It’s almost impossible to imagine performing business tasks without applications.

On average, employees access five business apps daily. Annually, companies can save 240 hours of work thanks to an employee using mobile enterprise apps. Spending on enterprise software will reach $675 billion in 2022.

Today, more and more businesses are turning to enterprise mobile app development. They are developing enterprise applications for different purposes like improving business efficiency, engaging employees, or streamlining processes

Enterprise application development is a complex process that requires businesses to fully understand the requirements and goals while meeting the expectations of stakeholders.

To make this tedious task a bit easier, we created this guide on enterprise mobile application development.

A few things you’ll discover in the article:

  • What is an enterprise application?
  • Enterprise app vs. standard software
  • Types and examples of enterprise application development
  • How enterprise app development benefits businesses
  • Factors to consider when developing enterprise applications
  • Challenges of enterprise application development
  • Must-have features of enterprise mobile applications
  • Step-by-step process of enterprise mobile app development

Dive right in to make sure your business gets the most value from enterprise mobile application development.

What is Enterprise Mobile App Development?

Enterprise mobile application development is the process of building a high-performance and scalable application that helps a company streamline business processes and facilitate tasks.

Benefits of Developing an Enterprise App
Benefits of Developing an Enterprise App

Enterprise apps are usually customized to specific business requirements. Their primary purpose is to alleviate common pain points and help users perform tasks efficiently and easily. The main goal of enterprise application development is to deliver software that allows a business to engage with clients, employees, and partners in the most efficient way.

Enterprise application development usually involves a software development company that turns business requirements into a working mobile enterprise application.

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Enterprise Mobile Application Development vs. Standard Software

While enterprise applications and software might seem similar, quite a few differences set them apart. Below is a short list that will help you understand the main differences between app development for businesses and for users:

  • ROI – enterprise apps and consumer apps have different target audiences. Thus, when calculating ROI, you need to take into account different factors. To calculate ROI for enterprise application development, you need to identify business objectives, set up relevant KPIs, calculate the returns, and evaluate and improve them. On the other hand, the ROI of consumer apps depends on customer lifetime value.
  • Architecture – traditional software is often built using a monolithic approach. This approach provides limited scalability and customization capabilities. On the other hand, enterprise mobile app architecture is built using a microservices method. An enterprise solution consists of many microservices – independent and self-sustainable modules. As a result, you can break even the most complex solution into smaller modules and customize them without impacting other parts of the solution.
  • Scalability – this is the most important requirement for enterprise application development. Enterprise apps should be able to grow along with business operations. So, you need to consider future business growth when designing and building enterprise applications.
  • Interoperability – every company has at least a dozen applications integrated into the business processes. When developing enterprise applications, it’s important to make sure the solutions can communicate between themselves and share data. The interoperability of enterprise apps improves business productivity, automates processes, and reduces the time spent on manual tasks.

If you want to dive deeper into the differences between monolithic and microservices architectures, check out our article explaining when you should choose each option and why building a microservices app pays off in the long run: Monolithic vs. Microservices Architecture: Which is Right for Your App.

Types & Examples of Enterprise App Development

Types of Enterprise Mobile Apps
Types of Enterprise Mobile Apps

There are a variety of enterprise applications used across different industries. The most common types include:

  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems
  • Business Intelligence (BI) solutions
  • Human Resource Management (HRM) platforms
  • Supply Chain Management (SCM) systems
  • Content Management System (CMS)
  • Automation enterprise applications
  • Collaboration software apps

Let’s look at the key types of enterprise applications in more detail.

1. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

The main goal of ERP solutions is to integrate all business processes into a single system. The list of processes includes planning, cost control, marketing, inventory management, sales, etc.

Some ERP mobile application examples include Microsoft Dynamics 365, Oracle NetSuite ERP, and SAP Business.

2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CRM systems keep all information related to client interactions in one place. These solutions store and provide access to information about communication channels used, who handled communication, what part of the sales channel a client is in, and so on. CRMs also integrate with invoicing, task management, finance, and accounting systems.

Examples of CRMs include Hubspot, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and Zoho.

3. Business Intelligence (BI)

Companies generate a lot of data from various resources – HR, sales, marketing, etc. Business Intelligence tools help companies analyze data and make more accurate business predictions. BI tools shape results in the form of visuals like charts and graphs for faster and easier data interpretation.

Examples of BI in enterprise application development include Tableau, Salesforce, Qlik, and Microsoft Power BI.

4. Human Resource Management (HRM)

HR management systems help streamline the work of HR departments. HRM solutions minimize efforts and maximize the efficiency of HR managers and recruiters. For example, they can filter CVs by a specific keyword, find information about candidates on LinkedIn, and even create smart job descriptions.

Examples of HRM systems include PeopleForce, Zoho People, and Bamboo HR.

5. Supply Chain Management (SCM)

Enterprise application development can also help with supply chain management. SCM solutions can help you track every stage of product life from raw components to product procurement, storage, shipping, distribution, and delivery of the final product to consumers. These systems ensure that you will have enough products in your warehouses to meet customer demand.

The main players in the market are IBM, SAP, Oracle, and E2open.

6. Content Management System (CMS)

A content management system is a solution that allows users to create, manage, and modify digital content on websites with a no-code approach.

The most popular examples of CMS systems include WordPress, Wix, and Drupal.

7. Automation Enterprise Applications

Automation can benefit any business operation – sales, marketing, production, etc. The main goal of automation enterprise app development is to reduce manual work, increase productivity, and accelerate data exchange.

Examples of automation enterprise software include KissFlow, Intergrify, and Oracle Sales Cloud.

8. Collaboration Software Apps

Collaboration apps are the most popular type of enterprise applications. These solutions allow employees to communicate and be involved in business processes from anywhere in the world. They can help businesses with inter-employee communication, task management, productivity tracking, etc.

Some outstanding examples of collaboration software apps in enterprise application development include Slack, Asana, Jira, and Trello.

Benefits a Business Gains from Developing Enterprise Applications

By 2023, spending on enterprise software worldwide will reach $755 billion.

Investment in Mobile Enterprise Application Development Worldwide
Investment in Mobile Enterprise Application Development Worldwide

More and more companies have begun to invest in enterprise application development because of the benefits that these solutions provide for businesses.

Let’s find out what you can get by implementing enterprise solutions.

1. Increased Productivity and Flexibility

Automation of routine and repetitive business tasks and processes is the main goal of enterprise applications. These solutions can automate almost anything from employee pay processing to sending out email marketing campaigns and managing customer relationships.

2. Easier Business Planning

Enterprise solutions provide businesses with detailed insights into business processes and operations. You can track the performance of your company and, based on the data, make better business plans. Developing enterprise applications with this goal pays off in the long run, as you don’t need to spend countless hours trying to calculate and predict product return rates or how many products you need to have in stock for the upcoming sales season.

3. Improved Data Sharing & Management

Different departments of a business generate a lot of information that can be useful for other employees. However, when it comes to data sharing and management, many companies still rely on spreadsheets and Google Docs.

Enterprise mobile app development can improve the interoperability between different departments of your company. You can create a solution that will collect and store data from all operations within your business for easier management, access, and processing.

4. Better Record Keeping and Compliance

Data loss and data theft can bring a company to its knees. Enterprise solutions can help with the problems of data security and compliance. These systems have built-in security protocols that reduce the risk of data loss or theft.

5. Maximize Revenue & Reduce Losses

Most enterprise solutions provide in-depth insights into business processes and operations. As a result, businesses can better manage their processes, make predictions, maximize revenue, and reduce losses.

Enterprise Application Development: Factors to Consider

Enterprise mobile application development is a challenging process requiring a certain preparation level.

Benefits & Challenges of Enterprises Applications
Benefits & Challenges of Enterprises Applications

Below, you can see a list of some factors to consider before investing in an enterprise mobile app. This will help you ensure that the development process will run smoothly.

1. Business Objectives

Before hiring an enterprise application development company, a business needs to fully understand what it wants to achieve by implementing a new solution. Identifying the problems you need to solve and what benefits you want to achieve is the first step toward developing enterprise applications that will benefit your business.

2. Security

Enterprise applications collect, process, and store a lot of sensitive information. Before jumping into enterprise mobile app development, you must first understand how you will store the data, how it will be transferred, and who will have access to it. To minimize the chances of data theft and leaks, you need to use different authentication methods and a multi-factor user verification process.

3. Scalability

Scalability is the main requirement for any enterprise application. You need to build enterprise applications with the ability to grow along with your business, integrate with other solutions, and to change easily when necessary.

4. Faster application development tools

Speed is the main concern when it comes to mobile enterprise app development. There are a lot of tools and approaches that can speed up the development process without sacrificing the quality of the product. For example, consider iterating your solution with a third-party solution through an API instead of building some features from scratch.

5. Support for disruptive innovations

There is a lot of room for disruptive innovations in enterprise application development. Consider building your solution with AI-powered features. As well, you can add machine learning capabilities for faster and more accurate analysis of big data.

6. Ecosystem that accelerates innovation

When you build your app, take into account the latest technologies on the market. You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes, there are technologies developed by third-party companies that you can use for your project.

7. Fraud detection

Depending on the industry a company operates in, you might need to think about fraud detection and prevention. For example, the eCommerce industry deals with payments, which involves the risk of credit card fraud. When building an enterprise product, consider the possible risks and devise a solution to mitigate them.

8. Improved customer service

Improved customer service is one of the main goals of mobile enterprise application development. When working on the goals of your solution, think about how it can help you improve customer service and customer relationships.

Key Challenges When Developing Enterprise Applications

Enterprise software development solutions are usually tailored to business needs and interconnected with other tools. However, there are some obstacles that you may encounter during the enterprise application development process. If you don’t do thorough research and don’t know your requirements, this can hinder all your efforts and end in a huge financial loss.

Let’s prepare you for the road ahead by taking a look at some of the most widespread challenges you may face when developing enterprise applications.

  • Changing business requirements – despite even the best efforts, sometimes it’s impossible to foresee outside factors that will influence your business. A new wave of economic crises can turn your business upside down. Along with other changes, you might find yourself in a situation when some changes to the developed enterprise solution are required. Building flexible and customizable solutions is the key step in circumventing these situations. This is why microservices architecture might be costly initially but will pay off in the long run.
  • Ensuring a return on investment – before developing enterprise applications, you need to identify what KPIs have the highest priority for your company. When you understand these, you’ll be able to build a mobile enterprise app that will ensure a high and fast return on investment. After all, the main goal of enterprise mobile app development is to improve the financial indicators of a business.
  • Employee engagement – mobile enterprise application development deals with business problems and employee problems. If you provide employees with a tool to take their pains away, you won’t have any problems engaging them with the new solution.

Need help with enterprise app development?

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Enterprise Application Development: Feature-Set

Innovative technologies can do a lot for your business. The combination of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can help you make better predictions, streamline business processes, and improve business efficiency.

Features of Enterprise Apps
Features of Enterprise Apps

This iss why you can’t afford to underestimate the importance of choosing a required set of features for future mobile enterprise app development.

We’ve prepared a list of features and tools you can explore before developing enterprise applications.

  • Automation – task automation is the key goal of an enterprise app. The app should be able to automate repetitive tasks and improve employee efficiency by taking these tasks off their hands.
  • Security – enterprise solutions collect, store, and process a ton of sensitive information. Thus, the importance of data security can’t be underestimated. The risks increase since employees can use mobile enterprise applications on their personal smartphones. You can start with using two-factor or multi-factor authentication and data encryption to ensure the app’s security.
  • User roles – while enterprise solutions provide employees with fast access to data, all information does not need to be accessible to all of them. Thus, you need to add a feature that allows for the assignment of user roles for employee accounts. For example, if your suppliers have access to your app, they will be able to see information about orders; however, they won’t be able to access inside information like business performance analysis and finances.
  • Real-time analytics – the speed of making decisions can genuinely be a win or failure for a business. This is why it’s important for enterprise software to provide you and your employees with real-time analysis for faster and better decision-making.
  • Data sharing – business processes involve working with a lot of data. A business should be able to share this information between employees and/or with suppliers or clients in the preferred format.
  • Cloud storage – the main goal of enterprise application development is to provide businesses with a way to access information from anywhere in the world. This is why your app needs to store information in the cloud in order to offer smooth and easy access to data.
  • Third-party integrations – enterprise mobile app development usually involves integration with third-party solutions and applications. The use of these solutions can help you speed up the development process and save on development costs. For example, you can integrate your app with Jira for task management or with Toggl for project planning and tracking. You can integrate your enterprise mobile app with thousands of solutions.
  • Push notifications – push notifications are one of the most powerful features to engage the users of mobile devices, and enterprise apps are no exception. These notifications can be used to remind employees about upcoming events and important business tasks or draw their attention to an emergency. It is also important to allow users to configure push notifications for their specific needs and preferences.
  • Instant messaging – integration with a chat solution will help employees to communicate without leaving the enterprise application. They will be able to set up and discuss tasks, ask questions about some information, or share files without moving to another app.
  • Offline mode – this is a nice-to-have feature that is very useful for working on the go. For example, the app can provide access to cached files offline for uninterrupted work with a slow internet connection or even without one.

10 Best Practices & Steps for Enterprise Application Development

Enterprise Mobile App Development Process
Enterprise Mobile App Development Process

Now that you know everything about enterprise application development, let’s take a look at the key steps in the process.

1. Requirement Gathering and Define the Objectives

Business analysis should be the first step of enterprise mobile app development. This will help you understand how to streamline business operations and what processes can be optimized and automated.

The main goal of why you want to start enterprise application development should be clear from the start. Otherwise, there is a risk of investing money in a solution that won’t do any good for your business.

Businesses can analyze all the processes themselves or hire a company providing business analysis services if they lack the needed expertise.

Did you know that there are tried and tested techniques to make your solution successful?

Check out our article How to Make Your App Successful: A Detailed Step-by-Step Guide to explore the process of making an app successful from business, technical, and marketing aspects.

2. Decide on Timelines, Goals, & Budget

Before you start developing an enterprise application, you should set a timeline for your project. Some projects may take longer, while others can be completed in just a few months. Usually, mobile app development takes at least three months, so you should not expect to build everything in a week or two.

You need to also understand your budget for mobile enterprise app development. Of course, there is no way to know exactly how much the app will cost. To better understand the development costs on the market, get in touch with a few companies to get a free project estimate.

You can also check out our article App Development Cost: Understand Your Budget To Build Powerful Apps to explore the key cost influential factors and how you can cut expenses by up to four times.

3. Select Suitable Platforms & Technologies

You can build mobile apps for a few platforms – Android, iOS, and Microsoft. The software development technologies you need to use will depend on the other choices you make. For example, if you decide to build an Android app, it will be coded in Java or Kotlin, while Swift and C-Objective are used for iOS app development.

When dealing with mobile app development, you will need to choose between two main approaches – native app development and hybrid app development. Check out our article to learn more about the key differences and why many companies still go with native enterprise application development regardless of its higher costs: Native App Development vs. Hybrid and Web App Building.

4. Choose Specific Features & Functionality

Based on the business analysis you’ve made as the first step in enterprise mobile application development, you need to decide on the list of features for implementation. As we have discussed, the feature set will depend on the tasks you want to solve with an enterprise app and the main business goals you’re pursuing.

5. Select an IT Vendor

There are a lot of companies providing enterprise app development services all over the world. The choices you make now will have a long-lasting impact on your business. Making the wrong choice can lead to massive money loss.

When selecting from among enterprise mobile app development companies, there are a few dos and don'ts:

  • Don’t choose the cheapest option – however tempting it might be to hire a cheap company for enterprise application development, this is the worst idea. First of all, you need to choose a company capable of delivering a project that is of the required scope and scale. In most cases, experienced companies will save you a lot of money because they have relevant experience and know how to build enterprise applications. As a result, they do all the tasks quickly and reduce the enterprise app development cost for your business.
  • Explore the portfolio – today, you don’t even have to get in touch with a company to evaluate its experience and expertise. A portfolio speaks volumes about enterprise app development companies. You can find case studies on the company’s website or on Clutch. The latter option also provides reviews from previous clients, where you can find a lot of useful information about the vendor.
  • Avoid the “yes” companies – if you get a yes for every question you ask, you should be worried about the future of your project. Experienced app developers will ask a ton of difficult questions about your goals, business objectives, and expected results. Based on your answers, they will be able to offer you the best solutions and say right away when you’re about to make a bad decision regarding enterprise app development.

6. Integrate Effective Team Communication

You need to be on the same page with your team and development vendor regarding mobile enterprise application development. You need to communicate regularly to discuss tasks, prioritize feature development, and quickly provide answers required for effective development.

7. Design & Prototyping Phase

During the design stage, the development team will be working on the visual part of your application. A user experience designer will create user flows and the logic behind user interactions. A user interface designer will design the visual part of your application – the user interface.

After this work has been done, the team will create clickable prototypes to test the design both within the team and with your target audience. Based on the findings, they will make the required changes and prepare everything for the next stage of enterprise application development.

8. Implementation and Coding

This is the most important step in enterprise app development and is when developers create the code for your solution, integrate it with third-party solutions, and ensure that everything works as it’s supposed to.

You might also need DevOps services to set up your project’s infrastructure to ensure its scalability, high performance, and capacity to handle working with big data.

If you’re not sure about DevOps and want to learn more, our article explains what this type of service offers and why no big product has been built without a DevOps engineer. Check it out for more details: DevOps Services: Ultimate Guide on Explaining the Service’s Top Practices, Tools, & Benefits.

9. Test the App During Software Development Life Cycle

Testing the solution throughout the entire development life cycle is no less important than creating code. Quality Assurance Engineers will test all parts of your solution to make sure no bugs end up in production. This is the stage that you can’t afford to skip.

Most development companies provide clients with software testing services, so you won’t need to look for another vendor.

10. Maintenance & Ongoing Support

After the release of your enterprise application, the work continues. Enterprise application development is an ongoing process where you need to monitor the solutions 24/7 to avoid any unexpected crushes or downtimes.

Since data breaches can cost millions of dollars, it’s also crucial to keep your system protected against security threats and hackers.

If you don’t want to waste time, hire an enterprise app development company that offers ongoing development and support.

Have a great idea for an enterprise app and are ready to make your business processes more efficient?

Get in touch with MLSDev for rough project estimation and free consultation. We’ll be glad to support you on your journey of developing enterprise applications and share our expertise in mobile app development.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to build an enterprise app?
Without knowing your requirements, it’s pretty challenging to estimate the cost of enterprise application development. Usually, the costs start at around $80,000 for a simple solution and can go up to $500,000 and beyond for complex solutions.
What is better: platform-based or from scratch development of enterprise applications?
If you decide to go with a development platform, you’ll be limited to the capabilities of that platform. In most cases, a single platform can’t satisfy the requirements of businesses that need to build a mobile app for enterprises. Development from scratch provides you with unlimited flexibility and customization options. You can build a solution tailored to your specific business needs by going this route.
How to choose developers to create an enterprise application.
Let’s be honest, it’s quite challenging choosing a development vendor. When we are talking about enterprise mobile application development, you need to be even more careful in your choice to avoid financial losses. Before hiring a company, make sure they can handle a project of the required scope, have relevant experience, and can provide a portfolio of successful projects.
How can the MLSDev team help you with developing an enterprise app?
MLSDev is a company that’s been providing custom development services for over 10 years. We help small companies, ambitious startups, and enterprise corporations build complex and highly customized solutions. We’ve worked with brands like McDonald’s, goPuff, GoGibbon, Sequoia Green Token, and many others.