Every business wants to gain a competitive advantage, improve corporate efficiency, and uncover revenue-generating opportunities. With more and more organizations gunning for the same piece of the pie, companies need to arm themselves with a custom mobile app for enterprises that’ll make them disruptive players.
The global enterprise software market ballooned to $241 billion in 2020 and is expected to shoot up to $334 billion in 2025. Any organization that fails to catch up with this technological shift stands to lose out in the race for greater agility and profitability.
Are you ready to make the leap? Read this article to learn about the challenges you’ll encounter, the reasons you ought to forge ahead anyhow, the factors you need to consider before jumping right in, and the enterprise mobile app development processes you’ll have to undertake based on Acropolium 19 years of experience. See real-life examples below.
So, what is mobile enterprise application development?
Enterprise application development involves the creation of mobile-based software that streamlines a company’s business operations.
Unlike standard mobile apps that are built for individual users, enterprise apps consider and satisfy the needs of a whole organization. They allow partners, employees, and customers to interact seamlessly with each other.
Because they’re designed for multiple users carrying out different functions at the same time, enterprise apps must be able to handle large databases, complex workflows, and high-level security protocols. They must be built for speed and scalability.
Tasked to handle an organization’s sensitive data, enterprise apps must undergo and survive an intensive auditing process before deployment.
What exactly does an enterprise app look like? Let’s take a look at the different forms it takes.
Different types of mobile enterprise applications
Enterprise applications cover many different business processes and could fall under any of the following types.
Marketing automation software streamlines the marketing workflow by automating repetitive tasks and improving the efficiency of your sales funnel. It lets you market on multiple channels, nurture your leads, and speed up the path to conversion.
Marketing apps support modern practices like lead segmentation, relationship marketing, and return on investment (ROI) measurement.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
ERP software involves a suite of applications that integrates the main business processes. It provides cross-departmental visibility that lets you explore various scenarios and improve overall efficiency. Its central database pulls inputs from different departments, including human resources, accounting, and supply chain management.
Customer relationship management (CRM)
CRM software consolidates data that allows you to improve the way you manage your interactions and relationships with existing and potential customers. It helps you find new leads, turn them into paying customers, and provide the level of service that engenders loyalty.
Automated billing system
An automated billing system streamlines your billing processes by automating functions, such as invoicing, dunning, and payment collection. You can integrate this software with your ERP, CRM, and payment gateways.
Playing an intermediary role between businesses and financial institutions, payment processors authorize card transactions and secure the transmission of data and transfer of funds. The service provider may also offer equipment for accepting card payments, customer support, and PCI compliance assistance.
Messaging and collaboration systems
Collaboration software provides the tools your team needs to efficiently work together on projects. It facilitates project management, task scheduling, file sharing, and communication. Some systems include not only messaging tools but also audio and video conferencing capabilities.
Call center and customer support
You need call center software to keep your customer service team performing at its best. The system routes messages and calls to the right agents and makes the context of the customer concern readily available. Without software to assist your team, you’ll have a slew of customers waiting on hold and agents scrambling to answer queries.
Email marketing systems
Email marketing software is equipped with an automation tool, email builder, and scheduler to help marketers efficiently plan, execute, and monitor email marketing campaigns. Marketers can use its reporting and analytics tools to track key metrics and make improvements to their strategies.
Enterprise application integration (EAI)
Organizations often have a suite of corporate applications for streamlining a variety of business functions. With no automated communication linking the apps together, employees have to manually enter data and make sure the changes are reflected across the platforms.
Providing a middleware framework, enterprise application integration (EAI) provides the necessary link to keep data flowing efficiently between the applications.
Business intelligence (BI)
Business intelligence leverages software and best practices to make sense of data and use the insights to optimize performance and decision-making. It arms organizations with tools that keep them informed of the state of their business with easy-to-read charts, graphs, reports, and summaries.
HR management software is designed to help the HR team manage their daily tasks and overall goals. It enhances the department’s productivity and performance by automating repetitive tasks and fostering collaboration. The system supports applicant tracking, performance management, and employee management.
These solutions are obviously beneficial to businesses. Let’s take a closer look at why you should adopt an enterprise app.
Why you need a mobile enterprise application
You already know an enterprise app can help speed up your business operations. Now let’s get down to the details and examine just how the solution can benefit your company.
Reason 1. Transaction control
If you’re running a business that requires an e-commerce payment system, you need a mobile app to help you record, track, and manage transactions. The software can set notifications for payment deadlines, aggregate transaction data, and provide actionable insights.
Depending on your requirements and goals, the app may include an array of payment features that you can control from an easy-to-use dashboard.
Reason 2. Process automation
Enterprise apps can automate repetitive tasks and reduce the need for paperwork. Retrieving data from online records will be quick and easy. With mundane tasks covered, people in your organization will have more bandwidth for strategic work and big-picture thinking.
Reason 3. Employee monitoring
An enterprise app allows you to move the whole workforce to a single platform that’s accessible anytime and anywhere.
Teamwork no longer has to take place in an office setting. You can use the software to track the progress of your employees, receive updates and feedback, make announcements, share information, and transfer files. It will help you boost productivity and collaboration.
Reason 4. Data management
An enterprise app can help you organize, transfer, and manage data at scale. From supply chains and financial forecasts to product development and marketing, the software provides the data processing and analysis you need to improve decision-making and operational efficiency.
Reason 5. Employee onboarding
With the aid of an enterprise app, your organization can make a great first impression and boost new hire engagement without overburdening the HR team. The software can handle the introduction to your organization, completion of onboarding forms, digital signing of documents, training, and certification.
Reason 6. Supply chain control
Supply chain management ensures the right products or services reach their destination at the appropriate time and in the appropriate quantity. This entails an effective integration of inputs from suppliers, manufacturers, retailers, warehouses, transporters, and customers.
An enterprise app can provide real-time data and analytics that will help you efficiently manage the flow of information and products in the supply chain network.
Reason 7. Customer support
Allow an enterprise app to help you organize, manage, and resolve customer concerns. Your clients can have direct access to a knowledge base that provides instant answers to basic inquiries. You can also set the app to route complex issues to representatives with relevant expertise.
For all its rewards, building an enterprise app is not without its challenges.
The challenges of mobile app development for enterprises
Sure, rewards await you when you create an enterprise mobile app. But there are obstacles you need to overcome before you achieve results.
Shifting business needs
Businesses rarely stand still. New needs and requirements may arise by the time the developers deliver the enterprise app. This could make the functionalities useless or outdated.
It’s crucial that you work with developers who understand the importance of working on a system that’s both flexible and scalable. They should be ready to quickly pivot whenever necessary.
Exposure to security risks
Business mobile app development involves the use of an organization’s sensitive data. Consequently, the process could expose your company to security breaches.
Make sure you work only with software developers who have security experts embedded within their team. You need these specialists to find and fix security flaws every step of the way, from design to delivery.
Moreover, the team should be able to guarantee security measures like mobile app encryption, hack detection, data back-up, anti-malware protection, and authorization methods.
Integrating with backend resources
Your enterprise mobile app may not integrate seamlessly with your existing backend services. Outdated backend resources can cause issues and slow down the development speed. To prepare for contingencies, make sure you work with developers who can offer a complete integration testing plan.
Slow application development
Application development can be a lengthy process, especially if you’re creating enterprise mobile solutions from scratch. You can find a workaround by utilizing reusable components, modules, and development toolkits. Working with a dedicated team can also speed up the process.
Finding appropriate resources
Tech talent is hard to find, so much so that many companies are compelled to compromise. Some end up hiring freelancers who don’t have the necessary experience and expertise. Others take the safer route of working with dedicated development teams that have worked on similar projects.
The need for post-release support
Even successfully released enterprise apps can fail if they don’t get ample tech maintenance. You should factor in post-release support when planning the software’s development. Make sure you’re working with a team that can commit to testing, fixing bugs, and updating the system long after you’ve launched the app.
Now let’s get down to the steps that’ll get you closer to your goal of having a winning enterprise app.
Enterprise mobile app development process
Building an enterprise mobile application can be a long and rocky process. But when done right, you can come out on the other side with a successful product. And if you’re working with the right people, you’ll have a much smoother journey.
Define your business goals
To ensure you’re creating an app that will boost your bottom line, keep your project centered on goals that truly matter to your business. Take the time to clearly define your objectives.
You’ll need all hands on board for this. Host a brainstorming session that will highlight areas of operations that could use some improvement. Make a note of the tasks that can be automated and processes that can be optimized.
This step will help you define the features that must be included in the software.
List the functional requirements
Based on the objectives you’ve identified, make a list of the functionalities that must be included in your software. It may include items like “send a welcome email when a customer signs up” and “send critical stock level or time-to-order alerts to the purchasing department.”
Choose the appropriate mobile platform
You’ll have to reconsider your business goals for this step. Take stock of your target users and determine which mobile platform they use the most. Are they iPhone or Android users? You may prioritize a specific platform or opt for cross-platform app development. You’ll have to speak to tech specialists to determine what will work best for you.
Pick the right development team for your project
Work with developers who take the time to understand your business goals. Pay close attention to the types of questions they ask you. If they don’t offer any new perspectives, they may not have any experience in the type of software you’re working on.
Don’t hire just any developer. It’s best to work with a dedicated team. In this type of arrangement, a service provider commits to providing tech specialists who can meet your specific demands and requirements on a long-term basis.
This model is suitable for complex projects with the potential to expand. You can rest assured that the dedicated team will follow through to the completion of the project.
Calculate your budget
Now that you have a clear picture of your objectives and a list of the functionalities you’d like to include in your app, you can start talking to developers about the scope of the project and the costs it will entail. Ask for estimates and calculate your budget accordingly.
Secure a software development roadmap
One key advantage of working with a dedicated team is that you gain visibility into its day-to-day functioning. To ensure you’re steering the team in the right direction, equip yourself with a software development roadmap.
To create a roadmap, the product team will have to translate your vision into a blueprint that offers a broad view of the project’s strategic goals and themes. The project managers and developers will then transform this big-picture roadmap into actionable tasks.
You can use the roadmap to set milestones, prioritize important features, and ensure tasks are being completed on schedule.
Ensure user engagement with compelling UI/UX design
Enterprise apps that fail to gain user engagement are practically worthless. So, make sure you give UI/UX design the focus it deserves. An attractive user interface will capture the users’ attention while an intuitive user experience will keep it.
Work with the dedicated team to create workflow diagrams that will incorporate all possible interactions between the users and the app.
The designers can then create wireframes, which provide a visual structure or conceptual layout of your app’s functional requirements. They’ll also put together a style guide, which sets out your app’s design standards based on your company’s branding rules.
To ensure the app will meet your vision, the development team must provide mock-ups and prototypes. Mock-ups illustrate the app’s functional requirements using static designs (final renderings), while prototypes simulate the user experience.
Start building the app
You can break your app development project into three parts: front end/client side, back end/server technology, and application programming interface (API).
Frontend development deals with the part of the app that the users see and interact with directly, while the back end works with the database and server-side objects that support your app’s functionalities. The API is what allows the front end and back end to communicate with each other.
Planning remains crucial at this stage of the development process. Be ready with well-defined technical architecture and development milestones, and make sure you have the right technology stack to support your project.
Perform quality assurance testing
Thorough QA testing during development will help ensure your app is stable and secure. The QA team must be involved during the planning and design stages. This way, they’ll gain a deeper understanding of the app’s objectives and functional requirements, which will help them come up with accurate test cases.
Your team should carry out the following testing methods:
- User experience testing. Make sure the app meets your design guidelines. It must have the necessary visuals and usability to ensure user adoption and engagement.
- Functional testing. The users must be able to use the app without any issues. To catch bugs, you need a handful of users to cover different testing conditions.
- Performance testing. Set quantitative criteria for measuring your app’s performance. You can check the app’s load time, battery usage, and size.
- Security testing. Security specialists must check for any potential vulnerability that can expose your data to security breaches.
- Device and platform testing. Give your app a test run on various devices. Depending on your target platform, you may want to try it on popular devices, such as Apple and Samsung.
Guarantee maintenance and support for the app
Once you’ve launched your enterprise app, start monitoring its usage. Track key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine your app’s success. Be on the lookout for crash reports and other user concerns. Encourage feedback and suggestions for improvements. Your development team should be ready to fix bugs and make updates.
The development process will expose your data to enormous risks, so make sure security remains your top priority.
How to ensure the security of an enterprise mobile application
Here are the top ways to ensure your data stays secure throughout the development and ongoing use of your enterprise app.
Address the OWASP top 10
Make sure your tech team integrates the OWASP Top 10 into the software development life cycle. The checklist provides actionable information and insight into the most pervasive security risks. It contains information that’s been put together by security experts from all over the world.
The OWASP Top 10 names security vulnerabilities that threaten the integrity of an application, including sensitive data exposure, injection attacks, and security misconfiguration. Awareness of the most common risks allows developers to build enterprise mobile apps that are designed to withstand them.
Implement proper logging
No matter how carefully you audit the security of your app, a bug could still lurk in the system. And cyberattackers could eventually sneak in to exploit it. To quickly fix the problem, if and when the time comes, you’ll need to have properly implemented logging. This way, you’ll have the information you need to troubleshoot the issue.
Tools like Blackfire, New Relic, and Tideways allow you to track the backend performance of your app. Whatever solution you choose, make sure it’s storing easy-to-parse information.
Perform real-time security monitoring
You still need the classic web application firewalls (WAFs) to keep your app secure. Firewalls have their shortcomings, though, so make sure you fortify them with a runtime application self-protection (RASP) tool, a more recent security technology designed to halt attempts to attack enterprise apps and data.
Keep your app fully encrypted
Don’t just stick to basic HTTPS when working on encryption. Make your approach holistic. While HTTPS prevents man-in-the-middle (MITM) threats that interrupt an existing data transfer, your app can still be vulnerable to attacks that go straight to your server to clone or disrupt the drives. Your encryption efforts must protect both the data in transit and the data at rest.
The success of your enterprise app development rests on your choice of developers. So, learn to choose wisely.
How to choose the right enterprise app development team
Consider these best practices when selecting your team of tech specialists.
Assess their portfolio
The developers or software development companies seeking your business will regale you with a list of their skills and qualifications. Don’t just take their word for it. Carefully assess their portfolio. Their past projects should showcase the same results or tech stack that you’ll need for your project.
Ask for references
Spare yourself nightmare experiences with toxic coworkers by checking with the developers’ past customers. Ask the team for references, then contact those clients.
Be prepared with probing questions that will give you a glimpse of what their experience was like. Was the development team pleasant to work with? How did they handle any major issues? Did they take the time to listen to the client’s input?
Check their process
The journey that takes you to your destination is just as important as the result. So, make sure you take a closer look at how the team approaches the development process.
You need a team that understands the importance of design and willingly provides updates on the progress of the project. They should be just as adept at communication as they are at development. They should also take the time to understand your business at a deeper level.
Evaluate their pricing
With so many factors to consider, app development pricing can vary. The enterprise mobile application development company will have to factor in your functional requirements, the scope of the project, and ongoing maintenance and support.
The development team should be able to provide structured pricing that allows you to check the specifics of the expenses you’re likely to incur.
In any case, make sure you don’t just go for the cheapest quote. Keep in mind that great quality comes at a cost. An inexperienced team can become even more costly in the long run, as there’s a greater chance you’ll have to pay for fixes. In the worse cases, companies even end up with an unusable app that they’ll have to redo.
Scrutinize their technical expertise
Based on their portfolio, you’re probably already convinced that the dedicated team has the technical chops to get things done. All the same, you need to take a closer look at their technical expertise. You need developers who can work on the exact tech stack or combination of tools, frameworks, and programming languages you need to complete your project.
Secure post-development services
Don’t make the issue of upkeep an afterthought. The last thing you need is a software provider that will leave you to grapple with security and functionality issues after you’ve launched the app. You need the development team to stick around to update frameworks, fix bugs, and adapt the software to the latest operating system versions.
Early on, you should already secure an agreement on maintenance and support. Work only with an enterprise mobile application development company that’s willing to guarantee post-development services.
Fortunately, you don’t have to look further to find the right team for your enterprise app development. Acropolium is one software development company worth considering.
Our expertise in enterprise mobile development
At Acropolium, our 17 years of experience in the field has allowed us to provide companies with tech solutions that help them reach their business goals. Whether you need an upgrade to your existing software or a digital transformation of your legacy business, we’re the enterprise app development company you’re looking for.
We offer full-cycle software development, which covers all the processes that take you from the initial idea to the final product. We can also augment your in-house capacities with a dedicated team.
We’ll study your requirements closely to determine which work option suits you best. You may benefit from a low-code solution where we use modules and development toolkits to cut down costs and delivery time, or you may require a custom mobile app for enterprise to be built from scratch.
Here is some of the work we’ve done for our clients:
Enterprise construction management software upgrade
Working closely with the client’s in-house development team, we developed new features and modernized the existing modules of their enterprise construction management software. We also facilitated their migration to new technologies.
The modernized software increased the organization’s working speed by 60% and attracted 22% more new clients annually.
Biotech enterprise SAAS development
We developed an enterprise-grade SaaS Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) designed to enhance client-vendor and client-to-client communication and increase the efficiency of quality checking operations.
The system increased the medical vendor’s sales by 65%, attracted 30% of new customers, and increased heavy load capacity by 57%.
Hotel chain management software and app development
We digitized the client’s business processes by developing multi-platform hotel chain management solutions. We transformed their single-server-based application into a scalable cloud-based solution.
The new app resulted in a 30% annual profit increase, 40% cost reduction, and 100% optimization of working systems.
It’s clear to say that you need an enterprise app to stay ahead of your competitors, bring down costs, and boost your profitability. Although you’ll encounter challenges when developing enterprise applications, the solution brings ample benefits to make it all worth your while. Besides, the right preparations can make the journey a lot smoother.
More importantly, working with the right team can help guarantee a generally stress-free and successful voyage. Ready to explore your options? Our team of experts is ready to receive your inquiries. You can reach us here.
Frequently asked questions
Here are the questions people frequently ask about mobile enterprise application development.
What does an enterprise application cover?
Enterprise mobile apps support many different business processes, particularly those that are consistently or repeatedly performed across an organization.
The most common types of enterprise apps include enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), business intelligence (BI), enterprise application integration (EAI), payment processing, messaging and collaboration systems, automated billing systems, marketing automation, call center and customer support, and email marketing systems.
What does an organization need to consider before building a mobile application?
Before investing in app development, you need to consider the following factors:
- Business objectives. Make sure the enterprise mobile app feeds right into your bottom line. Will it cut costs, increase profits, and boost productivity?
- Administration. Beyond just the development process, enterprise apps also require administration and legal work. Do you have the resources to cover this complex process?
- Security. Running an enterprise app means providing employees with greater access to your corporate data. Are you equipped to mitigate the risk exposure?
- Integration with other apps. Your new software may not be efficient unless you integrate it with your existing applications. Take stock of your apps and decide early on if you’d like to include them in the new system.
- Your choice of platform. You’ll have to decide whether to run the app on iOS or Android. You may have to prioritize one platform or work on cross-platform mobile development.
How long does it take to develop an enterprise application?
The duration of software development depends on the size and complexity of the project. You’ll also have to factor in the efficiency and competency of the app development company you’re working with. On average, a bespoke system can take three to nine months to complete.
What types of specialists do I need in my development team?
At the very least, you need a project manager, UI/UX designer, software developer, and quality assurance (QA) engineer in your team.
Work with an enterprise mobile app development company that can and will allocate only the specialists who are relevant to your needs. They should consider your project description and desired workflow when assembling your dedicated team.