Mission Critical Enterprise Software and How It Affects Your Business

Posted on: May 1st, 2015 - Written by: Olivia Gregory

As a custom software development and consulting group, INSite Business Solutions works quite a bit with mission critical enterprise software. Our clients turn to us to develop and/or upgrade the software that is crucial to the continuation of their daily business operations. It’s a big part of our job, and we love it. Today we thought we’d take a look at what mission critical enterprise software actually is—and talk about how it may affect your bottom line.

Mission Critical Enterprise SoftwareTechopedia gives us a succinct definition of mission critical systems, and this definition applies to mission critical software as well: “A mission critical system is a system that is essential to the survival of a business or organization. When a mission critical system fails or is interrupted, business operations are significantly impacted.”

“Mission critical software is software that runs your business,” says Tyler Gordon, our UX Front-End Developer here at INSite. “If it stops, your employees cannot continue working. One great example is the software that we built for Continental Tire. If the software stopped working, tires would cease to be processed.” John Blomberg, INSite’s President, agrees with Mr. Gordon’s definition and gives some further insight into mission critical software: “It is crucial to the operation of a business and can affect a specific department within a company or the company as a whole. Mission critical enterprise software that does not work correctly can cause operations to stop and revenue to be adversely affected.”

In the not-too-recent past, enterprise software has centered around applications that must be loaded onto individual computers housed at every client location. The advent of cloud computing has dramatically changed the face of enterprise software development, however. Mike Kavis, writing about the cloud computing industry for Forbes, offers some insights into the relationship between cloud computing and enterprise software:

The cloud is now being considered a viable target for deploying mission critical applications. Enterprises are finally realizing that customers no longer want to buy packaged software and instead are expecting everything to be delivered as a service.

Mr. Kavis goes on to write that this type of service, known as Software as a Service (SaaS), has quickly gained in popularity due to less upfront costs, greater agility, and ease of implementing software updates. These factors have caused SaaS to become more and more attractive to clients:

… [E]nterprises are realizing that in order to stay competitive in today’s fast paced business environment, they … have to start delivering their mission critical applications to their customers as an easy to use, frequently updated service.

Jason Verge, discussing the trend of businesses to use SaaS for mission critical applications, explains more about the benefits of SaaS:

The biggest benefits of enterprise SaaS are the ability to be “hands-off,” giving application management over to the provider. It means you don’t need to dedicate in-house resources to managing and maintaining the application. The pay-as-you-go model is also attractive.

If SaaS is going to be the wave of the present and the future when it comes to mission critical enterprise software, what can business decision makers look for when hiring development teams to do this work or when pondering which providers to go with? Sameer Bhatia’s commentary for InformationWeek provides insight into the answer to this question. He encourages those looking for SaaS enterprise applications to call for better features (rather than more features), to hone in on usability, and to require meaningful data and analytics.

In addition, it is important for any entity building and/or providing your SaaS for mission critical enterprise processes to have a solid team encompassing a wide range of roles. You want a development group that includes team members filling the roles of:

  • Business Analyst. A business analyst can prioritize, make decisions, and provide information.
  • Scrum Master. A scrum master facilitates and schedules the team, obtains resources, and protects the team from problems.
  • Development Manager. A development manager manages the multiple priorities of conflicting projects.
  • Solutions Architect. A solutions architect matches technologies to the problems being solved.
  • Back-End Developer. A back-end developer writes code for each project based on detailed specifications.
  • UX Front-End Developer. A UX front-end developer ensures a high-quality user experience on each project.
  • Quality Assurance Team. A quality assurance team guarantees a high level of quality in the end product.
  • Deployment Team. A deployment team packages all code and files for deployment through the appropriate systems.

As you can see, it takes a dedicated team to develop and deploy mission critical enterprise software. Beware of those who say they can do it without covering the above roles. To give your mission critical processes the attention they need in order for your business to run smoothly, day in and day out, make sure you choose the right team for the job. The end result will be well worth the investment.

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