When developers aren't building trendy consumer apps, they have their hands full with enterprise software. Developing enterprise software is a different ball game given its impact on the organization's productivity and performance.
Here's a look at the steps that software development companies follow when creating systems and solutions for the enterprise.
What is enterprise software development?
Enterprise software development focuses on developing software solutions that meet an organizational need. The major enterprise software solutions are customer relationship management systems (CRMs), enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs), supply chain management systems (SCMs), and payment processing solutions. In general, any software solution intended for an organization's use qualifies as an enterprise app.
What is the software development process? Why is it important?
The software development process formalizes the steps of designing, developing, and deploying software. It involves dividing the development work into smaller, parallel, or sequential steps. Together, they constitute the software development lifecycle (SDLC).
The process disciplines the developer team and provides a common understanding of what is required to create quality software. It is needed to estimate project costs and timeline. A structured process is easier to document and improve continuously too.
Some common software development process models
A number of software development process models have emerged over the years. Some of them may be familiar to you. Here's is a list of the top models:
- V model
- Iterative model
- Prototype model
Each of the seven models has its own purpose. Of these, Agile and Waterfall are the major models in use. A software development company uses the agile model for frequent incremental releases. This may be better suited when the organization it's built for is experiencing dynamic shifts or making internal changes. For a relatively simple enterprise app whose features and scope are fixed and clear, the Waterfall model may be used.
Every model involves the same processes. The difference lies in how the process steps flow. The steps may be linear as is the case with conventional development processes or occur in small cycles (sprints) as seen in Agile and newer models. Let's see what those steps are.
6-step enterprise software development process
The software development process is broken down into six steps:
What will the software do? What need will it fulfill? The requirements gathering stage clarifies these questions. It involves gathering the solution's functional and non-functional requirements. Functional requirements define the functionalities the system needs. They're provided by the client. Non-functional requirements deal with the solution's performance, reliability, scalability and other quality attributes. They're determined by the developer.
The business requirements document organizes all the information for use by the dedicated software development team assigned to the project. It's crucial that the team has clarity on the purpose and requirements of the enterprise software.
The software design is then determined based on requirements. The team documents the technical design, user interface, and data flow diagram (how data will flow through the system). The development platform for the products and hardware on which the product will be run are also determined in this stage.
The product design process can be broken down into three steps:
- Interface Design, dealing with the interaction between a system and its environment, i.e, the users, devices, and other systems.
- Architectural Design, where the overall structure of the system, and specifications of the major components of the system, are decided.
- Detailed Design, which specifies the internal elements of the major system components, their processing and data structures.
Coding transforms the system design into a language that computers will understand. At this stage, companies usually bring in a dedicated software development team for the programming work, especially if extensive coding is required and cannot be managed in-house.
As software development will roll on from here on, the team should be clear on what they must achieve. Depending on the model used, product increments may or may not be available for end users to try. So, close oversight and engagement will be necessary to ensure that the software is on-spec and on track to be delivered by the pre-determined timeline.
Software testing. It means checking the software for correctness and fixing the discovered flaws. A secure testing environment is set-up, and manual or automated testing is performed to create as bug-free a product as possible.
This is the stage where the application is rolled out. It is deployed to a live environment on a production server - the organization's server or a cloud service such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure.
Once the software is in the end users' hands, a couple of things will need to be addressed. One is a change in the environment that can affect the application. This can be a hardware or operating system update, or an infrastructural change. Another is a potential security issue that may arise, for which an incident response plan must be developed beforehand. Also, any redundant or superfluous functionalities detected are deleted.
Key elements for a successful enterprise software application
In our experience, the following are the successful factors for software development:
- Clear goals and objectives
- Proper planning
- Experienced developers
- Effective project management
- Clear communication
- Detailed design documents
- Software development best practices
You will want to ask the questions, did the software development company meet the brief? These observable facts point to a job well done:
Is the software meeting the need for which it was developed and has started showing observable benefits?
Is the application flexible and scalable to your organization's needs?
Also is the software directly integrating into your company's existing tech stack (no need for third-party tools?)
Looking for an Enterprise Software Development Company?
VLink is a preferred partner for outsourcing software development. Our expert software engineers can be resourced to handle complex and large-scale enterprise software development projects. Our global presence creates opportunities for both offshoring and nearshoring. We have a flexible pricing system and are able to personalize our services to your requirements. Drop us a line about your enterprise software needs and we'll put together a dedicated software development team for your project in no time at all.