There are always two sides in every business, market, or industry — the provider and the consumer. Without the other, one cannot exist, and we don’t even want to start speculating who came first. The interesting thing is that today’s service and product providers across industries are common IT consumers themselves — the clients in need of proper enterprise solutions.
Enterprise software is the backbone of digitized workflows and experiences managed and delivered by all sorts of companies, businesses, and facilities. It sets modern providers’ operations in motion, which puts it apart from traditional software solutions for general use. How exactly? Let’s dig into the topic of enterprise software development to figure it out.
Before you proceed, you might be interested to learn more about our enterprise software development services.
What is an enterprise software product?
Why do we need enterprise software? We use it to complete many jobs — from simple means of communication and file sharing to daily management, tasking, and administration. But all of these tasks have one thing in common — they are focused on enabling, supporting, and optimizing workflows in companies and corporations, agencies and offices, manufacturing facilities and hospitals, you name it. We are talking about any type of enterprise that needs to collaborate efficiently between employees.
Digital enterprise solutions are the firm part of any up-to-date business or public/private establishment. These make specialists’ lives easier in the following way:
- automating a range of tasks (from data gathering to task tracking, reporting, etc.);
- putting all the important work stuff in one place (centralized management);
- keeping a much better track record of the overall performance (via tasking and analytics tools, overviews and statistics, etc.).
The difference between enterprise software development and regular software development
Business software development is essentially different from creating regular solutions because it needs to offer a number of extra features and specialized tools destined especially for corporate and facility workflows. It may include tons of things that only a respective employee can use. See, the main difference here is the end consumers:
- An organization is the end consumer of an enterprise software product.
- An individual user is the end consumer of a general-use software.
These two different categories of software are aimed at different ultimate goals and tailored to absolutely dissimilar environments to be used in. And that reflects in their development philosophies and methods, as well. For one thing, whereas common-purpose apps and programs are usually made as a single wholesome solution, enterprise products are always open-ended (for integrations, connections, etc.). But let’s take a more detailed look.
|Aspects that differ||Normal software||Enterprise software|
|Architecture||Your regular messenger or fitness tracking apps’ architecture can be simple and universal, even templated in many common cases. You have your basic functionality (usually focused on one certain goal, e.g., transfer messages or track sports progress), maybe some extended functionality or privileges that come at a premium (e.g., more in-depth tools or removed ads), and basic social media integrations (e.g., Facebook and Instagram buttons for fast sign-up and content sharing). Such software can be lightweight and mass-produced for the broadest target audiences of users.||Enterprise products are usually more multi-faceted and require a more fragmented and extendable structure that can be efficiently integrated and interconnected with a range of tools and systems already used by an enterprise. At the same time, the architecture here must be scalable to modernize and optimize it in accordance with growing in-house capacities and needs (staff expansion, merging with other branches, etc.). Business apps, tools, and systems are usually designed for a specific line of operations and are mostly custom solutions, making them more complex and resource-intensive to develop.|
|Security||The extent of security measures is dictated by how much sensitive user information the app collects. But it usually doesn’t go beyond two-factor authentication for the prevention of unauthorized access, some captcha to make sure you are no bot, and occasional suspicious activity alerts (which is commonly more than enough for general-purpose apps).||A data leak or system breach allowed by an enterprise app is a huge risk that may potentially tear down the whole organization. That is why such solutions must get more attention cybersecurity-wise, getting equipped with multi-layered (sometimes smart) protection mechanisms, user roles for segmented data access, limited user sessions with time-outs that prevent automated bot attacks, powerful firewalls, and even blockchain and cloud solutions for data decentralization and remote storing.|
|Performance||Depending on the particular type of app, performance requirements may vary significantly. Most commonly, though, a regular software solution is optimized for the specific operating environment – its target platform. Either two-three separate versions of the app may be created to fit today’s main platforms or a cross-platform solution that works across them all at once. The development and optimization guidelines here are universal and well-explored by the community.||A common requirement for enterprise apps is equally smooth performance across multiple platforms and devices so that employees could flexibly use it, getting access to important work information and communication at all times. This usually means that a specialized software solution must be readily available for use on iPhones and iPads, Android devices, Windows desktops and tablets, as well as in mobile and desktop browsers. This makes performance optimization more complex and pinpointed.|
|Format||The general format of a common-purpose software solution may also range widely (from sports and health care to readers, games, social apps, etc.), but that’s only on the secondary level. First and foremost, these are applications familiar and accessible to the mass user audience. People of almost all ages know how to download and install them.||CRM, ERP, PaaS, IaaS, SaaS — apart from traditionally-looking apps, enterprises often require whole specialized systems and platforms for managing various workflows, storing and classifying sensitive information, and providing innovative automated opportunities for different lines of work. This, again, means a more complex approach to enterprise software design and development.|
|Costs||Today, you don’t even have to possess a single programmer’s skill in order to build and launch an app of some sort. There are tons of templated editors and tools that allow you to drag and drop the required elements within an easily customized interface. And you can even do that absolutely free of charge. Yes, surely, market-defining, premium quality solutions will require respective funds to create, especially if they are targeted at commercial distribution.||Enterprise software, especially if it is custom, calls for substantial investments to cover a range of services, efforts, and tasks. To this, organizations usually dedicate a separate pool of costs that are calculated based on a number of development team collaboration specifics and underlying factors (such as the time it takes to create a solution, required expertise and tools, type of a team working on it, the complexity of architecture, etc.).|
As you can see, there are essential differences all across the board, which mostly concern the scope of work, responsibility, and resources required to build the two types of software in the discussion.
Although the situation may change from instance to instance, regular apps are mostly easier and cheaper to build, they may tackle a range of everyday, entertainment, or even commercial purposes, and they don’t pose the strictest security and performance requirements.
On the flip side, enterprise solutions are usually custom (or customized) complex software architectures with a heavy focus on corporate organizational tasks that must demonstrate high performance and firm cybersecurity protection, calling for more development effort and higher costs.
Enterprise software development examples
Common enterprise software examples may take on a variety of shapes and sizes depending on which business organization aspects they are dedicated to. A business or establishment can streamline management, marketing, customer relations, etc., with the help of big all-in-one systems or a bunch of interconnected solutions that form a system of their own (which expands according to the business capacities in hand).
Let’s review five instances of solutions that most businesses employ today.
Project management and tasking
Monitoring workflow performance and tracking individual results across employees, departments, and branches is an enormously responsible, difficult task. Getting a big picture of it all and analyzing enterprise aspects throughout is impossible without proper tools.
Specialized project management and tasking solutions help centralize all the management routine, segment tasks, autonomously register all the work set to do, in process, and done. Such solutions usually have tracking and reporting features that make every PMs’ life so much easier.
Prominent, commonly used real-life examples are as follows:
- Zoho Projects — a well-tried-and-tested platform with dozens of management and performance analytics tools for efficient tasking gathered in one place, part of a bigger Zoho CRM system;
- Trello — a convenient project management system with an easy-to-grasp interface based on visualized boards;
- Teamwork — a platform for task planning and management with hassle-free drag-and-drop functionality.
CRMs or Customer Relationship Management systems put the commercial organization and planning, constantly acquired customer data, customer communication, upsell/cross-sell, and other marketing opportunities all in one place.
This type of enterprise software is essentially an all-around equipped contact list that automates lots of customer interactions that a human specialist would otherwise have to handle manually only to get swamped with the unnecessary routine and seriously underperform.
Some of the most widely used CRM solutions today are the following:
- Salesforce — an enormously popular CRM that offers advanced opportunities such as cloud storage connection and constantly expands the functionality;
- Oracle — one of the most advanced managed databases out there that streamline data acquisition, tracking, and management for organizations of all sizes;
- Zoho — an extensive CRM platform that helps businesses efficiently scale by involving more offered tools and opportunities in growing workflows.
Enterprise Resource Planning systems, or ERPs for short, help tie up all the internal stuff enterprises need to run and manage. That may include accounting, supply chain management, risk compliance, procurement, inventory, etc.
ERPs are usually integrated with bigger CRM systems and management dashboards to achieve thorough, transparent workflows both internally and externally.
Today’s market’s best ERP examples are as follows:
- SAP — a complex ERP platform with in-depth, insightful analytics delivered via a range of advanced tools and features;
- Oracle NetSuite — an enterprise-boosting suite of tools for in-house management by Oracle;
- Sage Business Cloud — a prominent system that’s tied around a flexible client-dedicated cloud environment.
Business Intelligence platforms make data gathering and analytics a separate item of focus, providing an in-depth grasp on all the business data and analytical insights that may show organizations the most efficient decision-making directions.
And rightly so, as data is the cornerstone of and the most valuable resource for any type of business today.
Some of the prominent market examples include the following software products:
- Microsoft Power BI — a proven and loved for its extensive functionality desktop tool for visualizing and analyzing data;
- Domo — a cloud-powered suite of data analytics dashboards and accessible tools;
- MicroStrategy — an enterprise BI platform that works equally well across industries, digitizing workflows throughout.
Lastly, there’s marketing, which is an essential driver of any business following all the internal management, communication, and interaction aspects. Keeping up with today’s market pace is impossible without automating marketing routines.
Marketing automation tools help boost tasks from lead data gathering and email marketing newsletter to sales alignment, conversion rates analysis and reporting.
Here are the top marketing automation solutions available today:
- Marketo — offers extensive opportunities for boosting sales through email campaign management and more;
- Hubspot — a proven tool for the creation of efficient automated marketing campaigns;
- Pardot — packs a range of marketing opportunities, from smart lead generation to customized cloud account engagement.
Types of enterprise software development
While enterprise software development can target any existing device and operating system, mobile and web solutions are in favor here. Desktop applications simply cannot provide the required flexibility for employees who need to be ready to work remotely, make important business decisions on the go, and have constant access to important data. As a common solution to that requirements, bigger desktop systems usually get connected to mobile and web versions.
Creating a mobile app for enterprise purposes is a great convenience booster for employees, allowing them to stay in tune with the work situation at all times. Instant communication, file sharing, and workplace check-up are usually the main goals targeted by such apps.
It is important to consider that you can hardly stuff a mobile app with a full-blown CRM functionality. This is why it should serve more as an assisting tool rather than the main business organization hub. Leave that to a web-based solution as an option.
Everybody has a browser and knows how to use it, which makes it a great, readily accessible environment for digitized workflows. Setting up and managing whole digital offices in browsers has become a well-tried, widespread practice, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic hit remote working conditions requirements worldwide. Many enterprises’ main workflows and even headquarters are centralized in Jira, Slack, or similar digital workplaces today.
Enterprise software development tools
Enterprise software development life cycle is quite effort-consuming. It requires proper tools, expertise to wield them, and a phased approach. Essential development stages may vary from project to project, but the basic stages and respective requirements to lay a sturdy digital product foundation remain the same. – Let’s take a look at each of those below. But first, let’s figure out the main project roles that should be involved in the process:
- Project Manager — first and foremost, somebody has to keep the project on schedule, manage milestones and deliverables, and coordinate the development progress.
- Business Analyst — a specialist who helps point out the main business aspects to be addressed, translate needs and goals into features and organize business intelligence.
- System Architect — a specialist with the in-depth knowledge of digital structures to design the product architecture and infrastructure, and watch over integration possibilities.
- UI/UX Designers — designers responsible for the research, creation, and implementation of user interface and user experience that are major software aspects.
- Backend and Frontend Developers — software engineers who work on the development of internal (backend) code structures and user interface functionality.
- QA engineers — quality assurance professionals who ensure the designed and developed architecture is smooth and as error-free as possible via a range of tests and debugging tasks.
- DevOps Engineer — a dedicated DevOps specialist who aligns the actual process of implementing development tasks, bridging the gap between management and technical production.
These specialists need enterprise software development tools to wield in order to implement project phases and build the solution, which forms a project tech stack. It may vary a lot as well, but while such frameworks for complex software development as .NET, Ruby on Rails, and Flutter are interchangeable choices, there are “golden standards” in the field to make your life easier, like:
- Express as a web framework;
- Node.js as a runtime environment.
- HTML/CSS for markup and styling;
- Angular.js or React as a web framework.
These are similar common tech stacks that differ only in terms of the core web framework technology – one has Angular.js and the other React. This slight difference may help software engineers achieve different styles of development life cycles in different conditions. But the final choice is usually made by the specialists themselves after detailed project discovery.
This basic tech stack should be enough. Of course, a number of other tools will be required as well, but that is dictated particularly by the format of application in work and specialists working on it.
Enterprise software development stages
Now, let’s review the key stages of enterprise software development.
First off, the underlying organization goals and needs are analyzed, requirements are gathered and structured (all stakeholders must be involved at this stage), and the big picture of the project is elaborated. A Project Manager (PM) and a Business Analyst (BA) are the specialists most actively involved in this phase.
Estimation and planning
The project roadmap must be outlined, indicating all the goals, deadlines, scope of budget, scope of tasks, and other important aspects. At this stage, a PM, a BA, and a Project Owner (and/or stakeholders) continue to join forces, researching the market environment, competitive solutions, and underlying project aspects. These efforts often result in an early MVP version of the future product.
Based on the roadmap and all the gathered outlines, the System Architect starts creating the software architecture. Taking on the end user’s perspective is the main guideline here — it’s the ultimate way to achieve usability. Prototyping is what usually helps get this done.
The most technically complex part is when developers start filling up the “architecture carcass” with functional “meat” — features and elements that set things in motion. A backend developer is first to contribute, implementing the internal functionality, including usability logic, APIs, databases, server functionality, and other fundamental parts.
This is the stage where quality assurance specialists come into play, implementing functional, load, unit, performance, security, and compatibility testing. This is an integral part of the development project, during which the product is polished out and well-prepared for the final release. Repeated bug fixing iterations, combined automated and manual testing take place to make sure everything is exactly in its place.
Deployment, launch, and support
Proper deployment of the product is also very important. If it is a mobile application, it must be properly uploaded into the compatible marketplace. If it is a web solution, it must be fine-tuned to run across different browsers. Once the solution is launched into use, further support is also required to polish and improve the product further based on the real user experience and feedback.
What is the cost of enterprise software development?
The final cost of development is the most difficult question to clarify that depends on a myriad of underlying factors and specifics, including the scope of work, architecture complexity, presence of advanced features, tech stack, size of the team, etc.
Add the conditions of collaboration with a hired development team on top of that, and you’ll get a rough estimation. The development process may shift and change forms after the project kick-off, making budgeting all the more difficult to handle.
So, instead of giving you the roughest statistical estimation of $75,000-$750,000, we would recommend contacting a professional agency for a consultation and approximate estimation based on some particular ideation and project outline.
DICEUS expertise in enterprise software development
At DICEUS, we possess years of enterprise software creation experience, delivering projects of various formats, complexity, and applicability for startups, SMEs, and big-size businesses, facilities, and organizations across different industries and niches. We can help you with the tasks below:
- elaborate on your enterprise solution idea;
- consult you on the major aspects of the future solution;
- point you in the most up-to-date, result-yielding direction;
- help outline the approximate budget;
- gather project requirements during a discovery phase;
- develop the solution’s infrastructure and architecture;
- work on prototyping and project development;
- do lots of other custom development jobs like system integration, modernization, optimization, etc.
We’ll be glad to discuss your up-and-coming project at any time.
Developing and launching a new enterprise software development solution is a task to reckon with, but the result is a tailored workflow that provides convenience in all the right places. A custom system is the digital reflection of the enterprise — its workflow philosophy, brand attributes, and style of collaboration. Another good thing to know here is that such systems are always in demand. Just make sure that only experienced professionals take on the creation of one.
What is enterprise software development?
Enterprise software development enables the creation of tools, applications, and systems dedicated to the needs of an organization. It helps digitize workflows, which facilitates a lot of work and brings tons of other benefits like centralized communication, automated collaboration, convenient management, monitoring, and reporting.
What is enterprise software development technology?