Consider web applications to:
- Lower maintenance cost
- Improve efficiency
- Manage processes
- Centralise information
I want to talk about web applications and the difference they can make to an organisation. I’m not talking about social apps like FaceBook or Twitter – they have an important place but that’s a different subject – I mean considered, tailored apps designed to aid the completion of specific tasks e.g. Hotmail, online banking and alike.
A web application is a task-orientated application that runs through a web browser.
What advantage can web apps provide compared to off-the-shelf desktop packages?
Off-the-shelf packages tend to be feature rich, often too rich and can overcomplicate the more concentrated, repeated functions an individual user needs. Because they are designed to cover many bases they can be inflexible and many users’ find themselves creating workarounds or modifying their practices to suit the software.
Browser based applications have several advantages but for me, the most significant is their adaptability – the ease by which they can be designed, and later modified, to specific business needs. In my experience most business / organisational processes are a collection of related steps or tasks. Sometimes these will follow a linear path while others are more freeform. A tailored web application can work the way you want it to. It can make your team work the way you want them to.
Because web applications are run from a central location, the information is always up-to-date, it’s easily backed-up and any enhancements to the application are delivered to everyone simultaneously, without costly licensing or install procedures.
Who can benefit from a web application?
There is a common theme across our most successful projects – scale! That doesn’t necessarily mean that the advantages are to large organisations only – far from it in fact, but size is a factor somewhere. That could be a large number of employees or customers, a large / diverse product catalogue or multiple office locations.
Web applications aren’t the answer to everything. I think we’re a long way off ‘Photoshop through a browser’ and desktop apps will provide greater functionality, but if you need to share information with several colleagues, over multiple locations, to a defined process – a web application is certainly worth considering.
To see some specific examples of advantages, see our web application case studies