This article gives an overview of what business application development is and why it’s important.
Today, more people spend time on mobile apps available on their smartphones. The revelation that 85% of shoppers prefer apps over mobile websites for online shopping should motivate companies to develop apps that improve business operations.
Besides increasing customer engagement rates, business apps can also help streamline workflows, increase efficiency and facilitate higher workplace productivity. This post takes a deep dive into business application development, how it’s done, and how it can benefit an organization.
So, What is Business Application Development?
Business application development is the creation or development of software programs. Software programs perform various business functions, including improving and tracking productivity across the company and processing large-size enterprise data. Like all other software development processes, enterprise application development goes through a 5-staged lifecycle:
- Planning and Analysis
- Development & Coding
- Software Testing
- Maintenance and Application Support
The Business Application Development Procedure
The following are the core steps in a business application development process:
Planning and Analysis
All things considered, planning and analysis is the most fundamental phase of any business app development project.
During this phase, experts such as business analysts, project managers, and domain experts research and analyze business requirements that should be included in the app. Specifically, business analysts develop business requirements documents to guide the developers.
They compile use cases and share crucial customer information with the project team. The analysis aims to ensure technical feasibility and quality assurance. It also helps identify potential risks beforehand that could prevent the app from succeeding.
Next is designing the product architecture. During this stage, technical architects and lead developers create a high-level design plan for the app and the system. This encompasses the delivery of requirements used to create the Design Document Specification (DDS). The document provides a detailed list of the security processes, database tables to be added, hardware and system requirements, and new transactions to be defined.
Developing and Coding
This phase involves creating and integrating crucial data into the database. A programmer defines programming language requirements while an application developer creates the interface according to the conducted unit testing and coding guidelines. This is a crucial stage that should involve the insights of the business analysts.
Expert testers test the app against the preset requirements to ensure the app meets the users’ needs. Typically, all tests are done as functional testing services and encompass non-functional testing, acceptance testing, unit testing, integration testing, and system testing.
Maintenance and Application Support
After successful testing, the system is in maintenance mode in a live business software environment. Typically, all apps are prone to issues no matter their sophistication levels, the number of users, and the robustness of the QA testing. Expert routine maintenance is crucial to address problems and ensure the app is up to date on relevant upgrades.
Types of Business Applications Development
As mentioned earlier, a business application is a software solution that provides specific business functionality. Business applications can be used internally, externally, and in combination with other business apps. These applications can be purchased as off-shelf solutions or built-in houses. There are generally three types of business apps to choose from depending on your needs and budget:
First, business-to-business apps are used between business partners. For example, manufacturers and retailers or resellers and suppliers. The apps are typically accessed using dedicated lines such as bulk order submission web service.
Significantly, B2B applications simplify complex business processes and streamline business operations. They are used by businesses to connect with other businesses, clients, employees, and stakeholders. Some of the most common B2B applications include:
- Buy-side B2B enterprise application: Buy-side B2B applications automate and facilitate business procurement and purchasing processes. Some B2B applications feature pre-negotiated pricing to avoid time-consuming price haggling. Others feature an automated procurement approval process to give you complete control over all your business procurements.
- Sell-side B2B enterprise application: These apps are used by companies to sell or market their goods and services to other companies and not to the consuming public directly. The apps can be integrated into personal B2B sites.
- E-marketplace B2B enterprise application: As the name suggests, these are B2B applications for e-marketplaces. They connect service providers and buyers so they can carry out their business transactions on an intermediary online marketplace.
Second, business customer apps are specifically designed for customers. These are undoubtedly the most well-known types of apps commonly found in places such as the app store. The main goal of B2C apps is to make life easier for customers by helping them complete specific tasks quickly. There are various forms of B2C apps:
- eCommerce apps: An eCommerce app is an application that serves as a virtual shop for retailers. Some of the popular eCommerce apps out there include Shopify, Zyro, Wix, and BigCommerce.
- Loyalty apps: Loyalty apps allow customers to earn and track loyalty points via a mobile device. The points translate to rewards that can be redeemed in various ways. Customers earn points by shopping, referring friends, or sharing their experiences.
- Stand-alone apps: Some stand-alone apps also fall under B2C apps. These apps run locally on the device and don’t require anything else to be functional. Some examples of stand-alone apps include a business calculator, Autodesk 3D Max, a game, a utility, or a social media platform.
Generally, B2C apps tend to be more labor-intensive and costlier to implement. This is because they require frequent updates in response to user feedback and customers’ changing needs.
Since they rely on regular users and downloads to determine their success, they must be continually maintained and updated. In general, B2C applications should be more competitive since you rely on the apps to make sales.
Finally, internal apps are dedicated to internal use. These are core enterprise apps for crucial business functionality, such as the HR and Internal ERP systems. There are several types of internal application apps used by businesses.
Business application examples include;
- Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS)
- Inventory Control Systems
- Communication Software
- Accounting Software
- Service Management Solutions
- Reservation Software
- Schedule Management Systems
- Demand Forecasting Software
How Business Apps Benefit an Organization
The following benefits of business applications for organizations:
Boost Efficiency and Increase Productivity
Internal apps can greatly increase employee efficiency rates by streamlining work processes. Business apps enhance a company’s productivity and performance.
Apps make the lives of your workers easier by handling routine, repetitive tasks so employees can focus on more valuable tasks. They can also improve team collaboration, facilitate more remote work and save you valuable time and money.
Improve Workplace Communications
Your employees need to have around-the-clock access to crucial business information. It is essential to keep them well-informed and well-connected. Business apps can simplify workplace communication by providing crucial information to your workforces, such as sales tools, business news, corporate directories, security, and more.
Strengthens Customer Relationships
Studies show that 76% of consumers prefer shopping on their phones to save time. Besides, payments through a mobile application are expected to increase to 52.2% by 2023 from the current 41.8%.
These are just a few reasons you should invest in a custom app to strengthen customer relationships. Customers no longer want to wait for websites to load. They enjoy the experience that a fast and easy-to-access app offers. Apps are used as engagement tools to optimize campaigns and deals.
Provides Customer Insights
A business app can be custom-made to suit your customer’s needs and preferences. These preferences provide significant insights that inform your strategic planning. You can also use a mobile app to collect suggestions and feedback from your customers.
Data and feedback collected from apps can inform your marketing campaigns. The ability to gain real-time information on business activities can help enhance business operations and improve customer experience.
Optimizes Marketing Strategies
A mobile app can optimize your marketing strategy to supplement a brand’s offline experience and allow your business to connect with customers and drive sales.
Studies show prospects are more likely to purchase after interacting with a brand via an app. Mobile business applications are integral tools for both marketers and consumers today.
You can optimize your app to develop a direct marketing channel that allows you to push diverse targeted information in real-time at each stage of customer experience.
Reduce Costly Errors and Mistakes
In any business operation, mistakes and errors can occur. Errors can lead to loss of revenues, heavy fines, and damages to reputations. Business apps are great tools that can help reduce the occurrence of errors. A custom business application can help your employees verify essential customer information at a moment’s notice.
Contact Us for All Your Custom Business Application Development Services
Developing a custom application helps your business stay relevant in the digital era. Business apps help improve customer relationships and build brand loyalty. They also optimize workflows to enhance workplace efficiency, increase productivity, reduce errors and cut costs.
If you need help developing a B2B, B2C, or internal business app for your company, the development team at IncWorx Consulting is happy to assist. Our developers leverage the Power Platform from Microsoft to develop business applications that meet your business needs.
Power Platform combines low-code software development, AU bot development, workflow automation, and data analytics. We handle custom business app development and application modernization of existing applications. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.