5 August 2020

The Benefits of Web Applications

web application on a vintage computer

In the space of a few short months (in a year that will appear in the history books), life and business as we know it has been flipped upside down, inside out and back to front. We have had to swifty adapt and find new ways of working; in fact I think it would be fair to say that we have been forced to embrace changes at a rate faster than we could have ever  anticipated or imagined before.

Many businesses (ours included) have found themselves working from home for an extended period of time and have faced disruption across all areas of their operation and services. Some companies have either continued to successfully operate using their existing web based software, or they have adopted new web applications and software to both continue to run their business, but also to diversify how they operate and offer services and products through digital means. 

Having to rapidly adapt and embrace a new digital future has highlighted some stark realities for many businesses. Without access to, and investment in web-based software and solutions, businesses will struggle to operate offsite and to meet the changing needs and wants of their increasingly online customers and clients.  

Businesses have suddenly  had to become knowledgeable about software and applications – it’s daunting to say the least and every business has specific needs. So finding a solution isn’t always easy. This blog is going to help! We’ll focus on web-based applications and software and why it’s important for your business.

Looking for more information on mobile development? Why not take a look at our guide: Native Vs Hybrid Mobile Apps.

What are web-based applications?

Web applications or web-based software are computer programmes that use a website as the interface for users, allowing you to access it from any internet-connected device, whether that’s a desktop, mobile or tablet. 

The great thing about web-based software is that it can be custom-built to your needs, ideal for improving business workflows, integrating multiple systems and providing maximum value for your business. Custom web applications are useful if your business has unique workflows or complex systems. You may find that off-the-shelf solutions don’t do what you need.

In contrast, desktop applications are stored locally on a physical machine, which can limit access, security and usability. There are some essential desktop applications you’re probably familiar with, Word, Excel etc. And when they’re used on an individual level their core functions work well. However, once this becomes more complex, for example when various departments or people need access to view or update, they don’t scale well and suddenly you have too many locations, pages and spreadsheets taking up valuable time. They also increase the likelihood of human error if someone doesn’t remember to update or save a file, for example.

Those are the internal systems, but what about services and products that customers buy from businesses? For those who don’t have a digital presence, you may now be looking at e-commerce platforms to sell those products. Or perhaps you need a clearer picture of what stock you have in your warehouse and are considering a stock management system, or an order management system. Perhaps you need a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to manage all the contacts and sales you have.

Whatever the process, it is most often web-based software that will provide you with a solution.

What are the benefits of a custom web application?

  • Improved interoperability – APIs can integrate other systems to provide a more cohesive workflow.
  • Cost-effective deployment – as it is based online and all devices have a browser it’s quick and easy to reach all of your users.
  • It’s accessible anywhere – it’s stored in the Cloud which means that as long as you have internet access you will have 24/7 access on any device, which is vital during pandemics like these.
  • Custom web applications improve business processes, they provide greater efficiency as it replaces paper-based workflows, provides staff with better ways to work and increases transparency and consistency, to name a few.
  • It’s more secure, rather than data being physically in a location that you have to manually secure, information is stored on virtual servers with large specialist cloud platform providers looking after security for you. It also means that if anything should happen to your physical premises business can get back to normal a lot quicker. Your software will be ready and waiting for you to resume once you’re able.
  • Being deployed online, it’s easier to support and maintain.
  • Custom web-based software is scalable as your business grows, it’s tailored and unique to your business.

What value do web applications offer businesses?

Their value lies in the ability to create a custom solution that will improve business processes and connect workflows to ensure efficiency and ROI. Having a custom web-based software enables a business to stand out from the competition whether it’s in providing next-level customer experience, being able to expand into new markets or improve ROI.

It also improves how your staff work by providing new, improved workflows that not only makes their lives easier but allows them to do more with their time. Out of the box web apps can be difficult to use, limited and if it doesn’t work well, can result in low user adoption.

If you’re facing this challenge at the moment rest assured that your business needs can be met with a web application, you just might need to think outside of the box a little. 

If you’d like to know more about choosing a custom software partner, we have a handy guide for that too, take a look!