Planning, personnel management, bookkeeping, control and management of material resources - all this is just a small fraction of the сompany's areas of the company that need constant monitoring and precise coordination. That is why more and more managers rely on special enterprise applications which can connect all areas into a single system.
Needless to say, such a responsible area of software development as enterprise applications is hiding lots of difficulties within and developers as well as company owners have to overcome them over and over again. However, with each successfully developed project comes invaluable experience, and when a critical mass accumulates, a desire to share it arises. This is what we will do today, analyzing the top 6 challenges in enterprise applications development and methods for avoiding them.
So let's get started!
1. The need for quick adaptation
Today, in the field of enterprise applications development, the need to be flexible and respond instantly to changes is especially acute. Although the work of analysts and system architects, based on forecasting and analysis, is still vital for the enterprise’s work, you need to be prepared to make changes literally in the midair, because what seemed like a reasonable decision yesterday may lose its relevance today. In such conditions, the only right decision is a course on flexibility and customization at all levels.
This applies both to the choice of flexible development methodologies, such as Scrum and SAFe, and the willingness of the development team to quickly restructure their work in response to changes in business requirements.
This is a natural reaction of the enterprise applications development industry to market requirements, because, as George Lawrie from Forrester noted, people usually buy standardized systems for capturing information and create customized systems for interaction.
“The systems providing interaction now are created on the principles of consumerization and can vary greatly depending on the audience using them [...] For example, no one uses the basic interfaces that SAP provides. Everybody always - absolutely always - creates their own interfaces optimized for the company's experience and the needs of its employees.”
Solution: Initially develop customizable solutions. In addition, developers need to adapt as quickly as possible to the changing business environment. An important role is also played by the actions of the management of a company that needs enterprise applications, in particular a systematic approach and focus on growth and development.
Also watch an ultimate breakdown of trend in enterprise application development from Rich Sharples, Sr. Dir. of Product Management, Red Hat.
2. More strict security requirements
Enterprise information system is a complex structure, which combines the various services necessary for the functioning of the company. This structure is constantly changing — new elements appear, the configuration of existing ones changes. As the system grows, ensuring information security and protecting business-critical resources is becoming increasingly difficult. What is the risk of an enterprise leaking corporate documentation, customer data and bank account data?
A cyberattack can cost large companies millions of dollars, and it threatens small and medium-sized businesses with bankruptcy. That is why it is vital to improve the security system from a technical point of view. Standard tips for preventing cyberattacks include:
- Encrypt data.
- Use special anti-malware and authorization tools.
- Use hack detection tools.
- Back up data.
- Restrict access to confidential information.
The task of the developers, in this case, is to provide a technical opportunity for each of the points above.
Solution: A really good team is always ready to carry out fast bug fixing, preventive measures and, of course, high-quality testing to eliminate potential security threats before they create any trouble.
3. Processing and storage of large amounts of data
The amount of data that companies generate daily is enormous. Even simple storing of all this information, not to mention analyzing it, is itself a daunting task. Most of this data is not structured, which makes it difficult to find and analyze.
As part of enterprise applications development, companies have two options for storing data: locally on their own or leased servers or in the cloud e.g. in the network. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages.
Local data storage gives companies the freedom not to depend on external servers and manage all data autonomously. Such an enterprise application is acquired once, and then all data is stored on its own servers. This option is somewhat more expensive, but then everything belongs to the enterprise. The solution is especially suitable for sensitive customer data as it lends itself to subtle customization.
A reasonable alternative for enterprise applications these days are cloud databases. With cloud computing, only a license is purchased from the software manufacturer. Then the data remains on the manufacturer’s servers and can be found online at any time from any end device. This option is cheaper and makes it possible to work with enterprise applications from anywhere. Here companies also can make individual changes, but only to a certain extent.
Solution: The final choice depends on the system architect and is determined by the needs of the enterprise, but in the era of the ubiquity of the Internet, cloud solutions are great for companies, as they provide maximum mobility, stability and speed for making important decisions.
4. Integration with other systems
When using several business applications at the enterprise, it is often necessary to ensure their interaction and integration into the corporate information environment. System integration is a great way to optimize performance, as it provides the ability to view and update relevant information in real time.
Some enterprises still use "monolithic" systems. Monolithic architecture means that all functionally distinguishable aspects, such as data input and output, data processing, error handling and user interface, are all interwoven, and do not contain architecturally separate components. If a business is heavily dependent on these systems, integration becomes a problem due to the size and complexity of the application. Testing and coding should cover both the new application and the full integration testing plan every time some changes are made.
Solution: During enterprise applications development, it is necessary to initially lay the possibility of integration or start developing an ERP system that provides for modular expansion.
5. Need for quality post-release support
If the corporate application does not work even for several minutes, it directly affects the income and productivity of the business. Thus, in case of an application failure, it is crucial that the software company can detect and fix the problem in hours, or even better in minutes.
Solution: This problem can be easily solved if you have one good, permanent team of specialists who can carry out maintenance as soon as possible. The best solution would be to hire a team, which was in charge of enterprise application development, because nobody knows the application better than its creator. In addition, you are very lucky if the company chosen for development provides a code warranty, undertaking to fix any error or bug absolutely for free.
6. Lack of skills in the development team
Finding specialists with skills that meet current needs is the main task for companies that need enterprise applications.
In the case of software “out of the box” everything is simple. As a rule, the development company is not interested in meeting the particular needs of a particular enterprise. Therefore, the product is assembled with a maximum of possible functions that you may never need. In this case, it doesn’t matter whether the developers has experience in a particular industry. However, it was mentioned above, that companies need custom solutions, and the presence of specialists with experience in your niche is especially important.
Solution: Perhaps the only right decision in this case is to find a company that has already worked in your industry and knows all the ins and outs of a specific niche. You can read how to find such a company in our article How to choose software development company.
Although the enterprise application development is fraught with many difficulties - all of them are surmountable if there are real masters of their craft at hand. Finally, we recommend you to read our article: Enterprise Software: Key Things You Need to Know About It in 5 W’s to learn more about enterprise applications and then no difficulties will stop you!