Cross-Industry and Cross-Functional Business Apps
What are cross-industry and cross-functional apps and why do you need one?
In the early 80s, most IT business solutions served the manufacturing sector and were very industry-specific. Gradually, they became more versatile, eventually transitioning into the broader ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software, that combines MRP, accounting, finance, supply chain management functions, and more. ERP was most likely the first instance of a cross-industry, cross-functional business application. As technology advanced, business and their IT departments realized that industry-agnostic apps are more versatile, highly efficient, and often preferred by users.
Why cross-industry integration is important
While many businesses are churning out enterprise apps at astounding speeds, we are also seeing a trend towards the consolidation of digital services and applications. It’s certain that using disparate apps for getting various tasks done isn’t ideal – neither for your customers and partners, nor for your business and staff.
This constant switching between websites, portals, and applications can lead to user fatigue, frustration, and disengagement. How much easier would it be if users could get it all done in one place, whether personal or business tasks are involved? This can be accomplished through in-app, cross-functional integration, or innovative technology such as VAs (voice assistants). The goal of this is to reference different solutions and services on request, in the background, while the user remains oblivious to it all and simply gets on with accomplishing task after task.
The complexity of versatile apps
While consolidating and integrating functions across industries and applications reduces complexity for the end user, it has the opposite effect on solution development complexity. This can be remedied by using the right technology stack, however, and being smart about the app design. After all, no one really wants a multi-functional but heavy on the CPU application that takes ages to load and frequently crashes. In-app integrations with third-party providers, services, and apps (including online government services) can save enterprise users valuable time that can be used on other tasks. Making the user experience and graphic interface smooth and intuitive is the key to success, however. The risk of a choppy UX exists when disparate solutions built by different providers are brought together.
Designing cross-industry business apps
When designing cross-industry and cross-functional business applications, it’s important to follow the ‘jobs done’ approach vs. the more traditional, siloed approach that focuses on addressing the needs of specific industries, companies, or departments. What’s important, in the end, is that the enterprise user accomplishes his / her goals and gets things done. They shouldn’t have to worry about terminology, hierarchy, or taxonomy, which were a part of the old approach of building industry-specific apps. The modern approach involves developing solutions that can work for any user, regardless of their occupation, department, organization, sector, or geography.
Building your own cross-industry solution map
Most ERP software providers have a strategy for how their solutions should serve multiple industries and customers. For functional business apps, devising such a map and strategy, is key to getting through the clutter of competitor solutions, and standing out. What are the industries and enterprise functions that you would like to reliably serve with your product or service offerings? Establishing this in the form of a strategic roadmap can help set clear priorities, not just for your business but also for your software team or partner.
Selecting a solution builder to develop your cross-industry application
Speaking of software development partners, have you found the optimal outsourcing company to work with yet? When choosing one, it’s essential to consider their industry experience with building business applications – a consumer-oriented app developer simply won’t do. The Verhaert Digital team has long years of experience in the manufacturing, construction, healthcare, retail, and other sectors across Europe. For our clients, this means our teams bring the best-in-class knowledge about their business, on top of our solution-building expertise. The Verhaert Digital team is a team you can trust and rely on to help you develop the ideal business applications to support your product or service offerings.