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Updated: 8 May 2024
Contributors: Matthew Finio, Amanda Downie

What are enterprise applications?

Enterprise applications are large-scale software solutions designed to streamline and automate various processes of an organization’s operations. These solutions are intended to increase productivity, efficiency and collaboration across departments.

Enterprise applications are sophisticated, comprehensive software solutions designed for large organizations (enterprises). Unlike consumer applications, which are typically designed for individual users, the primary goal of enterprise applications is to improve the overall efficiency, productivity and effectiveness of an organization's business processes.

These applications can range from basic content management systems (CMS) to more complex software that automates routine tasks. This reduces the need for human effort and ensures consistency in the execution of various workflows. 

"Enterprise applications" is a general term referring to these software solutions. "Enterprise application software" (EAS) is a more specific term for the actual types of software used to support enterprise-level functions and processes.   

Focused on scalability, enterprise applications and EAS are intended to integrate seamlessly with existing systems and with other enterprise apps across the organization. This integration creates a centralized platform for data management, workflows and resources. It also enables coordination and cooperation of work across the organization.

Enterprise applications are often tailored to meet the specific needs of a business. This customization is usually achieved by using application development services. In addition, enterprise application software development makes it possible to reach beyond the enterprise. Businesses can link with suppliers, partners and customers, which offer a more comprehensive view and greater control of their processes. This creates potential for increased efficiency.

Key characteristics of enterprise applications and EAS include:

Centralized management: Centralized control of business functions and the ability for administrators to efficiently monitor and update the system.

 Designed with multiple modules and components to address various aspects of business operations.

Customization: Customizable to meet the specific needs and processes of the organization.

Flexibility: Quickly adaptable to changing workflows with minimal modifications and without disrupting the business process. In addition, they provide the ability to interact with multiple software services and platforms by using an API, plug-ins, extensions, and more.

Integration: Designed to integrate with existing systems, databases and technologies within the organization to ensure seamless communication and data flow.

Scalability: Able to handle many users and transactions to accommodate the needs of a large, growing organization.

Security: Feature strong security measures to protect sensitive business data and ensure compliance with regulations.

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What are the benefits of enterprise applications and enterprise application software (EAS)?

Enterprise applications and EAS can contribute to the efficiency, productivity and overall success of an organization. Some of their key advantages include:

Decreased costs: While implementing and customizing these applications can be expensive, their ability to automate processes, reduce manual errors and optimize resource allocation can prove to be cost effective over time.

Enhanced customer relations: EAS, especially customer relationship management (CRM) systems, help organizations improve customer support and manage and analyze customer data and interactions. Enhanced customer relations can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Flexibility and adaptability: These applications are often customizable to meet the specific needs of an organization. This flexibility allows businesses to adapt the software to their specific workflows and requirements.

Increased data accuracy: Business intelligence (BI) tools (a type of EAS) can evaluate massive amounts of data that is stored on cloud computing platforms. They use real-time data analytics to enable improved forecasting and smart decision making.

Improved communication and collaboration: By providing a centralized platform, employees can share information and collaborate on projects. This leads to enhanced teamwork.

Improved security and compliance: Many enterprise applications and EAS include regulatory compliance and security features. This is crucial for organizations dealing with sensitive data.

Scalability: Enterprise applications and EAS are designed to scale with the growth of an organization. As businesses expand, these solutions can accommodate increased data volumes, user bases and transaction loads. This ensures a longer lifecycle as they remain effective and relevant over time.

Streamlined processes: Both enterprise applications and EAS streamline and automate complex business processes. This leads to increased efficiency and improved overall workflow as tasks are run more rapidly and consistently with fewer errors.

What are common uses for enterprise applications and EAS?

Common uses of enterprise applications and EAS include:

Automated billing systems: These applications integrate into the accounting system and monitor budgets, expenses and profits.

Business intelligence (BI) and analytics: BI tools provide powerful analytics and reporting capabilities, allowing businesses to analyze data, gain insights and make informed decisions.

Collaboration and communication: Collaboration tools such as project management software, intranet platforms and communication tools facilitate document sharing, communication and project management.

Content management: Content management systems (CMS) enable the creation, modification and management of digital content. These systems support website management, document collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Customer relationship management (CRM): CRM software enables businesses to manage and analyze customer interactions, streamline sales processes and enhance customer satisfaction. Examples include HubSpot, IBM watsonx™ Assistant and Salesforce.

E-commerce and sales: E-commerce platforms support online sales and transactions. They manage inventory, orders and customer interactions, enabling retailers to offer seamless online shopping experiences. 

Enterprise content management (ECM): ECM systems are used for the storage, organization and retrieval of unstructured content, including documents, images and multimedia.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP): ERP systems integrate with the underlying operating system to manage core business processes such as finance, human resources, procurement and manufacturing. Examples of these applications (SaaS) include Microsoft Dynamics 365, Oracle® Cloud ERP and SAP® ERP.

Human resource management (HRM): HRM software streamlines human resource processes. It is designed to enable users to easily manage recruitment, employee onboarding, payroll and performance management. Examples include Oracle® Fusion Cloud HCM, SAP® SuccessFactors HXM Suite and Workday® HCM.

Learning management systems (LMS): LMS software is used for employee training and development. LMS applications help manage and deliver training programs, track employee progress and assess learning outcomes.

Supply chain management (SCM): SCM systems help optimize the end-to-end supply chain processes including procurement, manufacturing, logistics and distribution.

Workflow automation: Workflow management systems streamline and automate business processes, reducing manual effort and improving efficiency.

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