Now that the lines between the consumer arena and the enterprise are blurring more than ever before, business leaders are finding it more difficult to discern what constitutes a true corporate software application. While it may not seem like a major point of contention, it's actually quite important that decision-makers recognize the characteristics of an authentic enterprise app and ensure that their organizations only deploy these services to ensure maximum security and performance. Here are a handful of criteria that must be considered in the app selection process:
1. Strong vertical specificity: The primary difference between enterprise applications and their consumer counterparts is that the former tend to be built with a specific industry and purpose in mind, while the latter are engineered for general, low-stakes use. For example, a personal file-sharing solution may be developed with a handful of helpful organizational features for the typical user, while the enterprise version will include a range of vertical-centric file structures and workflows for particular industry operations. Of course, leaders must find the solution right for their needs.
2. Cross-platform capabilities: Whether it needs to be accessed in the back office, on the road or at the construction site itself, an authentic enterprise application will offer the same set of powerful features no matter the situation. This means that the software must be engineered with cross-platform dynamics in mind, as well as the ability to synchronize data sets across every user device imaginable. As Enterprise Apps Today pointed out, a business should also be ready to create a comprehensive mobile environment for managers, supervisors and all ground-level employees.
"Users are looking for apps that don't just allow them to look up information in separate data sources; they are looking for seamless interactions with their enterprise that enable them to get stuff done," said Peter Price, CEO of Webalo. "I want to approve employee-related requests from my smartphone or tablet, like expenses on paid time off."
3. On and offline functionality: Every construction manager knows that on the job site, Internet connections come and go. However, strong enterprise apps are capable of overcoming the ebb and flow of Web connectivity, maintaining its essential functionality regardless of Wi-Fi status. On the other hand, consumer-grade apps are only capable of running when a connection is available. Construction teams that can rely on enterprise apps at all times are sure to achieve higher levels of performance than competitors with outdated solutions.
4. Total IT department control: Consumer apps, while easy to download and deploy, often fall short when it comes time for IT administrators to customize the solutions for unique business needs and end-user preferences. The ability to tweak the functionality of a software system is sure sign that an application is geared for the enterprise, and a company will find much more long-term value in such solutions, especially as technical demands evolve over time. It's better to have a flexible, full-featured software deployment than one that must be completely updated every few months.