In today’s digital age, it’s safe to assume everyone knows what an “app” is. Thanks to the arrival of sophisticated smartphones and tablets over the last decade, even your grandparents likely know which apps they like most and which are hard to use.
An “enterprise application” is certainly not the Angry Birds, Candy Crush, or Pokemon Go you might be imagining. Given the ubiquity of apps circling around us, many may be fairly uncertain what an enterprise application is, let alone how and why it’s used.
Enterprise applications are rapidly growing in popularity across multiple industries. In fact, CIO.com reports that “spending on enterprise software, particularly cloud services and applications, is expected to grow faster than any other category of IT this year, fueling an overall increase in global spending on technology.”
As organizations equip today’s workforce with enterprise applications, it’s time to learn more about this technology and how it can benefit your organization.
Here is a beginner’s guide to enterprise applications, what they are, why they’re beneficial, and how businesses can use them in 2019.
What are enterprise applications?
Today’s businesses, both large and small, are faced with a ton of challenges that might prevent them from running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Whether it be encouraging effective amounts of communication, managing a balanced financial structure, or accessing and hiring qualified talent, establishing processes that attack these hurdles head-on is easier said than done.
Like an individual might download an app on their smartphone to help them solve personal challenges like creating a schedule, establishing a financial budget, or navigating a new city, enterprise applications aim to do the same for a business or organization.
Enterprise applications are defined as being “designed to integrate computer systems that run all phases of an enterprise’s operations to facilitate cooperation and coordination of work across the enterprise.” For example, an enterprise application can bring together different aspects of an enterprise, such as accounting, human resources, finances, and inventory. Enterprise applications are offered as a helpful tool to assist businesses with the many obstacles they face today.
Examples of enterprise applications
Enterprise application is a pretty broad term. They’re often customized to a business’s needs, and savvy organizations should choose their applications wisely. There are a number of tools that might be included in a given enterprise software suite, ranging anywhere from customer relationship management (CRM) systems, to tools for billing, and even industry-specific solutions for fashion, law-enforcement, or food service.
Here’s more detail on some of the most popular enterprise applications:
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems: Today’s sales professionals can be extremely busy, and at times, a potential client can slip through their fingers without notice.
Unless organizations hire sales representatives with superhuman-level organizational and memory skills, there will be times sales reps will let communication dwindle, possibly missing opportunities to close a deal, upsell, cross-sell, or pitch new products to existing customers.
However, a CRM system can give sales teams a valuable outlook into where they are with each client, while simultaneously pulling together customer contact information and details about previous communication. As PCMag puts it, “Customer relationship management software is a contact list with a brain.”
Many CRM systems include features such as workflow automation, role-based user access, email integration and tracking, and reporting.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems: Many people describe an ERP system as the “brain” of the organization. An ERP system takes all the different parts of a business, digitizes them, and creates networks between them. In particular, an ERP system can integrate an organization’s financial information. Without an integrated system, individual departments, such as finance, sales, and so on, need to rely on separate systems, each of which will likely have different revenue and expense numbers. Using an ERP ensures all members of the organization are working from the same core records and up-to-date information.
One of the major perks of an ERP system is that it can integrate other enterprise applications, like CRM, supply chain management (SCM), or inventory management (IM). Implementing an ERP system can drastically clean up the way larger organizations operate by making activities and workflows more cohesive and transparent. They also offer important insights that can help identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies and improve planning for the future.
Project management: The most accessible enterprise apps are those geared toward creating efficient and communicative project management teams. As more members of the workforce begin to work remotely, these applications become vital. An enterprise app for project management is designed to help teams collaborate more effectively, no matter where the team is located.
Project management apps give an overview of all active projects. They allow team members to dive into the specifics and check out every milestone, new detail, and upcoming task that may need to be completed in order to keep progress on schedule.
When used correctly, project management applications are a great way for teams to remain as productive as possible, while also ensuring that processes and procedures remain effective and transparent throughout each task and initiative.
Human capital management (HCM) Systems: An HCM system helps organizations manage and maintain their workforce. The functions of an HCM system are often organized into categories, including talent management, workforce management, and service delivery.
HCM tools help HR teams adapt to the ever-changing requirements of talent management and acquisition while simultaneously furthering productivity. Many HCM solutions now use artificial intelligence (AI) to recommend roles and mentors, suggest coursework and additional learning opportunities, and even predict which employees might be thinking about leaving the company. Using AI is also beneficial to the recruiting side of HR. For example, AI-fueled intelligent matching helps recruiters identify best-fit candidates and assists employees in finding their optimal career paths.
Enterprise applications in 2019
In order to help businesses handle the ever-evolving challenges they face today, enterprise applications continue to adopt new technologies within their many features. Emerging technologies like the internet of things (IoT), voice technology, and even chatbots have made it simpler for today’s organizations to operate as efficiently as possible.
For example, Oracle, one of the largest enterprise applications companies, has recently deployed chatbots in many of its applications to help users work more productively. A chatbot can help busy business professionals handle tasks like scheduling meetings and offering task reminders while simultaneously allowing them to avert their efforts toward higher-level responsibilities.
Here are a few tech trends you might find in enterprise apps this year:
Artificial Intelligence (AI): Many technology experts anticipate that AI will be used even more in enterprise apps this year to increase efficiency while also enabling improved workload management and predictive analytics. Integrating AI into enterprise apps makes it simpler for companies of all sizes to work with data. As businesses strive to become more data-driven, AI will prove to be a useful addition.
5G networks: 5G is the next iteration of wireless network connectivity and promises today’s internet users features such as faster connection, lower latency, and higher reliability. As 5G becomes the next big thing in mobile technology, the implications are endless. Employees will be less confined to a physical location. Mobile apps will become more powerful. Trends like IoT, AR, and VR will explode. Thanks to the near-instant download speeds, cloud-based services will grow even more.
Cloud Computing: Phil Siarri, founder of Nuadox and market researcher, said during a recent Twitter chat, “I truly believe 2019 will be the year of cloud computing, with adoption rate further increasing, reaching new markets, industries.” In addition, IDG found that 9 out of 10 companies will have some part of their applications or infrastructure in the cloud by 2019; the rest are expected to follow by 2021.
Enterprise applications allow businesses to proactively plan for the future and simplify any challenges that may arrive along the way. Today, enterprise applications are critical in managing thousands of businesses of all sizes and in all industries. With benefits including better business insight, enhanced collaboration, improved efficiency, and reduced risk, enterprise applications are a must-have for any business looking to succeed in today’s marketplace.