On-demand software is fundamentally changing the world of business – providing both a way for smaller companies to compete and forcing once-dominant industry names to make sometimes radical changes to stay relevant.
We’ll discuss why below and help you understand the changes you can make to better cater your business model to support on-demand cloud-based solutions.
One of the major disadvantages that comes from a ready-made solution to enterprise problems is the cost of overhead and the lack of flexibility for changing with the demands of a particular business model.
If you want capabilities that will expand with your business (or adjust to valleys in business cycles), that means investing in a solution that will expand with you.
And if your business grows outside of that parameters, you might end up having to reconfigure your systems from the ground up – whether that means investing in new servers or migrating to business software that expands to your needs.
And since software and data expansion is handled on a remote server, scaling up or down is as simple as changing a subscription plan.
So what does that mean for developers?
It means you want as high a ceiling and as low a floor as possible.
The obvious advantage of this decision is that it provides you with a broader potential customer base, but it also can boost your client retention rate.
Migrating to new software can be an expensive and labor-intensive exercise. As long as your software can continue to meet the needs of your invested customers, there’s a strong chance they’ll continue to use your services even as they grow well beyond where they are today.
Breadth of Services
The old way of doing business typically meant cobbling together a variety of different on-site software solutions into something that works for your business.
On-demand solutions allow you to fold a range of services under the same umbrella.
That means that businesses can handle their marketing, finances, sales all under a single software client. It reduces the need for IT in-house because you only have to get in touch with a single provider whenever you have an issue.
The trick for developers is making sure that their code is built out for expansion.
Chances are that you won’t have all the tools and software built in at launch, and the changing needs of businesses mean that you’ll need to adapt as you learn more about the needs of individual customers.
That complicates the planning phase a bit, though.
You need not just determine what to focus on now, but you need to bring on developers and engineers who understand the potential for expansion and write a codebase that can easily fold in the services you’ll want to add later on.
Better Interdepartmental Communications
All the data in the world doesn’t do you a lot of good if it can’t be easily shared, but that’s an issue that on-demand software can resolve.
Having easy access to customer service chats can help your development team fix bugs and build out features customers are most interested in.
Sales teams know what products or services to focus on when they have access to inventory, and HR can evaluate individual sales successes to do their job better.
For enterprise software developers, that means that uniformity of design is important.
Software components that don’t play well with others will minimize the advantages you can potentially provide to businesses.
You need a uniformity of design that makes transitioning from different aspects of your software suite a smooth process. Having UI and UX experts on hand from the start is critical.
While their roles may often be seen as cosmetic, they can have a dramatic effect on adoption.
Deeper Data Analysis
The interrelated nature of software in an on-demand solution is great for spreading the knowledge base throughout your whole enterprise.
It also provides an excellent service in allowing you to delve deeper into what all those data points mean.
That’s why a business intelligence platform needs to be a critical component of any holistic enterprise business solution.
BI platforms allow managers to draw maximum insights from the information available and better understand the correlations between different aspects of a business.
That means that a tightly integrated software solution is a necessity.
It can be hard to know what complex relationships can help a business grow, and it means that a developer needs to create correlations between as many points as possible.
The ability to analyze data in both large and small chunks and the option to compare different data points in seemingly disparate departments is critical if you want to provide business owners with the tools they need.
And it can help developers as well. The relationship between an on-demand software provider and an enterprise is symbiotic because both sides benefit from the success of the other.
The low overhead of on-demand software, along with the versatility of these platforms, has created a ballooning software as a service industry. Enterprises now have a ton of options to choose from, and the crowded market means that prices have remained competitive.
But that also means that there are a lot more options to parse through. While business owners may have to do a little more research to find the provider that’s right for them, it also means that there’s a higher likelihood they’ll find an enterprise model that perfectly suits their business.
At the same time, growing competition means that enterprise developers need to work harder.
That includes assembling a team that understands the demands of the business, is experienced at writing clean and simplistic code and is comfortable working with a variety of different languages.
Enterprise software development can be a lucrative field, but putting together the right team can have a significant impact on your long term success.
Heather Redding is a content manager for rent, hailing from Aurora. Reach out to her on Twitter.