Management software is no longer only necessary for large corporations with complicated operations. Studies show that 31% of all businesses have completely automated at least one internal process. As these numbers continue to rise, many more startups and growing companies are considering adopting business solutions.
With enterprise application software, businesses of all sizes can optimize their time, resource, and employee management through automation. Technologies within these systems, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, continue to adapt, making automation much more feasible. Therefore, owners should discover precisely what enterprise application entails and how it can help improve their business's services and processes.
What is an Enterprise Application?
First and foremost, an enterprise is a business or an organization's economic sector, such as an initiative. Based on the term's broad definition, an enterprise can refer to a startup, entrepreneur, or project. However, most people use the term to describe a large corporation that encompasses a vast range of operations and activities. Aside from businesses, enterprises include government enterprises, school districts, and non-profit organizations.
Within any type of enterprise, several employees and processes are working simultaneously to perform various tasks. Some enterprises may orchestrate financial services while others handle sales, inventory, and accounts receivable. Regardless, many enterprises require different types of software to streamline various activities. This is where enterprise applications come in.
An enterprise application (EA) is a business software system that orchestrates a specific operation. There are many different types of EA, each containing its own unique set of tools and functions to perform a task. With EA, businesses can minimize human intervention, boost productivity, and optimize operational efficiency through automation. This enables companies to scale without restraint or worry of outgrowing traditional management methods.
Combining multiple types of EA creates a network of solutions, improving the enterprise's business intelligence. Aside from activity performance, EA also improves the data quality and integrity by streamlining the information exchange. With EA, businesses no longer have to use manual data sharing practices, such as physical paperwork. Instead, teams can update members with real-time information via software, saving time, energy, and paper waste.
Examples of Enterprise Application
There are many different types of EA, each depending on the company's business scope and industry.
Accounting and Billing
Accounting and billing software handles cash flow, from incoming customer payments to outgoing supplier invoices. These solutions are what keep track of enterprises' monetary value and budgets. Without an accounting or billing system, businesses could not efficiently track and record their expenses or profitability.
Business intelligence (BI) is the platform of integrated software that defines, combines, and aggregates large volumes of data. Enterprises typically use their BI to develop actionable insights, improve decision-making, and create predictive models. When companies use their BI correctly, they can identify their weaknesses, strengths, risks, and opportunities.
Enterprise Content Management
Enterprise content management (ECM) software can include one or multiple applications that handle digital content. ECM software stores, manages, and distributes digital content across programmed platforms, from its creation to its deletion. Enterprises typically use ECM to fill out product sites, blogs, articles, and newsletters to generate new leads.
Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems allow companies to collect and manage incoming client information so they can secure leads and retention. CRM has a range of functions, from facilitating sales to making business information accessible to customers. Without CRM, enterprises are unable to maintain their most important asset.
Enterprise Resource Planning
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions manage a company's internal processes to improve resource allocation and budgeting. ERP software typically includes the finance, inventory, human resources, and marketing departments to collaborate all relevant data. With integrated information, ERP systems can automate various parts of the planning process.
Point-of-sale (POS) software is what orchestrates and records customer transactions so businesses can monitor their income and front-end inventory. Typically, retailers such as restaurants and boutiques utilize POS solutions to manage their in-store merchandise and purchases. POS software also enables companies to accept credit cards, checks, and cash payments.
Supply Chain Management
Supply chain management (SCM) solutions enable enterprises to handle internal processes and third-party partners throughout their supply chain. Therefore, businesses can establish a direct connection between vendors, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. This eliminates miscommunication between companies and improves supply chain visibility.
Inventory management software monitors all incoming and outgoing products so businesses can maintain healthy stock levels. Advanced solutions alert users when demand picks up and levels deplete dangerously low. This enables warehouse managers to generate a purchase order immediately to avoid stockouts.
Inventory ordering software is typically separate from the inventory control system, as it directly links enterprises to their primary suppliers. With an ordering solution, managers can pull product catalogs, compare vendor pricing, and generate digital purchase orders. Sophisticated models even consolidate shipments, saving businesses order and handling costs.
Backup software provides a reliable recovery method if enterprises experience system malfunctions, power outages, or other technical troubles. This solution acts as a security measure to ensure there is a copy of every data set in case of emergency. It also offers additional data storage for both legacy and cloud-based software.
Enterprise Asset Management
Enterprise asset management (EAM) software aims to collaborate and centralize internal processes, from management to administration practices. While this may seem similar to ERP, EAM focuses primarily on tasks that revolve around protecting assets. This typically means tracing the lifecycle of each asset, from procurement and maintenance to replacement.
Master Database Management
Master database management (MDM) solutions pull the most critical information from each software to create a master file. This master file acts as a central point of reference for all sequential data processes. With an MDM system, companies can expand to new areas and remain compliant by standardizing common practices.
Although not every enterprise uses all of these systems, any business with multiple solutions should consider integration. Having multiple, disconnected systems leaves an opening for unnecessary risks, such as inconsistent data. By integrating existing software, enterprises can streamline data exchange and create a universal interface.
For example, restaurants can integrate their POS, inventory management, and ordering systems to optimize stock control. With every customer order, the POS software sends stock level updates to the remaining solutions in real-time. This way, the establishment can order supplies ahead of time, minimizing the risk of stockouts.
3 Enterprise Application Trends
In order to optimize business intelligence, enterprises must remain aware and adapt to evolving digital market trends. By monitoring emerging preferences, businesses can improve internal processes and their competitive edge.
Trends show that more enterprise applications will use artificial intelligence (AI) to improve operational efficiency and productivity. Studies found that 60% of retailers use AI, which is a 25% increase from the previous year alone.
Much like machine learning technology, AI uses predictive analyses to improve its algorithms with each incoming dataset. This enables the AI to continuously learn the company's patterns in a human fashion. With AI, businesses can improve their decision-making and scalability.
5G networks wirelessly connect users to the internet with even faster service than 4G LTE networks. With these connections, enterprises experience fewer lags, buffering, and better reliability. Although many cell phone companies are using 5G technology to improve the customer experience, its enterprise opportunities are endless. By incorporating this technology into processes, businesses can expand employee mobility rather than confining them to specific departments.
Many businesses already use cloud-computing software to expand their data storage and scalability. However, market trends show that the usage of cloud technology will only increase.
Studies show that 85% of businesses worldwide already use cloud-computing and should increase to 94% by the end of 2021. Therefore, companies should consider how cloud-computing can improve their data storage, productivity, and scalability.
What to Consider Before Investing in Enterprise Application
Although there are many different types of preprogrammed enterprise software available, some businesses prefer to customize their own application. However, this approach is time-consuming and requires extensive IT knowledge, resources, energy, and labor. Studies show that 71% of IT experts report it takes approximately three months just to develop an enterprise application. Therefore, companies should consider the various requirements of an application before investing in a development project.
Speedy Application Development Tools
Whether it's an employee or a customer, users want an application that is fast and responsive. Whatever request the user makes, they expect a speedy response within seconds. In order to achieve this, developers need to leverage various tools that minimize wait times.
These application development tools provide the functionality to increase software responsiveness and agility for quick service.
Almost all EAs contain sensitive business and customer data that must remain within firewalls. To avoid cyber hacks, data breaches, and malware, companies need to invest in robust security measures to protect data. It is vital to remember that critical data is subject to both internal and external threats. This is especially true for businesses that collaborate with third parties, such as vendors and wholesalers.
Advanced applications have built-in security measures that alert IT managers of suspicious activity, breach attempts, and unverified users. Companies can identify weak points within the cloud and connection by implementing security at both network and application levels. For example, the application itself can be secure, but it is open to external risks if the internet server is public. Therefore, developers should consider the best application security practices.
Strict password policies
Multiple-step user verification
Safe data centers
Data recovery programs
The beauty of EA is that it does not restrict company growth as traditional management methods do. If developers craft applications correctly, they can help businesses for years to come as well as meet their current needs. Advanced tools support the internet of things (IoT) data and other business processes to promote scalability. This ensures that enterprises don't outgrow their customized solutions, forcing them to invest in another development project.
For example, many enterprise software utilizes cloud-computing technology to expand data storage and accessibility. With virtually unlimited storage, companies can create digital copies of their physical paperwork to eliminate filing cabinets and off-site storage. This functionality saves space, labor, paper waste, and overhead costs.
Support for Disruptive Innovations
Service and product innovations are well known for disrupting the market and establishing new competitive advantages. However, sophisticated enterprise applications have the flexibility to adopt new innovations, so businesses do not get left behind competitors. With technology, such as predictive analytics, integration, and API management, applications can avoid system disruptions.
A common tool that many developers use is machine learning and automation. These technologies actively learn a business with each data input to improve productivity and provide consistent yields. This ensures that operations run smoothly regardless of employee interaction with the application.
Businesses need to recognize what applications are suitable for their models, customers, and processes before beginning an application development project. Sometimes, needs can be met by using a pre-built, third-party software that is ready to use straight off the shelf.
Other enterprises may require a customized solution because of their unique business model. However, starting an application from the ground up is very expensive and time-consuming. Therefore, owners should weigh their options and objectively determine their current and potential future needs.