In this article, we’re sharing 7 things everyone forgets when building custom applications for their business. This list is based on years of experience dealing with digitization projects and custom application development. You may use it as a checklist when building your own custom applications, whether you’re using our powerful Brinkee platform, or something else.
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Let’s start with reporting. Running a business without reporting is like trying to navigate a city without a map. Sure, you’ll recognize roads you’ve taken before, but can you really say for certain that you know what’s going on everywhere?
Don’t overlook the importance of reporting in your custom business applications. Use dashboards to get realtime visibility into key metrics, and set KPIs that you can track to measure your performance.
You might benefit from scheduling some reports as well, as they can help provide you with an overview of what’s going on, for example by email. This way you don’t even need to leave your mailbox and can monitor everything in a single place.
Notifications can be a great way to inform employees, partners or customers of activities in your application. But, just like the other items on our list, most people don’t think about notifications until their application is built and in-use.
Before building your applications, think about the channels you’d like to use. Email is a tried-and-tested, but other options like Slack or Microsoft Teams may be more appropriate for certain types of notifications.
You’ll also want to make sure your communication is aligned with your brand. For email this might be done using HTML emails, but for channels like Slack or Microsoft Teams you might want to use rich content that allow interactions or replies.
The right business application can transform your business and give you a competitive edge for years, but make sure that you’re able to maximize your results. Don’t be shy of incorporating mobile phones into your business processes, and giving employees access to the data they need wherever they are.
Think about how people will use your application(s), and think about the different platforms they’ll use. Make sure your applications work well on different types of devices, including computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
For customer-facing applications, this is even more important, and you may also need to check your solutions across operating systems you may not use in your business. Think about platforms like Windows or MacOS or mobile devices such as iOS, and Android. The last thing you want is for your application to frustrate a customer, simply because it’s not supported on their device.
User experience is critical, whether your users are your employees, vendors or customers, so consider this a vital part of custom business application design.
In order to be able to handle almost all security requirements, you’ll need your applications to support table-level, record-level, and field-level security.
Implementing these features afterwards is usually extremely costly and complex, so make sure to give your security a thought b before you start building your applications.
There’s multiple ways to interact with these three levels of security, and it’s crucial to give these a thought as well. We recommend role and attribute-based security, as this will allow you to handle the vast majority of the use cases.
Role-based security ensures that different users have access to different parts of the application based on their role within your company.
Attribute-based security, on the other hand, grants access based on specific attributes, like location or department.
5. Master Data
When building custom applications for your business, it’s important to not overlook the importance of master data. This includes basic information such as users and groups that are essential for the system to have value.
But, it’s equally important to focus on how the data is organized, updated and managed. Importing data is an important aspect to consider in order to ensure that the data is accurate and up-to-date.
Without proper management of master data, the system can quickly become disorganized and lose its effectiveness. It’s important to have a plan in place for how to handle master data, including import and management processes.
6. Other Applications
Starting small and tackling one problem at a time can be a smart strategy, but try to keep the bigger picture in mind. As you design your solution, ask yourself: am I looking to solve one specific business challenge or am I building a versatile tool that can handle a variety of tasks and help multiple departments?
When building out a digitization strategy, this is typically a good way to think, as you rarely ever digitize only a single business process. Your answer can have a huge impact on the overall efficiency and effectiveness of your custom applications, and forget about the future either - consider scalability of your solution and its potential to integrate with other systems.
How long do you intend to keep the application? Would you want to expand it in the future? What’s the scope of the application? All these questions will help you define your way forward. Don’t make the mistake of thinking about these questions until after your done.
Having a plan in place to protect your data in case something eventually goes wrong is of vital importance. We’re talking about backups and there’s a few things you should keep in mind:
Frequency of your backups
Where to store these your backups
What to do when you need your backups
Make sure to have some kind of plan in place to restore your backups, and test your backup and recovery process from time to time to ensure it’s functioning properly. You can do this by performing a test restore of the data to make sure it can be recovered in the event of an actual disaster.