Enterprise apps have become a core strategy for effectively managing a business and will continue to provide increasing value to companies that understand their benefits. Here’s what you need to know about enterprise apps, including what they are, how they’re built, and how to know when you need one.
What Is an Enterprise App?
An enterprise app is an application used by a business to assist the organization with solving its problems. These apps are designed to integrate or interface with other enterprise apps, and they are known for their reliability, stability, and predictability. These apps are highly adaptable with pre-configured and customizable options, and they can be deployed across multiple networks. Enterprise apps are built for speed and scale and to meet strict security and administration management requirements.
How does this differ from a consumer app? Consumer apps are created to solve consumer problems, while enterprise apps are designed for businesses. Enterprise apps are larger and more complex than individual consumers need. However, some enterprise software like Zoom can be used by individuals, and some consumer apps like Twitter can be used by enterprises.
Types of Enterprise Apps
Enterprise apps are built to help companies support many different areas of their businesses. If a process is consistently used across businesses, there’s a good chance that an enterprise app exists or can be created to assist that process. A short list of the most common kinds of enterprise apps includes:
- Automated billing systems
- Business intelligence
- Call center and customer support
- Content management
- Customer relationship management (CRM) email marketing systems
- Enterprise application integration (EAI)
- Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
- Enterprise search
- HR management
- Marketing automation
- Messaging and collaboration systems
- Payment processing
- Project management tools
Some of these applications may entail cloud computing, where some or all of the support infrastructure is in the cloud. Others may have on-premise systems or even a hybrid version with both.
It’s also important to differentiate between off-the-shelf software and custom software. Sometimes you can find an existing application that will meet your business’s needs. But if existing options aren’t a fit, you’ll want to build a custom app.
When You Need an Enterprise App
Enterprise apps support growing businesses in many ways. One of the biggest advantages of enterprise apps is their ability to improve productivity and efficiency. They help to optimize business processes in all areas of an organization and support new business models with greater transparency.
Enterprise apps also improve the dynamics of customer interactions. They enhance communication with real-time access for scheduling and two-way communication. They can also serve up customer insights and analytics for sales executives and customer-facing staff in an easily consumable way to aid them with preparing for calls and responding to requests before the conversation is even over. They also enable customers to purchase and access digital products in just a few convenient clicks.
Enterprise app analytics don’t just support customer-facing roles, but organizations overall. The powerful insights unlocked by the more digestible data enterprise apps pave the way for companies to find and leverage competitive advantages, new market opportunities, and more — the list is endless. Businesses can customize the KPIs they want to see and how they want the information presented, making it more actionable, and all in real-time. Gone are the days when companies needed to wait weeks or even months after a sales cycle to understand market impact — now it’s right at their fingertips at any point in time.
How To Develop an Enterprise App
Before you jump into building an enterprise app to meet your organization’s needs, craft a strategy to set the foundation for success. Review all tools your company currently uses to see what is working and where you can attain more value. Plan for how your enterprise app will integrate with the apps you will retain. Determine specific KPIs to define success in such a way that you can quantify it and do an honest evaluation of your in-house abilities. Though you may be able to save on cost through building an enterprise app in-house, if you don’t have the expertise, you run the risk of it not effectively meeting your needs.
Once you have a strategy in place, here is the process to follow to create an enterprise app:
- Evaluate your business goals — What goal(s) are you trying to achieve, and what are the features required for the app?
- Determine your budget — Before you get started, figure out how much you can spend. It’ll help your development partner work with you to prioritize your needs.
- Document your needs — Detail your goals, expectations, and the core functionality of your enterprise app. Include the apps it will interact with and any development requests you have, including platforms and technologies you may want to use. It’s helpful to work up a wireframe as well, though your tech partner can help you navigate this if you don’t have the expertise.
- Craft the UI/UX design — A web designer can create a design based on the technical specifications you detailed in the last step.
- Build and test — It’s exciting to watch your enterprise app come to life. Make sure to collect and integrate feedback from your employees.
- Deploy and maintain — It’s showtime! Install the app on your employee’s devices, and share out on app markets if customers will also use it. The job isn’t over yet, as you’ll want to continue collecting feedback for enhancements and fix defects as needed.
Learn more about the Apple Developer Enterprise Program and How to Distribute Your Enterprise App.
10 Enterprise Application Examples
There are a lot of different enterprise apps already available to choose from. Here are some of the most popular:
- Salesforce — Customer relationship management platform that connects sales, marketing, commerce, and service teams.
- Microsoft Office 365 — Productivity cloud with the traditional Microsoft Office apps like Word and Excel, as well as apps handling device management, security, and more.
- SAP Concur — App that connects travel, expense, and vendor invoices, enabling individuals and companies to manage their end-to-end spending.
- Slack —Messaging system enabling people to work together more effectively in a secure environment.
- Jira — Work management tool that collects requirements, manages test cases, and tracks bugs and issues.
- ADP — Human capital management solutions app that brings together HR, payroll, time tracking, tax, and benefits administration.
- Amazon Web Services — Set of global cloud-based products designed to help organizations lower IT costs, move faster, and scale.
- Hubspot — Marketing automation tool that enables you to create targeted marketing campaigns to engage with your audience via social media, SMS, digital ads, and email.
- Cisco Meraki — App that provides unified management of an entire network of devices from a centralized dashboard, including services security, deployment, and troubleshooting.
- Confluence — Collaboration wiki tool that enables team collaboration and knowledge sharing.
Leverage the Power of Enterprise Apps for Your Business
Enterprise apps make running organizations easier by directly solving business problems. When you start with clarity as to your business needs and define a strategy that enables you to choose the best enterprise apps for those needs, you’ll wonder how you ever managed your business without them.
Want to learn how we help our clients build custom enterprise applications? Get in touch.