5 Strategies to Improve Enterprise SoftwareJune 18, 2013 No Comments
Featured article by Gottfried Sehringer, Vice President of Marketing, Mendix
Today, enterprises are under pressure to build software – traditional desktop applications, mobile apps, tablet apps, or often a mix of them all – that improve efficiency, simplify processes, and delight users. But enterprise apps often take too long to execute, often measured in months, and with that comes wasted time and resources.
To create valuable apps quickly, you should approach software development through a new lens: seeing the collaboration of business and IT. Through proper use of the cloud, a collaborative building platform, and empowered business initiatives, enterprises can create successful software in record time.
Here are five ways enterprises can get business apps deployed faster and more effectively.
Bring IT and business together
Create a corporate culture that aligns business and IT throughout the application development project – and makes everyone want to work together. Both sides should be a part of the process. After all, the business people know what the software should do and what the end result should be, since they’re going to be the ones to use it. But they don’t always know how to get there. The IT folks know how to get IT projects done, ensure security, meet compliance guidelines, and address integration issues – not to mention come up with a user experience that makes the end-users (not just the department heads) say, “Oh, that’s easy!”
Together, these groups act as a check-and-balance system. While business members come up with new ideas and often change their minds during development (often to the consternation of developers, even in the best of scenarios), IT can make sure everyone is on the right track and that the software is meeting requirements. If both sides have complete transparency into the process, and every stakeholder is making sure business and IT stay on the same page, it vastly reduces the risk of getting off the rail. We all want to avoid nasty surprises and to get the final software delivered much faster.
Make collaboration easy
Bringing business and IT together is easier said than done. It involves leadership and effort from all parties. (And parties. Beer’s not a bad idea. Or chocolate.)
And collaboration between teams – who have different priorities – also requires the right tools to make the process as easy as possible, so that it’s integrated in the daily lives of all project team members. For example, while an application is developed, plenty of changes are made along the way. That’s good, since it means minds are changed, improvements are brainstormed, and adjustments are made. Enterprises need to be ready for change, and developers need the proper tools to do so. By using a collaborative, easy-to-use platform, everyone can see updates instantly. The ongoing feedback loop and collaboration among peers creates harmony among everyone working on a complete app. This way, apps can be built faster – and better.
Take advantage of the cloud
In recent years, developing apps and delivering them to users has become a lot less painstaking, thanks to Internet-based tools. The Platform as a Service model gives in-house developers an environment to develop, test, store, and deploy software. It removes a lot of redundant work and automates the delivery of apps. Cloud app platforms allow IT teams to focus on business functionality and forget about issues like technical set-up, availability, security, performance, and scalability, which are often only discovered after an application is in production.
Empower the business
CIOs – the successful ones – provide an environment that gives the business side more flexibility. Business departments can either take over or directly participate in the development of the enterprise software that they’ll use every day, and the liberty to adjust it along the way. When done right, this takes quite a bit of burden off of IT and allows business and IT to create apps that fit the business better, much quicker. This also helps avoid the costly time delays or failed projects that seem to be unavoidable in enterprise software. Having IT and business on the same team, using a single platform allows them to work together, see results quickly, and easily adjust as needed. This provides a company with the opportunity to get a new application to market much quicker – one that that truly supports user needs, instead of launching software that makes users say, “Why doesn’t it do this?!.”
You don’t want to think about programming languages, databases, Web servers, bandwidth, security, backups, or hardware. The more the team developing business applications can focus on the business functionality and not on technical decisions, the faster the software can make it to its intended use – improving the business and making users say, “Hey, this lets me get stuff done.” Spend time on user experience, best practices, process automation, not on the wiring behind the scene. Today’s app platforms provide all of this on demand, just as you expect electricity to come out of the power outlet in the wall.
As enterprises look to develop apps, it’s imperative that business and IT intersect and work together to effectively create a high-quality application. Keeping the user in mind, today’s app platform in the cloud can provide you with the power to create innovative enterprise apps easier and faster than you would have ever imagined.
Gottfried Sehringer, Vice President of Marketing
With a track record in successful technology marketing in high-growth environments, Gottfried Sehringer is responsible for leading the company’s marketing strategy, product marketing, communications and demand generation initiatives. As a marketing innovator Gottfried has led numerous companies into new markets, positioned companies for growth, spearheaded product and technology innovation, forged strategic partnerships, and designed high-velocity marketing models for scale.
Before Mendix, Gottfried held a series of executive positions with SmartBear Software, SAP, Softrax and several other enterprise software organizations. He holds an MBA from the University of Mannheim, Germany.APPLICATION INTEGRATION, Fresh Ink, MOBILE