The right application has the power to increase your company’s efficiency, better the bottom line or improve customer satisfaction — and many can accomplish more than one of these goals.
So, how do you determine if a web application, mobile application or desktop application is the right solution for your project? Consider how the following factors align with your user environment as you begin mapping out requirements for your new application to ensure you choose the platform that best fits your needs.
In the modern business market, multi-option accessibility is more important than ever for many companies. As you look at potential application solutions, think about how your users will interact with the application. Will they do so predominately from a desktop? What about a mobile device? Will your users be based in an office environment or will they require remote access to the solution? Design the application within the parameters of your users’ expectations and they’ll utilize it more readily.
Like any technology solution, applications require ongoing maintenance and expense to continue operating at maximum efficiency. From initial installation to ongoing updates, consider your user environment to determine the long-term implications. Will a desktop application, requiring updates to local computers be feasible, or is a web application where updates can be delivered over the Internet a better fit? Understanding the costs associated with these expenses — both on the high end and the low end — will make it easier to budget for these ongoing expenses in the future.
Speed, Performance and Efficiency
Speed wins in business, but that doesn’t mean every system requires top-line performance — or that you need to pay for it. Scalability will play a part in your performance decisions. Does the application need to scale vertically or horizontally? What level load is necessary and how much work will the application be required to do? You’ll also want to consider performance. Will the solution be used solely in an Internet-friendly environment or is a desktop application that supports use in limited Internet-accessible areas the better choice? Answering these questions will allow you to fit the right solution to your job.
Development costs and timeline
You’re budgeting for a new application to meet certain goals, so what is your realistic timeline? Once you understand the due date, you can work backwards to formulate the development timeline and apply applicable budgeting factors each stage in the process. A shorter timeline puts the application in your company’s hands faster, but it will likely cost you more. The type of application you choose will dictate a portion of the timeline as well. If you are leaning toward a mobile application, keep in mind that several different versions will need to be created to support all operating systems, ultimately adding to the timeline and increasing your costs.
Security is a central consideration for every technology solution. Desktop applications are housed on an individual computer and user data is stored on their individual system. Web applications on the other hand store user data online, making them more vulnerable to hackers.
If you don’t want your new application to operate in a vacuum, flexibility is a vital component of your app considerations. Which of your existing systems will the new application need to integrate with and how can you simplify that process? Does the system require an API for third-party access? What other interoperability concerns exist? The more of these questions you can answer, the faster your new application will be able to operate to its fullest potential.
While you’re tailoring your application to meet a specific business need, you’ll want to be mindful of how that need may change and determine if your solution is capable of adapting to meet new requirements. Planning for this in advance will help create a solution that fits your needs perfectly today and in the future.