The demand for enterprise application services has skyrocketed over the last couple of years. Organizations are increasingly relying on sophisticated enterprise applications in a bid to reinforce their strategic and operational initiatives in areas of sales, marketing, customer service, or finance and add value to their business.
Having said that, these enterprise applications are inherently complex systems and call for meticulous planning and expertise for the right kind of development. The entire process needs a great deal of precision, vision, and prowess. Any kind of laxity in the development phase can prove frustrating for the development team later on.
In this blog, we have delineated the possible challenges you may have to face when building an enterprise application along with the best practices to overcome them. So, let’s dive right in.
Table of Contents
1) Changing Business Environment
The global business ecosystem happens to be highly dynamic in nature, with constant shifts and upheavals. This change may be on account of a technological innovation or an economic disruption. All businesses remain vulnerable to this changing environment.
Companies also need to implement new workflows and requirements by incorporating the feedback that keeps coming in. Once in a while, some of these also undergo merger or acquisition wherein their assets are either transferred or consolidated with other units.
Solution: As it is almost impossible to predict all such changes beforehand, it’s vital to adopt a flexible approach and be prepared to restructure development in response to any such change.
Adopting a modular architecture can help you minimise this challenge. As the name implies, a modular architecture uses handy blocks of code to build a system.
So, if you make changes to any one module or sub-system of the application, it does not affect the rest of the modules. As a result, you don’t spend a large chunk of your time modifying your application.
2) Shift towards Mobility
These days, more and more organisations are focusing on a mobile-first approach. Mobiles capture and disseminate information fast, leading to enhanced productivity and swift decision-making. So, it makes sense to go the mobile way.
As per a recent study, the global market for enterprise mobility is estimated to reach $151 billion by 2027, up from $19 billion in 2019.
This simply suggests that if you don’t adopt the mobile platform sooner or later, you may not remain viable a few years down the line.
Solution: Instead of building a heavy mobile application, focus on making an easy transition to mobile by including all essential features on the mobile platform.
As a good user experience is critical to mobile applications, it’s vital that you dedicate ample time to building an intuitive interface. Create layouts and fields in such a manner that they fit the mobile screen easily.
3) Stringent Security Requirements
As discussed above, enterprise applications are complex systems that combine different services necessary for the functioning of a company. These systems constantly undergo change as new elements are added and the existing ones get modified.
Under such a scenario, keeping business-critical secure becomes increasingly difficult. If security isn’t given due consideration, the enterprise remains vulnerable to cyberattacks leaking corporate documents as well as customer data.
Solution: To ward off such issues, all security measures should be in place. A fool proof defence system with encryptions and firewalls at the application, host and network level is a must. Reliable security software should be used to secure the application, and the same should be updated and patched regularly.
In addition, application vulnerability tests should be conducted on a regular basis. These tests identify if the application, server and back-end services have any potential loopholes that hackers can exploit to their advantage. Regulating user permissions are also a priority.
4) Handling large amounts of data
Organisations generate a humongous amount of data every single day. Mere storage of this data can be overwhelming, not to mention processing and analysing it. Besides, most of this data is unstructured; this makes data management even more daunting.
Furthermore, such a high volume of data can shoot up the storage costs and data center costs for the company. Also, the end-users may experience a sluggish loading of the application.
Solution: To begin with, move all the inactive data to a Big Data platform (e.g. Hadoop) that offers security and maintenance in addition to storage. Use a cloud-based platform for the same. The active data can be housed on the company’s infrastructure.
Locate the data emanating from different subs-systems of the application and try to narrow down the sources of data. Once curated and organized, this data can unravel useful insights that can amplify the productivity of the organisation.
5) Technological Innovation
Owing to the research and innovation happening on the technology front, new changes are happening every now and then. Traditional hardware has been replaced with cloud in many organisations. In addition, big data analytics and AI-ML are gaining tremendous traction among modern businesses.
Given the pace at which things are changing, what’s trending now may become out-of-date a few years down the line. Building future-proof applications that stand the test of time can help development companies stay relevant in these circumstances.
Solution: Enterprise application developers need to stay vigilant and keep a track of the ongoing changes and trends. Devising a strategy that’s in line with the latest technological innovation will prepare them for what’s about to come.
6) Post-release Support and Maintenance
Supporting and maintaining an application is as important as developing it. This involves making sure the application runs smoothly and removing defects or vulnerabilities as quickly as they are detected.
So, if a flaw is noticed in the app’s code, it should be fixed duly; else the organisation is likely to lose a large amount of its earnings owing to disruption in its operations.
Solution: Again, adopting a modular architecture is going to make your life easy. This way, if some changes are implemented in the ERP system, other systems (e.g. CRM) that operate independently of the ERP will not be affected.
The Bottom Line
While there’s no denying that enterprise application development is fraught with challenges at every stage, these can be overcome by building a proper blueprint for development and staying abreast of the changes in the business and technology space. Adopting a flexible approach can prevent your precious hours from getting wasted during and after development.
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