We often see the word ‘Enterprise’ used flippantly. Fine if you are talking about a fictitious starship but dangerous when talking about software.
Enterprise software may have the same features as software developed for small businesses but it is (or should be) written in a completely different way. If you are not sure, consider what you need from your software:
- Performance: Can it execute the required actions within the required time?
- Reliability: Can it remain operational over time and not fail?
- Scalability: Can it handle increases in load without impacting performance?
- Security: Can it protect system data and prevent unauthorized modification?
- Supportability: Is helpful information available to identify and resolve issues?
- Usability: Does it meet user requirements and provide a good overall experience?
- Training: Are training resources available?
- Interoperability: Can it successfully communicate with other systems?
Developers building software for small businesses tends to focus more on features and often do not have the budget, or knowledge, to create enterprise software. A simple example is saving data to a database where developers can quickly write three lines of code, or alternatively, think enterprise, and write 50+ lines of code that are optimized for volume, concurrency, duplicate detection, error handling, transaction retries etc.
So, how can you tell if the software is enterprise (without seeing the code)? Usually, because you have to pay for it, either by developing it (and maybe costing hundreds of thousands of dollars) or by purchasing it.
Other ways to tell are:
- Very large companies are using it to transact high volumes of data
- It was developed by a reputable company
- It has quality support and training from experienced resources
- It is certified by recognized bodies (like the UL Cybersecurity Assurance Program)
- Web feedback is positive
- Existing customers recommend it
A warning about the last item. Always remember the adage, “Don’t ask someone who has got one, ask someone who has had one”, which addresses people’s reluctance or embarrassment to disclose their true feelings about products they own. It aligns with another adage, “Some people are too nice to be honest whereas others are too honest to be nice”. It’s the latter individual you need to talk to about their enterprise software.