"Enterprises are now entering the age of connected customers. Enterprise web applications are developed to satisfy the needs of an organization rather than individual users. This is what makes them challenging to develop. In this article, you will see why enterprise application development is different than general custom software development. We also explain in details what challenges software firms come across while developing enterprise software solutions."
What is Enterprise application and why Enterprise application development is different?
Enterprise applications are the heart and soul of any organization. These are very sophisticated and challenging to develop. This is because every enterprise has several custom applications specific to their business needs and all these applications need to talk to each other and seamlessly transfer data between them for the proper functioning of that Enterprise.
Also, enterprise web applications have to be very agile to accommodate changing business needs. They are also required to deal with a huge amount of data and needs a flexible architecture where the application’s capacity can exponentially grow alongside the rapid growth of the organization.
And as Noobpreneur rightly pointed out, If you want your business to have every chance of success and continue to grow it makes good sense to seek out ways you can streamline and automate your processes so that you are as efficient as possible. Leveraging our decades of experience and expertise in developing enterprise applications, we solved some of the toughest challenges related to custom enterprise application development. Emphasizing on these accolades, we list down some challenges that software development companies face when developing enterprise web applications.
1. Changing Business Requirements
If business requirements keep changing every day according to everyone’s whims and fantasies, the application development will take a toll both in terms of time and cost. When it is enterprise software, this becomes more of an issue because the business analyst needs to take into account the wishes and constraints of multiple stakeholders from multiple departments.
This leads to conflicting business requirements as these stakeholders have different needs and requirements within the business. Like, in one hand HR wants the system to capture the age and at the same time, Data Privacy team pitches in and asks how can you even think of it?
What Binaryfolks does is, it has long discussions with the stakeholders individually and notes down everything in a Business Requirement Doc. Then they figure out the similarities and contradictions. All the stakeholders are then gathered together and the issues are discussed to decide on one solid requirement that is agreed by all. Then a final requirement document is drafted and if and only if all the members agree to every point of the doc, the development process starts.
This method might take up some time up front but it ensures a stable and robust system which satisfies all the stakeholders.
Enterprise applications are all about the data. If data is compromised, the business is compromised. Remember the Equifax data breach in 2017 resulted in the private details of 143 million customers being leaked?
Traditionally, data was stored on physical devices and accessed via simple internal networks and protected via peripheral firewalls. Today, in the age of cloud computing, having robust security practices is more important than ever.
Some measures to improve Enterprise application security :
Interactive Application Security Testing is of utmost importance to reduce risks to security. It rules out false positives. It helps in identifying code vulnerabilities and code coverage in real time and provides instant feedback to a developer, within seconds of coding and testing new code.
SSL encryption (https://) encrypts the connection between your web server and visitors’ web browser and protects your sensitive data in the process. This encryption helps to send private and confidential information, like credentials, across the internet without having to worry about the problems of data tampering or message forgery.
Unwritable file system: Making the code and web server configuration un-writable by the web user is a huge security advantage.
X-Frame Options: Clickjacking is a malicious technique of tricking users to click something different than what they think they are clicking on. X-Frame options when put into block mode, helps stop clickjacking attacks.
Additionally, if Enterprises have their own mobile apps, then encryption of all enterprise mobile devices is most important. Also, ways to curb mobile app impersonation should be taken at the mobile app development stage. We’ll discuss this more in depth in a separate article very soon.
3. Data storage
The amount of data that enterprises generate on a daily basis is huge. Simply storing and analyzing all that information is a challenge in itself. Much of that data is unstructured and documents, photos, audio other unstructured data can be difficult to search and analyze.
Large scale data requires elaborate infrastructure to store it, which often means investing in high-tech servers that should be scalable for workloads of hundreds of terabytes or even petabytes.
Choose between storage area network(SAN), Network-attached storage(NAS) or Direct-attached storage (DAS), based on your enterprise’s requirements.
One easy solution that fits your data would be using cloud hosting and cloud storage. Binaryfolks recommends using AWS storage for hoarding data. AWS offers various storage options – Elastic File System (EFS), Elastic Block Store (EBS), Simple Storage Service (S3), and Glacier.
AWS also offers ‘pay as you go’ pricing model, making it economical as well as scalable. But on the flip side, often increasing volume of data increases the storage costs too. Try these steps if your AWS costs seem to spiral out of control.
4. Integrating with other systems
Integrating multiple IT systems across different functions, departments and stages of the application in order to streamline business processes prove to be a challenge for software development firms. System integration also makes sure that relevant information can be viewed and updated in real time.
Some enterprises still use "monolithic" systems. A monolithic architecture means all the functionally distinguishable aspects like data input and output, data processing, error handling, and the user interface are all interwoven, rather than containing architecturally separate components.
If the business heavily depends on these systems, integration becomes a challenge because of the size and complexity of the application. Testing and coding will need to cover both the new application as well as a full integration test plan each and every time some changes are pushed.
Data is viewed and conceived differently for every business unit within the enterprise.
This is because their operational responsibilities are not the same or they may be using different systems or applications. So a standard data model becomes a necessity within an enterprise in order to successfully integrate these systems. Hence It’s absolutely critical to know the requirements of all the departments and properly map it to the standard data model.
5. An appropriate level of sustenance and support
If an enterprise application is down for even a few minutes, it has a direct impact on a business’ revenue and performance. So, in the case of application outage, it is imperative that the software development firm can detect and fix the problem in hours if not in minutes.
Global Enterprise Mobility market accounted for $206.13 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $1225.78 billion by 2026 growing at a CAGR of 21.9% during the forecast period. Shifting to mobile apps again has a different kind of challenges. We’ll discuss this more in depth in a separate article very soon.
Hire the right enterprise application development software vendor
Choosing the right software vendor is always a challenge and it’s tricky. There are thousands of software companies spread all over the globe. If you want to know a few questions that are absolutely necessary to ask the potential software vendors before hiring one, here you go!
Enterprise software development is different and complex, as we have stated above. So, developing enterprise web applications require software teams that can handle the complexity and challenges and deliver the project in time.
We have a few pieces of advice for you when you decide to hire someone for your enterprise software development :
 Talk to software development companies that understand your business. The software development team must understand the aim of your business and what challenges they need to solve to reach there.
 Take a look at their prior “Enterprise software development” experiences. If they have some experience, they will know how the whole process works. Ask for references. A high recommendation from another enterprise firm means they did their job well for them and can do the same for you.
 Choose a company that you can connect on a personal level like maybe have direct one-to-one communication with the CEO / CTO / VP of the company. Communication is the most vital point when it comes to enterprise software. As mentioned above, requirements keep changing and there is no single point of contact for the enterprises. Make sure the development team knows how to deal with “Enterprise communication”.
 Pick a company that helps you focus on the priorities at the same time advising for or against some feature or technology. Not the one who nods their heads “yes” to everything you ask without questions.
 Lastly, dump the company with the cheapest quote! They will do whatever they can do to get the project and then leave you hanging as they will lack technical expertise and project management to complete the project.
Final Thoughts On Enterprise Application Development
Enterprise application development brings together the entire organization and integrates several business processes and operations.
With this article, you now know what kind of challenges enterprise web application development can face and also what kind of software development teams should you look to hire. All the best!
Binaryfolks has been delivering enterprise solutions for 6 years now. We build a solid software foundation for your business and improve productivity. Need to develop enterprise software? Contact us.