In the business world, the word “business enablement” is often used, although not many really know or understand its true meaning. So, what is business enablement? It is the process of enabling and empowering business users and putting them in a position to take decisions or make changes for efficient business practice – without IT being an obstruction. True business enablement occurs when the individuals who understand the current state of business as well as its future opportunities, have the capability to alleviate bottlenecks to growth and progress – without making the business vulnerable to security concerns. It’s about aiding businesses to adapt and modify processes without running into roadblocks. It requires business users to manage processes and deliver real agility.
Although business enablement typically focuses on business technology and the potential it has to either facilitate or disrupt progress, that’s not where it ends. Yes, business enablement is deeply connected to technology but sometimes, business technology can keep an organization from realizing organic growth or creating new opportunities. At its core, business enablement is about driving the business towards newer heights – either in the form of simplification of business processes, productivity of employees, throughput or efficiency, as well as customer satisfaction. One way to drive effective business enablement is by leveraging custom applications; the ability to develop custom business applications that facilitate this new workflow dynamic is critical to business enablement. True business enablement not only has the potential to differentiate your business from that of your competitors, but can also aid in employee retention.
Benefits of developing custom applications
When managing an enterprise, out-of-the-box solutions don’t always fit all business needs. Given the fact that every business is unique, it makes sense to have applications that compliment and optimize your internal processes. That’s why custom applications are gaining such momentum; they let you customize your business application interface while taking care of the back-end processes such as uptime, server infrastructure, and security. Reports suggest that on an average, organizations are able to save about 7.5 hours per employee per week by using custom applications, while 82% of business owners believe that they help in earning additional business revenues. Here are 5 benefits of developing custom applications for business enablement:
1. Automated processes
For effective business enablement, data needs to easily flow between disparate systems. Instead of manually exporting, converting, and re-uploading data into every new system, custom applications automate the process and streamline the flow of data. When data flows seamlessly between systems, the end result is better integration, better throughput, and better efficiency.
2. Enhanced business efficiency
Custom applications are typically business focused. Since they are developed based on the nature of your business, target audiences, and the advantages that are associated with your business, they help drive higher business efficiency. Statistics say that custom applications can enhance the efficiency of businesses by almost 50%. In addition, since they are extremely user-friendly; they aid in driving a better output and are therefore, an important driver for business enablement.
3. Easy integration with external systems
Since custom applications are built taking into consideration your current business environment, they are guaranteed to integrate well with external systems and function without any error. Pre-built integration capabilities ensure you don’t spend time or money hiring an IT consultant or third-party to do the integration for you. Integration with systems across the enterprise fuels better collaboration, and provides end-to-end visibility into the business, allowing business users to take decisions that are data-driven, accurate, and timely.
4. Improved customer relationships
Custom applications often offer a plethora of reporting tools that help you keep track of essential business metrics. By having insights into customer behavior, purchase history, as well as future needs, you can offer products that perfectly fit those needs. With access to critical customer data at your fingertips, you can organize, analyze, and present data more efficiently, and drive decisions that forge better, long-term relationships with your customers.
5. Reduced costs
For startups and small businesses, every penny counts. Organizations that look to minimize spending on infrastructure – including setting up and maintaining servers, managing IT staff, and investing in the latest tools and technologies – can benefit in a large way from custom applications. By opting to build a custom application, you can not only save money on infrastructure and data security, but on scalability as well. Since platforms that provide custom applications charge according to the feature set you require, number of users and data storage, you can save up on big upfront investments and only pay for what you need and use.
Necessities for effective custom applications
When you set out to purchase a business application, no matter what configuration you’re promised, you will always need to manipulate some data to connect your systems together, or look past some efficiencies which will ultimately bring down your ROI. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can opt for custom applications and leverage all the benefits they offer – without having to make massive upfront investments. If you’re looking to build your own custom application, here are some aspects you need to keep in mind:
1. Responsive design
While most out-of-the-box applications offer a certain degree of responsive design, custom applications can be designed to deliver the level of contextual and personalized experience you desire. After all, it is only through a good user interface that organizations access the data they need, successfully unearth insights, act on new ideas, and drive better agility. Make sure to invest time in understanding user needs through usability research. Once you have a good idea of what users expect, you can move ahead and design an interface that perfectly fits their needs.
2. Maintenance and support
When you build custom applications for a business, you need to make sure they are easy to maintain and support. Have a lean mindset and follow agile methodologies to be nimble to changes. Focus on continuous improvement and incremental updates to improve time-to-market. Make sure to have complete control over the application, so you don’t have to depend on third-party teams or companies for maintenance and support.
While generic business applications might function smoothly with other systems, custom applications are built taking into consideration specific business needs. To get the most out of any custom application, it is important that it integrates well with a variety of internal and external systems; this can enable users to spend more time on tasks that matter, and less on moving data from one place to another. So, make sure to keep the integration process smooth and simple, and ensure your custom application integrates and functions well – without any errors.
4. End user experience
Since custom applications can be tailored to meet the ever-changing business needs of modern enterprises, they enable business users to keep up with the growing business demands. For effective business enablement, it is important that the end-user experience is extremely fluidic. Make sure the UI and functionalities of the custom application are future-ready. Since it might be very difficult to overhaul and customize the application from scratch in short span of time, always consider the future business goals while developing a custom application.
Achieve strategic business goals
As business systems get increasingly complex, and companies cater to very niche markets, customization in application development and management is slowly becoming the norm. Custom applications offer significant advantages over off-the-shelf solutions – especially when it comes to business enablement and digital transformation. When you’re looking to drive business enablement, you need more than a just a technology solution. You need a custom application that is capable of providing a pathway to achieving strategic business goals and building sustainable growth. But “custom” doesn’t necessarily mean “expensive”; you can leverage existing software and customize with plug-ins and add-ons and gain all the customization benefits without burning a hole in your pocket.
About the Author – Manan Thakkar
Manan Thakkar is a Senior Solutions Architect who spearheads Synoptek’s strategic initiatives to maximize customer benefits. His expertise lies in enterprise consulting and solution designing globally and he plays a key role in institutionalizing customized application development in various technologies, to position Synoptek’s services in leading enterprises.
Contributing Author: Malavika Nityanandam