What is enterprise software development? A complete guide for 2024

15 min read
May 10, 2024

Building your own enterprise software is a great way to take your organization to the next level and meet your business goals.

And it’s a very lucrative market, too – the enterprise software market is worth $292 billion in 2024.

But, what exactly is enterprise software development? And why should you build your own enterprise software?

In this article, we’ll answer these questions (and more!) to help you make the right decision before you start your project.

Let’s dive in!

What is enterprise software?

Let’s start with the basics – what is enterprise software?

Enterprise software is software that’s built to meet the complex needs of large businesses and organizations rather than individual users.

It’s used to manage various processes and tasks within an organization, like managing customer relationships and human resources.

Here are the qualities enterprise software should have:

Enterprise software qualities

In a nutshell, enterprise software is meant to improve your business processes and optimize your operations.

Now, we’ll discuss the differences between standard and enterprise software development.

Standard vs. enterprise software development

Enterprise software development differs from standard software development in a number of ways.

But, the main differences between the two are their scale and target audience.

Standard software products are geared towards individual users and typically don’t handle huge amounts of data or have a lot of customization options.

On the other hand, enterprise software products are meant for businesses and solve specific business needs.

They also process huge amounts of data and often have complex integrations and customization options.

Here’s a thorough overview of the key differences between the two:

Category

Standard software development

Enterprise software development

Purpose

Meets general needs for a broad user base

Tailor-made for specific organizational processes

Customization

Usually limited

Highly customizable to meet precise business needs

Scale

Designed for individual use and simpler tasks

Designed for large businesses and complex tasks

Complexity

Simpler and more straightforward

More complex business logic and large data volumes

Integration

Minimal integration with other systems

Often needs to be integrated with existing systems

User base

Targeted towards the mass market and individual users

Targeted towards specific businesses or market niches

Security

Standard security, usually handles less critical data

Enhanced security, handles critical business data

Cost

Less expensive

More expensive

Development time

Shorter development cycles

Longer development cycles due to complexity

Maintenance

Lower maintenance costs

Higher maintenance costs

In short, enterprise software development is more complex, customizable, and requires more resources to build.

But, building enterprise software has a number of major benefits which we’ll discuss next.

Benefits of enterprise software development

Enterprise software development offers numerous benefits for your business.

First and foremost, it improves your organization’s operational efficiency – one of the top use cases of enterprise software is automating repetitive tasks across departments.

On average, automating these processes saves 50% of time and reduces overall costs by 10 to 50%.

Another major benefit of enterprise software development is improved data management.

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With an enterprise software solution, you can collect and analyze business-critical data in one place.

This way, you will not only improve your decision-making but also keep your whole team on the same page.

Also, enterprise software usually has more advanced security features compared to standard software.

So, if you decide to build an enterprise software solution for your business, you’ll have an easier time keeping sensitive business data safe.

And that’s why developing your own is a good idea.

Enterprise software types

Now, we’ll discuss the types of enterprise software you can build.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software integrates various business processes into one unified system.

They connect all of your processes, from accounting to asset management in a single, coherent system.

Also, they’re highly customizable by default and you can integrate as many functions as you need.

Here are some functions ERPs can connect:

The main advantage of using ERPs is that they help you more efficiently manage your day-to-day operations.

The stats prove it, too – 67% of organizations that implemented an ERP system report it as either successful or very successful.

Another benefit of ERPs is that they break down silos in your organization and make it easier for different departments to communicate and share data.

And that’s a good reason to get your own.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software

Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps you manage your interactions with current and potential customers.

They work by consolidating customer information into a single database, including previous interactions you had with them and their purchase history.

CRMs can help you achieve your revenue goals – 92% of businesses that use them claim they helped them do just that.

Here are some core features CRMs usually have:

Core CRM features

The main advantage of using a CRM is that you can individually track each customer’s history with your company and then personalize your interactions with them.

That’s exactly what your customers want – 62% of them say a brand will lose their loyalty if they don’t give them a personalized experience.

And that’s why having a CRM is an absolute must.

Supply chain management (SCM) software

Supply chain management (SCM) software optimizes and manages the end-to-end processes in your supply chain.

This includes everything from planning to warehousing and transportation.

Here are some processes SCM software can manage:

Supply chain management software

SCM software automates a large chunk of these tasks, which reduces your supply chain costs and increases its efficiency.

Also, it can identify bottlenecks and problematic links in your supply chain, so you know which parts you need to optimize further.

This will help you create a more agile and responsive supply chain that’s more resistant to disruptions and market shocks.

And that’s essential for your company’s long-term success.

Business intelligence (BI) software

Business intelligence (BI) software systems help you analyze complex data and give you historical, current, and predictive information about your business operations.

This process includes:

  • Data gathering
  • Data storage
  • Analytics
  • Data visualization

The point of BI software is to give you detailed information about your business environment and help you make data-driven decisions.

Here are some top benefits of BI:

Benefits of business intelligence

BI software is essential if you want to improve your data analytics and start making data-driven business decisions.

And that’s the only way to succeed in a competitive market.

Human resource management systems (HRMS)

Human resource management systems (HRMS) help you manage employee data and automate some of your HR processes.

They’re the best way to improve your HR department’s efficiency and productivity – they automate tedious, repetitive tasks and allow them to focus on more important tasks.

Here’s what HRMS usually cover:

Human resource management system

HRMS’ main benefit is reducing administrative overhead and costs while at the same time improving efficiency.

This means you’ll end up with a bigger budget for talent development and employee engagement.

And investing in your team will set you up for success.

Enterprise asset management (EAM) software

Enterprise asset management (EAM) software is designed to manage the lifecycle of your company’s assets to maximize their efficiency and lifespan.

They help you optimize how you use them and improve their performance.

Here are the key functions of EAM:

Key functions of EAM

EAM software is especially important if you’re in an industry that depends on physical infrastructure, like:

  • Manufacturing
  • Transportation
  • Utilities

Having an EAM system will help you keep track of your assets’ performance and plan their maintenance schedule with minimal disruption to your business.

This will help you reduce downtime and operational costs, which is essential for your organization’s success.

Enterprise software development process

The enterprise software development process is slightly different from the standard development process.

The main difference is in scope and complexity – enterprise software is more complex and often needs customization to meet your needs.

And this means that requirements gathering takes more time and development cycles are longer.

But, the basic development process is the same.

Here’s how we approach enterprise software development at DECODE:

DECODE software development process

We start with product discovery – here, we validate your idea and make sure it fully meets your needs.

Then, we move on to product design and make sure your design is user-friendly and has top-tier user experience (UX) before we start development.

Next, we start building the minimum viable product (MVP) and make sure your product’s core features meet your business needs.

And after we launch the MVP, we work with you to iterate on the MVP and continuously make your product better.

This approach allows us to build a fully functional product as quickly as possible, without sacrificing quality.

What is the best framework for enterprise software development?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for which framework is the best for enterprise software development.

Your choice will depend on a number of factors, from your target platforms to your project’s requirements.

“Make sure you choose a framework that’s well-supported and regularly updated to avoid the hassle of migrating frameworks.

Ivan Trogrlic, Android team lead at DECODE

Some top frameworks you should use are:

  • Spring – Java-based back-end framework
  • .NET – C#-based back-end framework
  • React – JavaScript-based front-end framework
  • Angular – TypeScript-based front-end framework
  • React Native – JavaScript-based mobile cross-platform framework
  • Flutter – Dart-based mobile cross-platform framework

And if you want to build native iOS and Android apps, your best bet is using their official IDEs, Xcode and Android Studio – they come with all the tools you need.

What is the best language for enterprise software development?

Just like with the frameworks we’ve just discussed, there’s no simple answer for which language is the best to use.

But, the top languages for enterprise software development in general are:

  • Java – back-end, server-side development
  • C# – if you use the .NET and rely on Windows-based infrastructure
  • Kotlin – native Android development
  • Dart – cross-platform mobile development, if you use Flutter
  • JavaScript – front-end and mobile app development
  • Swift – native iOS development

The language you end up using will depend on the development tools you go with and your product’s specific requirements.

5 key tips for enterprise software development

Here, we’ll discuss 5 key tips you should follow when developing enterprise software.

Write detailed requirements first

When you start enterprise software development, the first thing you should do is write a detailed software requirement specification (SRS) document.

Think of it like a recipe –  it should list all the ingredients you need to build your product.

Of course, every product’s SRS is unique, but it should cover 2 key things – your product’s functional and non-functional requirements.

In simple terms, the functional requirements cover what your product does and non-functional requirements cover how it does it.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of both:

Functional vs non-functional requirements

Another way to put it is that functional requirements focus on a product’s features and functionalities while non-functional requirements deal with performance and security metrics.

Writing an SRS document is especially important when developing complex enterprise software.

It will keep your development team on the same page from the start and help you avoid scope creep.

And that’s key if you want your project on time and on budget.

Ensure scalability

One of the most important things you can do when building enterprise software is to ensure that it’s scalable.

Scalability means that it can handle an increase in users or data volumes without it impacting its performance.

Your enterprise software needs to keep up as your company grows and making sure it’s scalable is essential if you want that to happen.

So, how do you build a scalable enterprise software product?

Here are some key steps you should follow:

7 vital steps for developing a scalable software product

But, the 2 most important elements if you want a scalable product are its architecture and using cloud computing services.

When building enterprise software, a good tip is designing a modular architecture for your product.

This way, you can easily add new features and update existing ones without impacting its performance.

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And cloud computing services are important because they can automatically scale computing resources up or down, depending on demand.

Some of the top ones on the market you should consider are:

And the best part?

These services operate on a pay-as-you-go model, so you only pay for the resources you actually use.

And that’s why they’re a good choice if you want to build scalable enterprise software without breaking the bank.

Prioritize security from the start

The most dangerous mistake you can make when building software is neglecting security.

And with enterprise software, prioritizing security from the start is an absolute must.

If you don’t, it can cost you a lot of money – the average cost of a data breach is $4.35 million.

And security threats are only going to get more dangerous and costly, with cybercrime expected to surge in the coming years:

Estimated cost of cybercrime worldwide

The cost of cybercrime will rise to an estimated $23.82 trillion by 2027 – that’s a 63% increase from the 2024 numbers.

But, you don’t just risk losing a lot of money if you neglect security – you risk losing your entire business.

The reputational cost of a massive data breach can be devastating – nearly 60% of companies end up going out of business after suffering a breach.

And since the enterprise software you build will contain a huge amount of sensitive, confidential data, protecting it is an absolute must.

Use Agile methodologies

How your team approaches enterprise software development is key for its success.

The best option you have is using Agile methodologies.

And that’s not just idle talk.

On average, Agile projects are 28% more successful than projects using traditional development methodologies.

There’s a good reason for that – they allow you to be flexible and quickly iterate on your product.

Also, if your requirements change mid-development, you’ll be able to easily adjust.

If you want to learn more, here’s what DECODE co-founder and CEO, Marko Strizic, had to say about Agile and why we use it at DECODE:

But, which Agile methodologies should you use?

The top methodologies out there are:

  • Scrum
  • Kanban
  • Crystal
  • Extreme Programming (XP)

Out of all of these, Scrum is by far the most popular – 81% of Agile teams use Scrum or a Scrum hybrid.

Scrum divides your development cycle into smaller (2-4 week) iterations called sprints with each sprint being a mini development cycle.

Scrum sprints

With Scrum, your team can work more efficiently and iterate faster.

And that’s exactly what you should want.

Invest in quality assurance (QA)

$2.42 trillion – that’s how much poor software quality costs U.S. companies every year.

If you don’t invest in quality assurance (QA), you risk becoming a part of that statistic.

And since enterprise software is business-critical, preventing that from happening should be your top priority.

So, what are some best practices you should follow when setting up QA?

For starters, you need to have a detailed testing strategy – it will help your QA team work and plan tests more efficiently.

Also, you should start testing early.

Catching and fixing bugs early in the development cycle is much cheaper:

Cost of defects

Finally, you need to make sure your team uses a variety of testing methods like:

  • API testing
  • Unit testing
  • Stress testing
  • Integration testing
  • Regression testing

This way, you’ll cover all your bases and ensure the enterprise software you build is up to par and actually meets your requirements.

Enterprise software development: FAQs

What is enterprise software development?

Enterprise software development is the process of building software that meets the complex needs of large businesses and organizations as opposed to individual users.

What is the difference between enterprise software development and regular software development?

The main differences between enterprise and standard software development are their scale and target audience.

Enterprise software development is more complex and targeted towards businesses while standard software is less complex and targets individual users.

What are examples of enterprise software?

Some examples of enterprise software products are:

  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software
  • Supply chain management (SCM) software
  • Business intelligence (BI) software
  • Human resource management systems (HRMS)
  • Enterprise asset management (EAS) software

Need an enterprise software development partner?

Do you have a great enterprise software product in plan but need help getting it over the line?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve got extensive experience building enterprise software for some of the biggest players in the market.

And whether you just need experts to fill gaps in your in-house team or a dedicated team of engineers to build your product from scratch, we’ll do it.

If you want to learn more, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll arrange a call to discuss your needs in more detail.

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Written by

Mario Zderic

Co-founder and CTO

Mario makes every project run smoothly. A firm believer that people are DECODE’s most vital resource, he naturally grew into the role of People Operations Manager. Now, his encyclopaedic knowledge of every DECODEr’s role, and his expertise in all things tech, powers him to manage his huge range of responsibilities as COO. Part developer, and seemingly part therapist, Mario is always calm under pressure, which helps to maintain the office’s stress-free vibe. In fact, sitting and thinking is his main hobby. What’s more Zen than that?

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