A guide to enterprise software development: where to start and how to avoid budget overruns

Iryna Hnatiuk


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March 3, 2024


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Enterprise systems help integrate various business functions across an organization. As good as it sounds, developing an enterprise system has hidden pitfalls that can affect your spending. Read our in-depth guide to get the best out of enterprise software development.

What is enterprise software development?

Enterprise software development focuses on a company’s needs rather than individual user’s needs. Since enterprise apps are used within a company, they are developed based on the internal environment and business processes. Organizations of different sizes and industries have different demands. The goal of enterprise applications is to fulfill a company’s specific needs and meet specific business goals.

The majority of modern enterprise systems implement the SaaS model when software is developed using web technologies and is hosted on a cloud. Sofware as a service approach ensures rapid performance and flexibility of a system. However, some organizations still prefer traditional desktop apps as they provide greater security and control.

The three main types of enterprise systems

The first and foremost task of any enterprise software is to store, process, and transfer data. Most systems provide various workflow automation and document management tools designed for a specific industry or company’s activity field. The larger the organization, the more complex system they need. For example, large corporations combine several applications or choose integrated enterprise systems for their supply chain, inventory, accounting, and sales management.

Here are the most common types of enterprise software used in retail, pharmacy, real estate, manufacturing, and other industries.

Customer relationship management systems

Customer retention can be challenging. Companies make tremendous efforts to find new clients, but they put even more resources into establishing solid relationships with existing customers. CRM systems centralize and streamline all customer-related operations by gathering, categorizing, and analyzing customer data from various channels. That’s why the CRM market keeps growing year after year and will reach $114,4 billion by 2027.

The benefits of using CRM systems include:

  • Defining consumer trends and insights based on customer behavior
  • Enhancing the quality of brand communication and client service
  • Automating sales funnels
  • Increasing customer retention rates
  • Protecting customer data privacy
  • Engaging customers through loyalty campaigns and other marketing tools

Here are the top requested features for CRM software:

  • Contact management
  • Interaction tracking
  • Scheduling
  • Email marketing
  • Pipeline monitoring
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Integration with other platforms
  • Mobile accessibility
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Workflow automation

Summing up, CRM systems help companies sell faster and provide better customer service. To keep all business processes in one place, many organizations integrate CRM within ERP systems.

Enterprise resource planning systems

ERP solutions are used to manage day-to-day business activities, including planning, budgeting, procurement, human resources, risk management, etc. ERP systems tie together different business processes and ensure safe data flow within an organization. This type of software is crucial for managing medium and large-sized businesses. The global ERP market worth will hit $48,22 billion by 2022.

There are numerous benefits of using ERP software:

  • Lower operational costs thanks to optimized business processes
  • Data and infrastructure consistency across departments
  • Risk reduction through data integrity and control
  • Actionable insights based on real-time data analysis
  • Enhanced cross-team and in-team collaboration
  • Workflow efficiency
  • Lower maintenance costs

Source: PanoramaUltra Consultants

The most requested features for ERP systems include:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Human resources
  • Planning
  • Marketing
  • CRM
  • Inventory management
  • Order management
  • Invoicing
  • Project management
  • Scheduling
  • Reporting

Although ERP solutions offer great opportunities for business growth, not every company can fully leverage them. To get the most out of ERP software, make sure it’s accessible for employees and aligns with current company processes. The safest option would be to choose software development services that combine ERP development with excellent client support, software maintenance, and integration.

Supply chain management systems

According to The BCI report, 69% of companies don’t have total visibility over their supply chain operations. Supply chain management systems increase visibility and control throughout supply chain activities. SCM applications are involved throughout the whole supply chain lifecycle, from production to logistics and warehouse management. They take care of end-to-end supply chain transactions, data and document flow, supplier relationships, and other related processes.

The advantages of using SCM systems include:

  • Lower costs and better financial control
  • Eliminating logistical errors and other risks
  • Maximizing customer value
  • Effective forecasting and decision-making
  • Faster time-to-market
  • Better customer service and communication

Source: Statista

Here is the essential functionality of supply chain management software:

  • Inventory planning
  • Warehouse management
  • Logistics
  • Returns management
  • Sourcing and supplier management
  • Order management
  • Inventory management
  • Order management
  • Data analytics
  • Procurement
  • Production lines maintenance

Supply chain management software development is vital for companies looking to keep up with the market competition. The best option is to partner with a company that provides custom software development services. This way, you get a system that seamlessly integrates into your workflow and serves your specific company needs.

The difference between enterprise software development and new software product development

Technically, enterprise software development is a niche in software development. The main difference lies in the context of its use. While general software development refers to both customer-focused and business-focused products, enterprise software development targets specific organizations within a specific industry.

When it comes to functionality, there are several key aspects of enterprise systems:

  • Interconnectivity. iERP systems share all operational data in real-time and facilitate simultaneous workflows for hundreds of users. It also integrates with other tools, devices, and software.
  • Scalability. As a company’s workload increases, the capabilities of ERP software can be expanded without redesigning. For example, you can expand storage capacity or transaction limit.
  • Cloud storage. Since enterprise software handles large amounts of data, it needs a reliable storage solution. Cloud hosting keeps data safe and lowers operational and maintenance costs.
  • Microservice architecture. This approach divides system features into services that run independently. Microservice architecture provides agility and enhances user performance.
  • Rapid performance. High-speed and error-free performance is essential for enterprise solutions.
  • Security. ERP software requires multiple layers of data protection, from protocol encryption to reliable user authentication and secure server infrastructure.

But enough of theory for now, let’s get down practice! In the following chapters, we will talk about the peculiarities of developing enterprise systems. 

6 steps of enterprise software development lifecycle

The development of enterprise software requires a thorough preparation, careful planning, and well-established processes. A clear vision of the project’s goal and qualified implementation get a fair opportunity to penetrate the market and even set an industry standard.

Here is your step-by-step guide to efficient enterprise software development.

Step 1: Product discovery

The product discovery phase involves an in-depth analysis of the organization’s needs. The process starts by gathering requirements from project stakeholders and adapting existing ideas to current workflows. In this way, you can answer some important questions that will affect the course of your enterprise software development project.

Step 2: Planning and estimating

Planning determines the project roadmap for meeting business goals, budget, and deadlines. Effective planning helps allocate resources wisely and avoid typical stumbling blocks during software product development. With detailed technical specifications at hand, you can identify the rough estimates for delivering an MVP.

Step 3: Design

Armed with the results gathered in the discovery phase, product designers step into customer’s shoes and walk through multiple use scenarios. After determining usability logic, designers create functional prototypes of the future enterprise system. This approach eliminates the risks of system redesign at a later stage.

Step 4: Development

From now on, developers come into play: they will set up the cloud environment and create the business logic and the user interface. Focusing on the core features is critical while developing software for the enterprise. Remember that you don’t need the most advanced software. You need software that suits your organization and delivers business value. 

Step 5: Testing

The quality assurance team will perform a series of manual and automated tests to ensure the quality of code and user experience, including functional, load, compatibility, performance, and security testing. Often it means going back to the previous stage to fix bugs and improve performance, but worry not — it’s a good thing. It’s always better to find the bug yourself than letting users find the bug for you.

Step 6: Deployment and maintenance

At this stage, the freshly built and tested product moves to a production environment where users can see and try it out. Now is the best time to fine-tune your enterprise system by adding new features and improvements according to user feedback.

Best practices that will help you avoid budget overruns

Global enterprise implementation projects exceed costs by an average of 33%, according to Statista. Unrealistic financial planning, vague implementation approach, and messy internal processes make the top reasons for budget overruns. Follow these best practices to stay within your enterprise software development project’s budget.

Clarify project goals

An enterprise system solves particular problems and performs particular tasks. Outline the core objectives for your enterprise development project and prepare clear technical specifications.

Hire experienced developers

If you don’t have in-house developers, consider outsourcing a software development team. You will get the best talent under one roof, including engineers, UX/UI designers, a project manager, QA specialists, and DevOps. Hire software developers in Ukraine with experience in enterprise software development, transparent hiring policy, and a deep understanding of your business domain.

Set reasonable deadlines

It’s hard to find a balance between being realistic, underperforming, and rushing things up. Consult someone with a background in enterprise software development to understand the project scope and timeframes better.

Think about data conversion

In many cases, the organization’s data (master, transactional, historical data) needs to be converted and restructured before uploading into the new system. Select the type of data to convert in advance and include it into your budget plan to save valuable time in the later stages.

Test software in line with the development

The collaboration between software engineers and QA should go in parallel with development. By testing enterprise software throughout the entire development lifecycle, you will increase the quality of code and speed up time to market.

Enterprise software development with a dedicated development team

The future of every company relies on keeping pace with the market. At Blackthorn Vision, we merge the most effective technologies with industry-specific expertise to fit your business objectives. Our well-organized dedicated development team in Ukraine accelerates product quality and pipeline, helping to reach a competitive edge. From building MVP for web and desktop applications to turnkey custom software development services, we deliver tangible business value to our clients.

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