Enterprise software spending was forecasted to reach $599 billion in 2021. This industry segment, which has been heralded as an all-encompassing solution to enterprise needs, is clearly reaching new heights, even as it continues to grow.
Industries of all shapes and sizes use enterprise software, from education to nonprofits to fintech to government agencies.
Whether you have enterprise software at your company already or are looking for new or improved solutions for your business, here’s how you can devise the best plan for your organization.
What Is Enterprise Software?
Enterprise software offers a streamlined approach to managing multiple processes in a single platform. It’s meant to solve problems and improve workflow, facilitating stronger communication, storing information, reducing inefficiencies, automating procedures, and much more. The software can assist multiple departments, from HR to marketing and sales to finance. It’s meant to be used across these departments to ensure cohesion.
That’s because enterprise software, by its very definition, applies to the entire enterprise. This is an umbrella term, under which there are several types of platforms and software. Examples include customer relationship management (CRM), business intelligence (BI), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and supply chain management (SCM). Platforms integrate multiple tools to help address myriad issues and challenges.
Benefits of Enterprise Software
These are the qualities and features enterprise software can bring to your organization if your product is doing the job it’s supposed to be doing:
- Data-sharing capabilities
- Reduced overall costs
- Greater efficiency
- High performance
- Process standardization
- Automated processes
- Strong security
- Accommodation of many users
- Cross-platform capabilities
- Better customer service
- Faster product turnaround
- Ability to generate analytics in real time
- Outcomes tracking
What Does the Enterprise Software Development Process Look Like?
Looking to bring your enterprise software development to the next level? Here’s what to do.
Consider Your Business Needs
First, think about how enterprise software will help further your business. What do you need from the software? What holes should it address? What are the problems that need solving? In this initial phase, you should be setting goals and establishing benchmarks — not just for what the software should do for your organization but also for what you need to be doing overall.
Here’s where you get more specific. What, exactly, do you want the enterprise software to do? In the requirements-gathering phase, you’ll determine the minimum elements that the software should have. This isn’t the same as defining the goals for your business — rather, it’s about determining the specifications for the software itself.
Every software project demands careful planning, and enterprise software is no different. In fact, these projects are so involved that encompassing a wide range of solutions that affect multiple departments often require more intricate planning. Devise these specifications, writing them down in detail. This will usually be a several-stage process.
Design the Software
Designing means assessing the critical features the software should have and how they will affect the overall product and user experience. Of course, all software should be designed with the user in mind — in this case, employees at the organization.
It’s important to create a design that can be implemented and executed. Remember to be realistic and consider requirements and time constraints.
Build the Software
This is a phase you’re well familiar with already — the part where you actually develop the software. The developers will work closely with other team members, including the project manager and business leaders, to execute the plan, based on the requirements, design, and other specifications.
As you work toward addressing your goals for your enterprise software, think about the best development team for the job. It could very well not be in-house developers. Instead, consider outsourcing your project to a firm that specializes in this niche and has the experience in enterprise software to back it up.
Test the Software
Test, test, test. All enterprise software must go through a rigorous testing process conducted by quality assurance analysts and specialists. This will help ensure that bugs are kept to a minimum and that the software is usable, high-performing, functional, and optimized for success.
Once the QA team identifies issues, the software developers will resolve them. This will go through several rounds until the team is sure that the software meets the specified requirements and is ready for deployment.
Deploy the Software
Deployment comes after the building and testing phases. Once you believe you have a quality product to which consumers will respond, it’s time to release the product to market. The client should work together with the development team to ensure everyone is on board with this release, while also avoiding long delays — you want your deployment to be timely and reach the target audience as quickly as possible.
Consistently Release Updates
Deployment isn’t the end of the road for enterprise software development. The development team must work carefully and consistently to release updates, ensuring that they are routinely addressing bugs and fixing issues consumers report having with the software. You should also actively be looking for potential problems to nip them in the bud, so to speak.
Remember that even major enterprise software developers release updates with some regularity — it’s par for the course.
At the end of the day, enterprise software will help resolve issues within your business and assist with addressing problems employees are experiencing. If done the right way, the development process will make everyone’s lives easier — and bring your business to the next level.