Enterprise Application Development – Best Practices and Emerging Trends

Posted on
July 14, 2021

Recent research has estimated that the IT outlay on Enterprise Application Development will reach $429 billion in 2021, which signifies a 7.2% growth from last year. The enterprise software market has experienced fabulous growth in recent years, with its revenue doubling up between 2009 and 2019. This makes it evident that enterprises have consistently invested in building and modernizing applications.

In this blog post, we will discuss the best practices and emerging trends in Enterprise Application Development.

Emerging Trends in Enterprise Application Development

Cybersecurity and Data Privacy

The introduction of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union and the various regulations in the US such as Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), SEC Rule 30, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), FTC Act Section 5, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation (DFAR), FDA 21 CFR Part 11, Electronic Communications Privacy Act and Stored Communications Act, EU-US Privacy Shield and Consumer Privacy Protection Act of 2017 has brought to fore the need for enterprise applications to comply with stringent regulations with respect to:

  • Collecting and storing personal data of users. The definition of users is not limited to customer users but applies to employees as well.
  • Consent Management
  • Notifications in the event of a breach of identifiable information
  • Access privileges: Role-based access to sensitive information
  • Maintaining Data integrity
  • Record of transactions, audit trail management, maintaining the status of files in the system (active to obsolescence).

According to 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report by IBM, here are some statistics that points to the impact of a data breach:

  • Highest country average cost of $8.19 million – United States
  • Highest industry average cost of $6.45 million – Healthcare
  • Time to identify and contain a breach – 279 days
  • Cost per lost record - $150

Information security is a non-negotiable requirement for enterprise applications today and the foundational features of such applications are user authentication, enabling segregation of duties (GAAP), data encryption, backup control, and compliance tracking.

Conversational Artificial Intelligence

Let us look at three interesting statistics from an Oracle report:

  1. 71% of B2B enterprises have made Customer Experience (CX) their top priority.
  2. 78% of brands have identified Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality as game-changers in customer service.
  3. 80% of sales and marketing leaders say they already use chatbots in their CX journey.

Organizations are leveraging the combined power of Conversational AI (Chatbots) with Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to save time and effort of employees in obtaining, storing, and processing data. For instance, employees interact with a single window all-purpose chatbot and an RPA bot in the backend transfers data to different systems such as CRM or ERP instead of employees having to access multiple Line of Business Applications and enter data/information manually. Chatbots can also fetch data and files that reside across systems.

Use cases for Chatbots cuts across business functions such as Customer Service, Deploying Virtual Assistants in Sales, IT Helpdesk Automation, Inventory Management, Resolving Employee Queries and Requests, and Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Chatbots for incident reporting.

Low-Code and No-Code Development

Application development does not exclusively belong to coders anymore. Drag and Drop Low-Code and No-Code platforms allow software programmers to think beyond code and quickly “assemble” an enterprise grade web or mobile application. The focus is on the design, user experience, and leveraging reusable graphical components and providing effective data visualizations through plug and play dashboards. Workflow automation capabilities can be built-in to these enterprise applications without having to write elaborate codes. This has democratized application development and mitigates the unavailability of resources with required skill sets to quickly jump onto the digital bandwagon. Microsoft PowerApps is a great example and has emerged as a leader in Enterprise Low-Code Platforms.

Most of these low-code and no-code platforms are cloud-based which leads us nicely to the next megatrend.

Cloud Applications

Software as a Service, Platform as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service are the three components of a successful cloud strategy. 80%+ of all enterprise apps are on the cloud today. On-Premise applications have serious limitations in terms of integrations with other Line of Business Applications and have cumbersome requirements such as connecting to a VPN for secure access to data. Cloud applications provide enhanced security while making data and insights available readily and accessible from a browser.

Progressive Web Applications (PWA)

Progressive Web Applications are another significant Enterprise Application Development trend. Created by Google, PWA is a web application solution that offers mobile users an experience closely similar to native apps. There are several reasons why enterprises decide to create PWAs – among others, consistent experience, user engagement, page speed, security, and a spike in conversion rates.

In fact, according to data shared by Google, enterprises that have rolled out PWAs report a rise in the conversion of up to 52% and an average page speed of 2.75 seconds (8x faster than a website).

Turbocharging Agile Development with DevOps and DevSecOps

While agile methodology, as an iterative software development framework, has found large scale acceptance today in Enterprise Application Development, DevOps has strengthened agile by providing tools to automate deployments and shorten application development cycles without disrupting operations. Here is an infographic that explains Softura’s unique approach to Agile Development with DevOps.

DevSecOps is not just another terminology but a nudge to include security at the core of DevOps. The emerging trend and an accepted best practice in application development is to use automation for application security by leveraging Security as Code.

Summary

We have looked at the best practices in Enterprise Application Development and each of the areas discussed in this article calls for a more detailed analysis and a clear roadmap for implementation. Most organizations do not have the “elasticity” when it comes to skill sets related to programming languages as the landscape is getting disrupted quite regularly by the introduction of “delta” variants, a case in point is the proposed absorption of Xamarin into .Net MAUI – Multiplatform App User Interface. Companies have successfully leveraged these paradigm shifts to accelerate the digital transformation of their enterprise but have found success only by engaging with a trusted technology and development partner rather than going it alone.

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