Web Applications - What are they?Sept. 10, 2020 | Categories: blog
Web applications and their benefits are hard to ignore. In today's world, growing businesses need to spend time on the things they're good at, not maintaining legacy applications that fall over at the first sign of scaling up. This article will cover 5 of the key benefits that you can enjoy after adopting web applications into your business.
Before reading on, it is important to first understand what exactly a web application is.
We have all heard of websites and we have all heard of mobile apps, but could you easily describe or explain to a lehman what a web app is? Possibly not but I guarantee that you will have used at least one, probably today!
A web application is a computer programme that allows you to log-in to a web address in order to submit and retrieve data to/from a database over the Internet. These programmes are developed using web technologies such as HTML, CSS, JS etc. and can be accessed using your preferred web browser (e.g. Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer etc.). Microsoft Office 365’s suite of tools are web apps e.g. Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc. Google Docs collaboration tools as well.
Every business in the UK will use the Internet in some capacity and as such, web apps are an increasingly important tool and are deployed to communicate with customers, collaborate with employees, while also offering secure storage of data and providing information to management.
In the past, business critical systems such as CRMs and other applications have been installed locally and only accessible via machines on that network. This worked for a time because there was no alternative, and communication was being achieved by phone or fax. As the world is better connected than ever before, if you aren't already utilising the benefits of the cloud and the web apps that it serves, you should be.
5 key benefits of using Web Apps for business:
Improved accuracy and efficiency
It is vitally important that information that a business looks at and bases decisions on, is accurate. Having multiple sources of data with no integration, makes decision making difficult, time consuming and prone to human error. In business these days, you need to be able to trust your data and be able to make business critical decisions quickly. Having all your data integrated in one place gives you greater visibility of your business and its performance, freeing up staff time that could have been spent compiling info from lots of different sources and allowing you to run reports that are updated with real-time information.
As web based applications utilise the cloud, you have the peace of mind that should your computer equipment fail or be lost or stolen, you can easily regain access to your systems via a different device anywhere in the world. Thanks to the data being stored in the cloud, you would simply need to visit the URL and enter your username and password and you’d be back to work! Web based applications also provide an added layer of security by removing the need for the user to have access to the data and back end servers. Another benefit here is that data can be rolled back or restored from the cloud (Point in Time Recovery) in the event of error which saves time.
Desktop based software will require updating every so often and this involves updating every single device in which the application is installed which is time consuming and requires staff input. As this task usually falls to staff and may be ignored if they are pushed for time, this can leave your business vulnerable to security breaches.
It is also the case that web applications are typically deployed on dedicated servers and are monitored and maintained by experienced server administrators; this is far more effective than monitoring individual user computers as is the case with desktop applications. This means that security is tighter and any potential breaches should be noticed far more quickly.
The key benefit of using web apps in business has to be that, given that web applications are web-based, they can be accessed 24/7 provided that you have an Internet connection and a device with a browser. It also opens up possibilities such as global teams, home working and real-time collaboration. The outdated notion of sitting in front of a computer and working in a fixed location is a thing of the past with web-based applications.
The way we work and consumer data has changed and there is a desire and need to be
able to access business applications from multiple devices i.e. laptop, tablet and mobile. Web applications give you the flexibility that as a user, you want.
Web based applications remove the need to manually update devices because a functionality update can be rolled with zero downtime, giving users instant access to the updated version of the app. This also avoids compatibility issues that can arise when users use different versions of an application.
A custom web application is made specifically for your business and the needs of your business - its designed to serve you now but also to continue serving you as you scale and your needs develop; off the shelf software is more rigid and cannot grow as your needs develop. Increasing processor capacity also becomes a far simpler operation with web-based applications. If an application requires more power to perform tasks only the server hardware needs to be upgraded or virtual environment will scale up or down automatically saving time and maintenance cost
The capacity of web-based software can be increased by “clustering” or running the software on several servers simultaneously. As workload increases, new servers can be added to the system easily.
Easy Installation and Maintenance
As web apps are hosted in the cloud, you avoid the hassle of installing software on every device that will require access; this benefit is also true if looking at it from a scalability and accessibility point of view. It is also fair to say that web apps require lower spec machines to allow access - they are less punishing on memory and as previously covered, a modern browser and internet access are the only real requirements. As every PC has a browser, installation time is extremely fast and can run in the background whilst staff get on with their other work. Maintenance requirements are generally much lower, with updates and patches rolled out remotely to every device.
Again, as custom web apps are built to your specification, only relevant features are developed which will reduce training time for staff, increasing the speed at which you can roll out the new application across the business. It's also possible to add functionality as your business grows and needs develop.
As we’ve covered in the above points, web applications allow businesses to adapt to changes in the working environment more easily than legacy, locally installed applications. We’ve seen with Covid-19 that businesses have had to adapt their working practices to accommodate the new ‘norm’ and web applications help facilitate this change.
At Tuware, we develop custom web applications for our customers on time and on budget and ensure their value by fully understanding and exploring the requirements of our customers to develop applications that greatly improve business processes. Get in touch today for a friendly chat about our services and how we can help your business.