6 steps to building successful business applications
While digital transformation involves all areas of your clients ‘business, one of the fastest ways to help them through that transition is to rethink your clients’ business applications strategy.
As a development company, your role is no longer simply to program what clients request, you have to be proactive and help them define what strategy they have to follow, what type of applications, how to implement them, etc … In other words, you must lead the strategy of business applications of your current and potential customers.
Now, rethinking an enterprise application strategy does not simply mean moving away from legacy systems (obsolete, made in programming languages or discontinued platforms …) and implementing new SaaS solutions. It really means reaching out to customers and studying their business, what they do on a day-to-day basis, to determine what would make them more profitable and successful.
In this article, we have identified 6 tips for creating a successful business application strategy that helps your customers work smarter and more efficiently:
1 Evaluate how your clients’ employees work
Your customers and their employees (in short, the users of your applications) work in different locations throughout the day. While many strategies would advocate a mobile-first approach to the future (which would not be wrong in principle), check where most client employees spend their time while on the job.
To this day, many employees of your clients / users still spend a lot of time behind a computer screen with a keyboard (as I am now writing on this blog)). Mobile and the whole issue of mobility in general is important, but think about all channels, for example: the devices, applications and tools that your customers and their employees use to do their work.
Business applications and data must be accessible from all the different channels employees use to simplify the way they access information, and to boost their productivity and efficiency.
2 Think compact business applications
In the development of business applications there is a tendency to program more and more compact applications, instead of those elephantine applications and expensive software development projects that never end. As a development company, you should focus – whenever possible – on offering simple solutions to complex problems.
Why? Customers and their employees are overwhelmed with complicated workflows that seem to have no end, and that in the end end up delaying the project in all its phases (analysis, development and implementation).
Instead, businesses today want the most urgent part of their workflow to be automated first and implemented first, and to get it done faster. Then, in a second phase, the next part of the project can be implemented. This helps customers and their employees focus on smaller, more manageable work processes that can be completed quickly.
The fact that you deliver the software in «pills» to your clients does not mean that you do not have to be clear about all the analysis and complete flows from the beginning as indicated in point 1. Another thing is that your employees client only access the application or the parts of the application that they actually use, regardless of the integrations behind it or the calls that the software makes to data from other modules.
Apply the 80/20 rule: focus your design effort on 20% of the key features of your software. Spend time redesigning the critical 20% of your apps. Don’t forget that 80% of the users’ work on your software is done with only 20% of the code. Resources are limited and you have to choose well where you invest your time and money. Focus your energy on what really matters.
3 Customize everything you can, but starting from a standard
Too often, we present users with too much data to make a rational decision. Instead, users prefer to access only a subset of data that has been customized to their specific needs. Think about the applications you use in your personal life. Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest personalize and deliver content based on your preferences and search history.
You receive notifications for things that need immediate attention (or are perceived as very important) and you have the option to check your personalized feed during downtime to see what you have missed. Business applications must take the same approach to create an engaging experience that
encourages software adoption and boosts business productivity.
Personalization does not mean that each application you develop for each company has to be tailor-made. What it means is that you have to be able to create customizable software, such as Velneo’s vERP business software template, designed and conceived to be customized for each type of industry / customer.
4 Use machine learning and artificial intelligence
If you add up all the time that a user in a week spends looking for information between various systems to make a decision in the company, the total sum can be up to 8 hours. A full business day! This is no longer acceptable. Machine learning and artificial intelligence will make finding relevant information more effective in the business.
Machine learning can overcome obstacles – like information silos and unstructured data – that prevent you from getting the information you need to do your job, providing users with the exact data they need when they need it.
You can monitor past information needs and searches to bring out what is being searched for in everyday systems, or you can go even further and monitor important changes in business systems and display personalized updates to users before they themselves. users know they need them.
Although these technologies are still very green, many companies are beginning to adopt them to simplify the way their teams work.
5 Start with small things that add high value
Deploying new systems and applications to transform the way your clients’ businesses work is and will be a daunting task. Do not hesitate…
So start with small use cases, but very high value. Prioritize those applications and workflows that will have an immediate impact on your client, their employees and their business.
So when customers see the results, you can move forward with more freedom and focus on expanding use cases, which will benefit your customer from the new way of doing things. It is a process that feeds itself and that will generate more credibility.
6 Choose a specialized tool
Finally, to say that as technology advances, programming languages and specialized development platforms are being developed, each one designed for a purpose. If you make business applications and management software, choose an enterprise application development platform.
In order to strictly follow all the advice listed in this article, it is essential to be able to focus on the client. And to be able to focus on customer problems, you need a technology that makes the development of applications, their modification and maintenance as easy as possible.