Whether it’s a corporate intranet or public-facing website, businesses often under-utilize the power of the web. Once their site is up and running with the bare-necessities, they usually leave it untouched for months or even years, much to the detriment of the site itself. Going beyond the basic ‘About Us’ and ‘Contact’ pages can make a site more engaging for visitors and more productive for a company and it’s employees.
What is Possible With Web Apps?
From the most basic contact form to elaborate accounting systems, today’s web application architectures can support complex programming and database functionality, making modern web applications behave similarly to desktop apps like Word or Excel. Job applications, banking services, appointment setting apps and more can be built to live right on a web server, available to users with no installation or complicated software update processes. Web apps can also be designed for compatibility with any type of computer, be it PC or Mac. Why limit your users based on the hardware they choose?
Adapting Desktop Applications to Web Apps
On a past project, I was tasked with translating an existing support desk ticket system to a web-based application. The existing program needed to be installed on each user’s PC, requiring valuable support time from the help desk, as well as compatibility troubleshooting for each new operating system change that occurred, making the desktop app more trouble than it was worth. Moving to a web-based system meant that software updates could be done once on the server and would be instantly ‘rolled out’ to all users. In addition, users could access the program from any computer with internet access, whether it was from home via a VPN (virtual private network) or via the corporate office computers.
Security For Web Apps
A well-designed application can utilize the same security technology as your bank or a government website, with the proper security measures built-in to ensure the data is safe from hackers or other prying eyes. Secure logins and encrypted data transfers make sure the database and user info are protected from attacks, while giving full access to the app’s users where needed. Modern browsers support these technologies better than ever before, making them a solid platform for secure web-based business software.
Informing Business Owners of the Options Available
As mentioned before, most sites stop at the basic static pages, never taking advantage of the myriad web application possibilities available. A web project manager or developer should help the company identify processes that could benefit from a software solution. Many day-to-day functions could be streamlined to save hundreds or thousands of man-hours, thus saving the company money. Private intranet sites and internal applications are more and more common these days for large companies, but can also be utilized by small businesses trying to cut down on costs by reducing tedious jobs or recurring tasks that would be well-suited to a web app. Some Examples are: appointment setting programs, calendar apps, order taking apps, custom contact or information request forms, accounting software, or employee scheduling apps. Mobile web applications are another entirely new frontier, offering portable functionality with the same access as desktop apps with a simple, mobile-friendly interface. The possibilities are truly endless, and in many cases the app itself can help to generate new business, by engaging the customer in new ways.
Leverage the Web’s Power and Reap the Rewards
On your next web project, think beyond the same old static content and find some ways to incorporate web software solutions that help increase your productivity. Chances are there are existing business processes that would be well-suited to a browser-based program, or new creative solutions that could be introduced that will enhance the business and save valuable employee time.