How Business Application Development Can Rescue Your Firm

Christopher Pinski
July 18, 2024
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How Business Application Development Can Rescue Your Firm

Do any of these things sound familiar?

  • "Our customer relationships are suffering due to inconsistent processes and communication."
  • "Our internal processes are complex and inefficient — we waste a lot of time on manual and repetitive tasks."
  • "We encounter lots of errors in our business data, have trouble understanding our data, and struggle to make data-driven decisions."
  • "Our competitors are outpacing us — they're more agile in adopting industry trends and innovating."

If your firm is suffering with any of these issues, a custom business application could be part of your ideal solution! So let's define business application development and explain how, in conjunction with improved processes, a custom app can be a huge difference-maker in your firm.

What is Business Application Development?

Business application development is the process of creating software applications to perform essential business operations and/or provide services for your customers. This may be software development for a small business or enterprise application development for a larger firm.

A redheaded woman focuses intently on the computer screens in front of her. She's looking at code and appears to be developing a business app or software application

Before ever developing a business app, firms need to take a good look at their business processes inside and out. How does every process flow? How do business teams work together? Where and how is information stored?

This reflection is necessary to develop the specific app or set of apps that will have the biggest impact on your business. And in the case of enterprise application development, you may build several interconnected apps or one multi-faceted, complex app to address all your needs at scale.

Why You Need Business Processes and SOPs First

If your business processes are a mess, no app can save you.

The right business app will complement optimized processes, saving additional time and money while letting your teams focus on their most important work. But it's critical that these processes function well on their own before introducing an app.

Otherwise, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. You won't be able to properly ideate, scope, and deliver a comprehensive, effective app for your firm without a clear picture of where and how that app fits into your business.

So start here:

  • Analyze your current business processes and challenges.
  • Identify areas for improvement and opportunities for automation.
  • Develop standardized operating procedures (SOPs) to improve the flow of operations.
  • Identify the business needs and goals the application should achieve.
  • Determine the specific problems the app should solve.
Project team outlining requirements for business application development

Benefits: How SOPs and Custom Business Apps Fix Operational Inefficiencies At Scale

Once you've optimized and documented your processes, you're halfway to a more streamlined business. The next step is embracing automation and other benefits of custom application development.

When you add the benefits of workflow automation and AI/ML technology to your already-improved processes, you can expect to:

  • Boost efficiency and productivity
  • Automate formerly manual tasks
  • Reduce manual errors
  • Optimize workflow efficiency
  • Streamline workplace communications
  • Level up customer relationships

All of this leads to improved profit margins, making your firm a lean, mean, operationally efficient machine!

Types of Business Apps

The exact benefits you'll reap from a custom business application depend on what type of app you're building. Common types of business apps include:

Accounting and Bookkeeping

Imagine truly customized accounting software with every feature and report you want, minus the complexity and added cost of an overly robust system.

Customer Portals

Design a custom experience for your clients to monitor projects, provide feedback, order additional products and services, and more.

A white woman with light brown hair holds up her phone and credit card as though making a purchase. She sits in a chair outside with greenery out of focus behind her

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

CRMs aren't just for your sales team. Your account managers, project managers, executives, and customers will all benefit from the data analytics generated by a comprehensive CRM.

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)

ERP systems are designed to manage your back-of-house operations — everything from inventory management to accounting. While enterprise application design can be complex, the rewards are well worth it. Click to learn more about ERP and CRM.

Document Management

The possibilities for digital document management are endless! Design business applications for data entry automation, document processing, a personalized document management workflow, and more.

Event Management

If you host events as part of your services, you know the importance of regular process updates, clear communication, and more. Design a customized portal and leave nothing out!


A personalized intranet system with top-of-the-line compliance and security will level up any professional services firm. Incorporate file management, HRIS (human resources information systems), or anything else you need.

Aerial view of a woman with black hair typing on a Macbook laptop. She sits at a white desk with notebooks, books, glasses, an iPhone, and a coffee mug on top.

Inventory and Supply Chain Management

Your products and services are unique, which means you need a highly customized way to track everything behind the scenes.

Should You Build Your App with Traditional Programming Languages or Low- and No-Code Development Tools?

When we think of custom business apps, oftentimes our minds go straight to traditional code development. We assume we'll need to build from scratch to get the functionality, look and feel, and unique elements we envision.

But you can build highly personalized business applications on the foundation of low-code and no-code platforms — and in many cases, this is a far better choice.

When choosing between scratch code and no- or low-code platforms, consider this:

Technological Resources

Traditional code requires robust servers. If you're unable to house and fill an on-premise server room sufficient to develop apps now and into the future, you're relegated to offsite servers. Either way, it's a major investment.

But low- and no-code development tools don't require on-premise resources. You simply pay a subscription fee for each tool you use and leave the hefty server costs, large support staff, and headaches to someone else.

Team Resources

Business apps built with traditional code require larger teams. You'll typically need multiple developers and a variety of technical staff to manage the production process, facilitate testing, and maintain and update the app over time.

But no- and low-code development teams are leaner. With more of the groundwork laid, you'll benefit from fewer developers, less complex processes, and a more efficient process. Which brings us to...


It's no surprise that coding from scratch is time-intensive. Of course, experienced developers can implement efficiencies to speed up the development process — but it still doesn't compare to low- and no-code tools.

In fact, low-code tools can cut software development time and cost by 50-90%! That's thanks to existing frameworks and templates that are customizable to your business app. So if rapid application development is your goal, no-code tools are your solution.

A small team reviews a prototype or wireframe of a business app in a conference room


Along with speed, price is a big factor in the traditional vs. no-code decision. With larger teams and lengthier processes come larger price points.

As we've seen, low-code tools shrink development time significantly, which shrinks cost. So if budget is a factor (and let's be honest — when isn't it?), the benefits of low- and no-code tools are clear.


Traditional code has an edge here. When starting completely from scratch, the sky's the limit in terms of features and functionality.

Yet, robust native capabilities, SDK, and APIs allow advanced teams to customize no- and low-code apps, too. While this complexity may cost a bit more, you'll still save overall compared to full coding.

A redheaded woman writes "Use APIs" on a whiteboard in black marker


Scaling a scratch app requires more servers. But scaling with no-code and low-code tools is far easier! Typically, you just need to upgrade your subscription.

You're limited to the platform's tiers, but thankfully, most tools are built for enterprise application development. That means they're designed to handle large-size enterprise data and comfortably grow with your firm.

Learn more about the power of low- and no-code in this post: No-Code App Development May Be Your Secret Weapon

The Business Application Development Process: What To Expect

There's more to app development than ideation and execution. Here are the essential steps to the software development process, whether it's a software product, business app, or other tech solution.

1. Gather Business Requirements and Information

Meet with essential business partners to determine stakeholder expectations. Then outline each end user's needs. Remember that your end users may be internal (execs, department heads, individual contributors) or external (customers, vendors), so the process of gathering their requirements will vary.

Once you've determined what the app should accomplish, begin to outline its functional and nonfunctional requirements.

What Are Functional and Nonfunctional Requirements?

Functional requirements are essential features and capabilities necessary to meet business goals. For instance, an app for purchasing products must have e-commerce capabilities.

Nonfunctional requirements are those that don't contribute to the app's primary goal but are still critical. For example, an accounting app doesn't need to be scalable to track cash flow today — but to remain relevant and useful as your firm grows, scalability is a must-have.

2. Define Project Scope and Objectives

What will this app accomplish? What's its intended use? What will it solve, and what won't it? How will you know you've satisfied all the project requirements?

A white man in a burgundy beanie and blue t-shirt maps out project requirements and the user journey for enterprise application development

Don't move any further in the development process without understanding your scope and objectives. They should include:

  • Target audience
  • Functional and nonfunctional requirements (see above!)
  • Core features
  • Medium (web app or mobile app)
  • Timeline
  • Budget range
  • Resources required (internal and outsourced)
  • Methodology (traditional coding languages or no-code and low-code development platforms)
  • Technology stack (tools and platforms used to build the app)

3. Create a Business Case for Development

How will the app benefit your business? Examples include:

  • Increase productivity
  • Reduce errors
  • Improve customer satisfaction/retention
  • Reduce operating costs and/or improve profitability

Do your best to quantify these benefits so that your app has a clear, measurable ROI.

For example, we helped law firm receptionist Veta Virtual to save its clients over 28 hours per month with custom call handling automations. At a conservative $250/hour billable rate, that translates to over $7,000 per month in additional revenue! Read the full Veta Virtual automation case study.

4. Assemble Your Team

You may build your app in-house or outsource. Either way, you should expect a traditional app development team to include:

  • Business analysts for scoping and requirements
  • Architects for technology stack, integrations, and critical functional choices
  • Project managers for building and monitoring the development process
  • UI and UX designers to create the best experience and appearance
  • DevOps engineers to manage servers and pipelines
  • QA engineers for quality assurance
  • Backend developers for processing power
  • Frontend developers to put the UI/UX design into action

As you establish your business case and budget, remember the true cost — and opportunity cost — of using your in-house developers and other staff. Outsourcing may be lower-cost, more efficient, and more effective overall.

  • How much client work would you need to turn away to resource the new app with current staff?
  • How many other internal projects would be delayed?
  • How will using in-house staff impact your app's timeline?
  • Would you need to hire additional temp or permanent staff to replace them?
  • Are their skills an exact match for your scope and objectives?
A team of young and middle-aged workers in a casual office environment appear deep in discussion, possibly about building the right business app development team in-house or by outsourcing

Want more detail on exactly what project team members you need for a complete application or software development team? Check out this post: How to Build Software From Scratch.

6. Create Wireframes and Prototypes with a User-Centric Design Approach

Incredible business applications can still flop if the user experience and interface miss the mark. This is your chance to create a design that's intuitive, user-friendly, and meets all business needs.

Create wireframes and prototypes that visualize the application’s layout, functionality, and user interface. How can you achieve the intended outcome in the most intentional and simplest way?

7. Define Technical Requirements and Architecture

With the basic design and flow in hand, it's time to get technical. Outline how the app will be built and determine what tools, databases, and other business apps need to be built or integrated to meet your goals.

Don't forget to plan for integrations with, or replacement of, legacy software solutions. Explore native integrations, API, and more to understand how these parts will fit together before you start building.

8. Choose the Right Programming Languages and/or No-Code and Low-Code Development Tools

Select the technologies that best fit the project requirements and goals.

It may feel like you have to start from scratch to get all the features and functionality you want, especially for enterprise app development. But you may be surprised how versatile and customizable today's no-code and low-code app development platforms are!

If you don't have a technical architect in-house, an app development expert can help you assess which tools will be most effective for your specific goals.

A woman with ponytail and black blazer wears earbuds and takes notes while on video conference with two other people — one a woman of color with shouder-length black hair in a white button down, and the other more difficult to see in a black shirt

9. Build a Clean, Efficient, and Scalable App

Keep project scope and objectives top of mind while prioritizing timeline and budget — and don't forget to factor in scalability!

This is another place where no-code app development shines. Scaling scratch-made apps built with traditional code might require additional servers — and a place to put them.

On the other hand, scaling a no-code or low-code app may be as simple as upgrading your subscription.

10. Integrate with Existing Systems and APIs

Back on step 7, you outlined which systems you needed to integrate with or replace. Now, it's time to make those connections!

No-code and low-code development tools have ample built-in integrations, but you can connect systems with APIs if you don't see the integration you need.

11. Test and Perform Quality Assurance

Before rolling out your app, it's time to test.

Perform unit testing (testing small pieces of code individually), integration testing (checking your integrations and APIs), and user acceptance testing (letting end users try out the app — also known as beta testing). Create test cases and scripts to ensure you're reviewing and testing the right features and uses while meeting the functional and nonfunctional requirements.

The arms of a woman of color as she holds a phone in one hand and places her other hand on a laptop track pad. She's viewing the same grid of photos on both screens, implying she's doing some kind of QA testing on an app

Allow ample time for this phase, especially for enterprise application development.

12. Ensure Security and Compliance

This is critical for any app in any industry, but enterprise software development teams and industries with high compliance requirements (e.g., legal, healthcare) must be especially careful. With no-code and low-code tools, it's often easier to assess compliance, since the platforms note their own compliance with GDPR, HIPAA, etc.

13. Plan for Deployment and Rollout

Decide on your deployment strategy, timeline, and resources required for a successful rollout. For enterprise app development, this process can be lengthy — and you don't want to rush it.

When you hire an expert app development team, they'll often have your back for this phase! The importance of a successful rollout can't be overstated — so having a team to lean on during launch is typically a huge relief.

14. Provide Ongoing Support and Maintenance

The business app development process doesn't end at deployment. Apps are often released in stages, adding new features and refining existing ones. Plus, with regular updates to security and compliance protocols, turning attention away from your app can be disastrous.

That's why it's critical to devote resources to ongoing user support and app maintenance. Ensure that the application is updated, patched, and supported regularly, and create a safe development environment to make changes without risking the live app.

15. Monitor Performance and Make Improvements

When you adopt a continuous improvement/continuous deployment (CI/CD) approach, you take a proactive approach to optimizing your software applications.

Monitor performance and make improvements accordingly to ensure optimal functionality, keep pace with relevant industry trends, and keep users happy.

A man with black hair wears white sweatshirt and leans on desk of white woman with curly brown hair, wearing a white shirt with black horizontal strips. He is explaining something on a sticky note, possibly some feedback about an app they're working on

Business Application Development FAQs

Check out answers to these common questions about developing business apps.

What is the meaning of business application development?

Business app development is the process of building mobile apps or web applications for core business functions. These may be internal apps for operations, external apps for clients or vendors, or a mix of the two.

How to develop a business application?

Business software development follows this process:

1. Gather business requirements and information

2. Define project scope and objectives

3. Create a business case for development

4. Assemble your team

6. Create wireframes and prototypes with a user-centric design approach

7. Define technical requirements and architecture

8. Choose the right coding languages and/or no-code and low-code app development tools

9. Build a clean, efficient, and scalable app

10. Integrate with existing systems and APIs

11. Test & perform quality assurance

12. Ensure security and compliance

13. Plan for deployment and rollout

14. Provide ongoing support and maintenance

15. Monitor performance and make improvements

What is a business application example?

Different types of business applications include:

  • Accounting and bookkeeping
  • Customer portals
  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
  • ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)
  • Document management
  • Event management
  • Intranet
  • Inventory and supply chain management

Got Custom Business Apps On Your Mind?

A Black man in blue shirt and black blazer sits at a bistro table with laptop, paperwork, and a to-go coffee cup. He holds a pen in one hand and is writing in a notebook, as though he's jotting down an idea for a business application

Remember: a custom app is an opportunity to comprehensively solve your firm's biggest problems end-to-end. Whether for enterprise application development or a small business, failing to prioritize expert execution could mean complete failure of your app.

So if you want to stay competitive, eliminate inefficiencies, and encourage collaboration and innovation both within your org and with your partners and clients, don't cut corners. Invest in your firm with an app that's expertly built to solve your problems and scale with you.

To learn more about how Crispy can help with your business app, check out our Custom App Development services page.

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Last updated
November 25, 2023

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