Enterprise web development - Choosing an external partner

Long winding road through a dry landscape

It's no secret that web development for enterprise-level companies is different from developing a website or web application for a smaller company. Enterprise software often has more requirements attached to it and this means that working with an external partner can be that much harder. There’s more processes, technical requirements, security measures and a lot of stakeholders to take into account. That's why, in this article, we're going to go over some of the key things to consider when choosing an external web development company.

Tech stack & infrastructure

When it comes to enterprise web development, there's always the matter of existing software and infrastructure to take into account. You can't develop an enterprise website or an enterprise web application completely independent of other systems the company uses. Similarly, the existing infrastructure cannot be ignored as well. When choosing an external partner to work with, it's crucial to make sure they will map all the existing systems and infrastructure to see how it all works together as part of the scope, before diving into the web development work.

The development team should also consider all the infrastructure when choosing the project's tech stack to make sure it's not only compatible but scalable, since enterprise systems usually need to provide a great deal of scalability across different parts of the organisation, different markets and customer segments.

For example, if an enterprise already has a content management system (CMS) in place, building a custom web application will often require integrating with that system and choosing the web development framework to accommodate this CMS.

Extensive competences & expertise

Enterprise web development is rarely limited to one specific technology or web framework only. And while this is good, because it allows for more diversity and flexibility across different enterprise applications, it can also cause the enterprise to work with multiple different, specialised companies. This can be a great set up, but the more vendors you work with, the more time will be spent managing the work, communicating with them etc. 

So when choosing an external partner for enterprise web development purposes, it's best to find a software development company with extensive in-house expertise. It’s best if the partner you choose not only has a variety of technologies and web frameworks available but also other skills like UI, UX, mobile development, SEO or DevOps. This way you can easily leverage the benefits of different technologies and skills without the need to onboard new partners.

A consistent team & extreme ownership

The next crucial thing when it comes to enterprise web development is having a consistent team that works on your project. By consistent we mean that mostly the same team members keep working on the project without much changes. This is especially important for enterprise web development because those projects can often extend over long periods of time and a consistent team helps avoid time and money spent on onboarding new people or project takeovers.

It’s hard, of course, to estimate this before working with a partner but you can ask for data about employment fluctuations and referrals from other clients to get a good sense of how the team operates.

When building enterprise web solutions, it's also important that the external team you choose takes very serious ownership of the project. Enterprise-level companies often have a hard time managing a web development project, simply because of their size, different stakeholders etc. That's why it's so crucial for the external team to be mindful of that and to choose a project manager who can help guide the enterprise through the web development process and take on additional responsibilities as needed.

A serious approach to project documentation

An enterprise-level business needs all its projects to be well documented on all fronts. From documenting the tech stack, frameworks and the architecture to all the details about the user interface, security risks, website structure, business processes, system maps, data flows, user manual etc. It's crucial to choose a partner who understands how important such documentation is and will ensure it's all in place for the enterprise to access.

Without such documentation, onboarding new users or employees into the web application will waste precious time and other resources, so it's important that the documentation has a step by step process of using and operating the key business functionality of the web app or website.

Awareness & understanding of different target audiences and target markets

An enterprise-level business rarely operates within one market only. Most companies will have divisions across different countries and, consequently, across different target audiences. It's key that your software development partner is not only aware of this but has a deeper understanding of those markets and their specific requirements.

In a lot of cases this means complying with country-specific legal requirements when it comes to web apps and websites or ensuring the website or web app is customised to suit the needs of a specific target audience as those needs can differ greatly from country to country.

It's also very important to work with a software development company that has solid processes for user and market research whether the end web application is meant for external users or internal users only. In both cases the user experience is crucial and should be considered throughout all the stages of the enterprise web development process.

Our team has an extensive portfolio of mobile applications, web apps, intranets and websites created for enterprise clients which you can check out here. You can also contact us directly and talk to one of our consultants about bringing digital transformation to your organisation.

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