
Custom business application development can give you a competitive advantage because your app evolves along with your business. But you should keep in mind that the quality of your future software depends on the business application development company you hire. No idea how to select the best company? Here are some tips on how you can do it right.
- Don’t choose the cheapest offer but try to find the most cost-effective solution for your business.
- Choose the development partner that possesses expertise in the technology that can be used to develop your business app. Find developers that are ready to suggest something that suits you vs pushing for one solution which they know best.
- Focus on developers who have a proven track of successful projects and good relations with their customers.
- Make sure that the application development company provides support after the implementation is done.
- Choose a partner who will be digging deep into understanding your business problem to help you prioritize the requirements.
- An ideal development partner should be able to understand the business implications of the situation rather than focus on the technology.
- If you are not sure, ask for a free consultation to clear your possible doubts and concerns.
Choose Quandary if you want to have a business application development partner that truly understands your business needs. We can take all the burdens off your shoulders. Our team of business consultants, project managers, and software engineers can run any custom business application development project from initiation until the full acceptance of the new system by your company’s staff. We have years of experience and plenty of customer success stories from around the globe. We can build a flexible business application for your company to get you covered for the years to come. Order your free consultation now to learn how we can help you make your business more efficient.