By: Dave Devitt on July 17th, 2018
10 Must-Have Features to Prioritize in Enterprise App Development
Just like in real life, having priorities is important to custom software development. Trying to create a single piece of “Swiss Army knife” software that can do everything for you is a recipe for disaster. Software applications that try to do too much are often bloated, inefficient, and unappealing to use.
Unfortunately, businesses continue to stuff their custom-developed applications with features that their employees don’t want or need. According to a study of 100 custom software applications by the Standish Group, 64 percent of software features are “never” or “rarely” used, and only 20 percent are “often” or “always” used.
One of the biggest advantages of custom software is that you can pick and choose exactly which features and functionality you want to include in the application. However, this comes with the caveat that you have to pay for each additional feature. The more features that go unused in the final product, the higher you’ll pay and the lower your return on investment will be.
In order to avoid software bloat and create a better final product, you need to decide on the most important feature priorities for your custom-developed application. This article will discuss some of the most common “must-have” features that we see our clients requesting in their custom software.
1. Cloud Access
With 96 percent of companies now using the cloud in some form or fashion, it’s hardly a surprise that cloud access is one of the most popular features for custom software.
By moving the software into the cloud, users can access the application in multiple locations, working at the time and place that are most convenient for them. You can also easily manage and restrict access to content for certain users or user groups.
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2. Financial Management
As your business grows and evolves, you need a reliable way to keep track of your financial activities: accounting, expenses, payments, and all cash inflow and outflow. Custom software with financial management capabilities can help you address these challenges by integrating with multiple third-party applications.
In particular, using financial management software across multiple locations or outlets of your business will keep your information up-to-date and ensure that it’s as accurate as possible.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is one of the most valuable assets in any company’s toolbox: according to studies, it can raise sales and productivity by 30 percent. When used correctly, CRM software will help you keep better track of prospects in your sales funnel, increase your customer service capabilities, and ultimately have happier customers.
4. Project Management
Software with project management features can help you plan, track, and report all aspects of a project. This keeps everyone on the team aligned and boosts the project’s transparency and visibility for higher-ups in the organization.
5. Client Portals
Adding a self-service client portal enables customers to be more independent in their interactions with the company. Rather than waiting for you to reopen during business hours, your customers can access important services at any time of day or day of the week.
Software with forecasting capabilities uses historical data to make projections about your future budgets, planning, and growth. For example, you can use your sales figures from previous years, as well as industry trends, to predict how much revenue you’ll see this quarter.
By keeping better stock of your inventory, you can make sure that your company has the items it needs in order to sell or do business.
If you’re a B2C business, your vendors can log in and see their levels to get insights about which products are (or aren’t) moving. They can then react to the trends they observe, such as by manufacturing more or less of a certain product.
8. Human Resources
HR software typically includes a variety of useful functionality, from employee timesheets to performance reports and tracking requests for paid time off. They’re also frequently used for keeping track of job applicants throughout the hiring lifecycle: managing resumes, creating interview reports, and onboarding new employees after they’re hired.
Just because you have an existing workflow set up doesn’t mean that you have to break it by introducing custom software. Because you can fine-tune it to your individual requirements, custom software is actually easier to integrate than a packaged solution. In fact, custom software can itself help you more closely integrate third-party applications that can’t automatically communicate.
10. Data Protection
From malware to data breaches and insider threats, companies have more reasons than ever to be concerned about the security of their information. Custom software makes it easier to include features that can protect companies’ data from loss or unauthorized access.
When your business is planning a new custom software development project, deciding which features to exclude is just as important as which ones to include.
Your list of features to prioritize should be based directly on your priorities as a business—whether that means boosting employee productivity, improving customer service, or cutting costs in your supply chain. By selecting the right features from the options above, you can scale the final product to the right size and make your development process less wasteful.