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Enterprise Software Development: The Rocketmakers Guide 

By Simone Bradley
25th Jun 2024
16 min read
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Enterprise software development can seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. 

This comprehensive guide simplifies the process, helping you understand how enterprise software works and how to create solutions that meet your business needs.

We start with the fundamentals: defining enterprise software, highlighting its impact across industries, and explaining how it differs from other software types. 

This foundation will help you understand the benefits and challenges, empowering you to make informed decisions at every step.

Next, we guide you through the entire development lifecycle—from initial concept and planning to deployment and maintenance. Along the way, we share best practices, strategies, and insider tips to help you navigate complexities and avoid common pitfalls.

Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting, this guide provides everything you need to turn your vision into reality.

What is Enterprise Software?

Enterprise software refers to large-scale, complex software systems designed to meet the specific needs of large organisations and businesses. 

These solutions aim to automate and streamline various business processes, improve operational efficiency, and enable data-driven decision-making.

What Is the Difference Between Enterprise Software Development and Standard Software Development? 

Traditional software solutions focus on creating applications for individual users or small teams. These solutions aim to address specific user needs or offer general-purpose functionality. 

On the other hand, enterprise software development caters to large organisations' complex requirements. These solutions aim to streamline and automate key business processes, improve operational efficiency, and enable data-driven decision-making. 
Here is a table outlining the key differences:

table of regular software development v enterprise software developent

Why Would You Need An Enterprise Software System?

Unique Requirements

Enterprises often have unique business processes that an off-the-shelf software product cannot accommodate. 

An enterprise software product can be tailored to fit specific workflows, business rules, and requirements.

For instance, a logistics company like FedEx might develop software to optimise routing and delivery schedules specific to its operational needs, which off-the-shelf solutions cannot handle efficiently.

Enterprise apps and solutions can provide a competitive edge by enabling unique features or processes that differentiate the business from its competitors. Think of Amazon’s recommendation engine as an example. 

This powerful algorithm analyses customer data to deliver personalised product suggestions, boosting engagement and driving sales by highlighting items customers are likely to want and suggesting additional purchases.


As enterprises grow, their software needs evolve. An enterprise solution can be designed with scalability in mind, ensuring it can handle increased loads and additional functionalities as the business expands.

Custom software can be built using flexible and modular architectures, allowing easy upgrades and integration of new features as required. 

Also, custom enterprise app development can future-proof your organisation, allowing for seamless integration of new technologies and avoiding costly software migrations down the line.

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Integration with Existing Systems

Large enterprises often rely on multiple systems and platforms. Enterprise software products can be designed to integrate seamlessly with existing systems, ensuring smooth data flow and eliminating silos.

Enterprise software developers can tailor solutions that work with legacy systems, ensuring that valuable historical data and processes are not lost.

Enhanced Security

CyberArk found that 93% of organisations had two or more identity-related breaches in 2023. It goes without saying that security is paramount for an enterprise application.

Custom enterprise software development allows for the implementation of specific security measures tailored to the enterprise's needs, reducing the risk of security breaches.

These solutions can be designed to meet industry-specific regulatory and compliance requirements, ensuring that the enterprise adheres to necessary standards.

For instance, a financial services firm might develop custom software with advanced encryption and multi-factor authentication tailored to its specific security needs.

Improved Organisational Performance and Efficiency

85.5% of enterprises invest in software to improve productivity and efficiency, according to Panorama Consulting's 2024 ERP report.  

This highlights the power of custom-designed enterprise software to boost organisational performance.

For example, a healthcare provider's custom software might manage patient records and appointments, improving efficiency and care.

These solutions unlock smoother workflows, improve resource management, and directly impact the bottom line by automating tasks, streamlining processes, and targeting unique needs.

Better User Experience

Enterprise software can be designed with the end-users in mind, ensuring a user-friendly interface and enhanced user experience.

Tailored solutions that meet employees' needs can lead to higher satisfaction and adoption rates—more on this below. 

Support and Maintenance

In custom enterprise application development, organisations can have dedicated support teams familiar with the specific needs and nuances of the software.

As part of the software development process, custom solutions can include proactive maintenance plans, ensuring that the software remains up-to-date and any potential issues are addressed promptly.

Expert Consultancy at Your Fingertips

Enhance your digital product with Rocketmakers' expert consultancy services. We provide guidance on design, architecture, security, and strategy to ensure your project’s success.

Our services include:

✔️Initial concept designs

✔️User research and branding

✔️UI mock-ups

✔️UX journeys

✔️Help and guidance for first-time founders
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Custom software empowers enterprises to seize new opportunities and respond swiftly to market shifts.  

Businesses can maintain a competitive edge by implementing changes and innovations without being tied to third-party timelines. 

For instance, integrating AI capabilities into a custom CRM solution could enable predictive lead scoring or personalised customer interactions, setting a business apart from competitors who rely on generic software. 

Additionally, custom solutions can support innovative business models and practices, opening doors to new revenue streams and untapped markets.

Cost Efficiency in the Long Run

Custom software isn't just about addressing unique needs; it's a strategic investment that pays off in the long run. 

Businesses can achieve substantial cost savings over time by eliminating recurring licensing fees and reducing reliance on external vendors. 

Additionally, having full control over their software empowers organisations to adapt and innovate quickly, ensuring their solutions remain relevant and effective as their needs evolve. 

For example, a national retail chain could invest in a custom inventory management system to not only streamline operations but also save millions in annual licensing fees.

Challenges Of An Enterprise Software Development Project 

Custom enterprise software empowers businesses with tailored solutions that:

🏆Streamline operations and enhance efficiency.

🏆Fuel innovation and drive growth.

🏆Secure a lasting competitive edge.

However, developing enterprise software has challenges, which we’ll explore in more detail below. 

High Complexity 

Unlike traditional software development, enterprise software projects often face a unique set of challenges due to their sheer scale and complexity. 

These projects typically involve numerous stakeholders, each with their own set of requirements and priorities. 

Integrating new software with existing legacy systems can also be daunting, requiring careful planning and execution. The Standish Group's finding that only 29% of IT projects meet their original goals underscores the difficulties inherent in managing a project at this scale.

Project Management and Coordination

Large-scale enterprise software projects often involve multiple teams, departments, and geographic locations. This complexity can lead to communication breakdowns, misaligned goals, and project delays or failures. 

The Project Management Institute's (PMI) Pulse of the Profession report found that a staggering 11.4% of investment is wasted due to poor project performance. 

This highlights the critical need for effective project management and coordination to ensure successful outcomes.

Cost Overruns

Enterprise software projects are notorious for exceeding budgets. Panorama Consulting's 2024 ERP report showed that only 12.2% of projects come in on time and under budget.  

They also found that project delays are common, with nearly 30% running over schedule. This is often due to resource constraints and the difficulty of finding qualified professionals in specialised fields like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

Requirement Changes

The dynamic nature of business environments means that requirements can change frequently, disrupting the development process.

For example, a financial institution might need to adjust software requirements to comply with new regulatory standards midway through the project. This obviously has knock-on effects that set development projects back. 

Integration with Legacy Systems

Integrating with existing legacy systems often poses a significant hurdle in enterprise software development. 

While critical to business operations, these older systems can be like antiquated machinery: difficult to modify, incompatible with modern technology, and often poorly documented. 

This makes connecting them with new, custom-built software a complex and time-consuming process, requiring careful planning and specialised enterprise software developers.

User Adoption and Training

One of the most significant challenges in enterprise software development is ensuring successful user adoption.  

Employees may resist change, especially if the new software is complex or disrupts familiar routines. McKinsey research shows that 70% of large-scale transformations fail, often due to inadequate change management and training efforts.  

A prime example is a company-wide CRM implementation, where sales teams accustomed to spreadsheets might require extensive training and support to embrace the new system fully.

Enterprise Software Development Framework

Now that you understand what enterprise software development is as well as its pros and cons, let's discuss the stages involved in developing enterprise software, from initial conceptualization to deployment. 

Each phase requires meticulous planning and execution to ensure the final product meets business objectives and user expectations. 

Below, we’ve provided a high-level framework for building custom enterprise software, covering all essential phases, including:

  • Initiation and planning
  • Design and development 
  • Testing and deployment 
  • Maintenance and optimisation
enterprise software phases

1.1 Project Conceptualisation

  • Define objectives: Clearly state the goals and objectives of the software project.
  • Feasibility study: Conduct a feasibility study to assess the project's viability. This includes technical feasibility, financial viability, and organisational readiness.
  • Stakeholder identification: Identify all stakeholders and their interests. Key stakeholders include senior management, department heads, IT team, and end-users. 

1.2 Business Case Development

  • Cost-benefit analysis: Analyse the costs and benefits associated with the project.
  • Risk assessment: Identify potential risks and their mitigation strategies.

1.3 Project Charter

  • Define scope: Create a detailed project roadmap outlining milestones, timelines, and resource allocation.
  • Resource allocation: Allocate resources, including team members, hardware, and software.
  • Budget planning: Create a detailed budget plan for the project.
  • Get approval: Obtain formal approval from stakeholders and project sponsors.

💡Key Point: What Is a Project Roadmap? 

A project roadmap visualises a project's goals, milestones, deliverables, and timeline. 

It provides a high-level overview of the project's trajectory, outlining the key phases, major tasks, and estimated completion dates.

Think of it like a map for a road trip:

➡️ Destination: The project's overall goals and objectives.

➡️ Route: The major phases and milestones of the project.

➡️ Stops along the way: The specific deliverables and tasks required to complete each phase.

➡️ Estimated arrival time (ETA): The projected completion date for each milestone and the overall project.


2.1 Requirements Gathering

Invest time in thorough requirements gathering, involving all stakeholders to ensure all needs are captured.

✔️Stakeholder interviews: Conduct interviews with stakeholders to gather requirements.

✔️Workshops: Organise workshops to gather detailed requirements and discuss functionalities.

✔️Documentation: Document requirements in a Software Requirements Specification (SRS) document.

2.3 Risk Management Planning

  • Risk identification: Identify potential risks that could affect timelines.
  • Risk mitigation plans: Develop mitigation strategies for each identified risk.
design phase

3.1 System Architecture Design

  • High-level design: Create a high-level software architecture diagram.
  • Technology stack: Decide on the technology stack (e.g., programming languages, frameworks).

3.2 Detailed Design

  • Module design: Design detailed specifications for each module.
  • Database design: Design the database schema.
  • User Interface (UI) design: Create wireframes and UI mockups.

3.3 Validation

  • Conduct design reviews and validations with stakeholders.

4.1 Environment Setup

  • Development environment: Set up the development environment (IDEs, tools).
  • Version control: Implement version control systems (e.g., Git).

4.2 Coding

  • Module development: Develop individual modules as per the design.
  • Integration: Integrate modules to build the complete system.

4.3 Testing

  • Unit testing: Conduct unit testing for each module.

5.1 System Testing

Functional testing: Ensure the system functions as per requirements.

  • Non-functional testing: Test for performance, security, and usability.

5.2 User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

  • UAT Planning: Plan and prepare for UAT.
  • Execution: Conduct UAT with real users and gather feedback.

💡Key Point: UAT testing

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is the final phase of software testing where actual end-users evaluate the software to ensure it meets their needs and expectations. 

It's the last checkpoint before the software is deployed or released to the market.

UAT involves testing the software in real-world scenarios using actual data and workflows. This helps identify any issues or bugs that might not have been caught during earlier testing phases.


6.1 Pre-Deployment

  • Deployment planning: Develop a detailed enterprise software implementation plan.
  • Environment setup: Set up the production environment.

6.2 Deployment

  • Rollout: Deploy the software in the production environment.
  • Verification: Verify the deployment and conduct post-deployment testing.

7.1 Monitoring

  • System monitoring: Continuously monitor the system for issues.
  • Performance monitoring: Monitor system performance and optimise as needed.

7.2 Support

  • User support: Provide support to end-users.
  • Issue resolution: Track and resolve issues through a ticketing system.

7.3 Updates and Enhancements

  • Patch management: Apply patches and updates.
  • Enhancements: Implement new features and improvements based on user feedback.
image of a rocket on a laptop screen

Custom Enterprise Software Development Best Practices 

By now, you probably have a clearer understanding of developing enterprise software. This section contains our best practices on how to make your enterprise software project a success:

1️⃣ Define Clear Objectives and Requirements

Start with a clear understanding of the business problems you aim to solve and the value the software will deliver. Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the software's success in achieving those goals.

For example, say you are a retail company, and you are looking at creating an enterprise resource planning solution that might aim to reduce inventory costs by 20% through better inventory management.

You should also prioritise features based on their business impact and alignment with strategic objectives.

2️⃣ Engage Stakeholders Early and Often

Early and frequent engagement with stakeholders is crucial for ensuring the success of enterprise software projects. 

By involving key decision-makers and end-users from the beginning, you can gather valuable feedback, align expectations, and avoid costly misunderstandings down the line. 

Regular communication throughout the development process ensures that the software remains on track to meet evolving business needs, ultimately resulting in a solution that is both effective and user-friendly.

Here are some additional tips: 

Specify stakeholders: Clearly identify the types of stakeholders that should be involved (e.g., department heads, end-users, IT staff, executive sponsors).

Outline communication channels: Suggest specific ways to engage stakeholders, such as regular meetings, surveys, focus groups, or online collaboration tools.

Emphasise the value of feedback: Explain how stakeholder feedback can improve the quality and relevance of the software solution.

Address potential challenges: Acknowledge that stakeholder engagement can be time-consuming and challenging, but stress that it's crucial for the project's success.

Choose the Right Partner

When evaluating potential enterprise software development partners, consider these essential criteria:

➡️ Proven experience: A track record of successful enterprise projects in your industry or a similar domain.

➡️ Technical expertise: Mastery of relevant technologies and platforms.

➡️ Communication and collaboration: Openness, transparency, and a commitment to keeping you informed and involved.

➡️ Agile mindset: Embracing Agile methodologies to ensure flexibility and adaptability throughout the project.

Don't gamble with your enterprise software. Rocketmakers delivers proven experience, industry expertise, Agile methodologies, and transparent collaboration. Your vision, our expertise. 🚀 Launch your success story today by getting in touch

Robust Project Management

As mentioned above, developing an enterprise software system is a huge undertaking. We can’t stress enough how important project management is during this process. 

Here are some tips for keeping things on track: 

Clarify roles

Clearly define responsibilities for every team member and stakeholder to ensure accountability and streamline decision-making.

Closely track progress

Implement regular project check-ins to track milestones, proactively address roadblocks, and mitigate risks before they derail your timeline.

Effectively manage change 

Establish a formal change management process to evaluate, prioritise, and seamlessly incorporate updates to requirements and functionality, ensuring your project stays on track and aligned with your evolving goals.

Always focus on the user

Never underestimate the power of the user in enterprise software development. Their feedback guides design decisions and ensures that the final product meets their expectations.  

Start by conducting thorough user research to understand their needs and pain points. Then, use usability testing to refine the user experience, identifying and addressing any issues that arise. 

By embracing an iterative design process incorporating user feedback at every stage, you can create software that people will find valuable and easy to use.

Change Management and Training

Successful enterprise software implementation hinges on effective change management and training.  

New software often disrupts established routines and workflows, leading to resistance from employees. 

A comprehensive change management plan addresses this resistance by communicating the benefits of the new software, providing ample training opportunities, and offering ongoing support to users. 

This ensures a smooth transition, minimises disruptions, and maximises the value of the software investment.

To achieve successful user adoption, consider these key strategies:

Early and transparent communication: Clearly communicate the reasons for the change, the benefits employees can expect, and the timeline for implementation.

Comprehensive training: Offer various training options, including in-person sessions, online tutorials, and self-paced learning modules.

Ongoing support: Provide ongoing support and resources to help users troubleshoot issues and master the new software.

Celebrate successes: Recognize and celebrate milestones and successes to build momentum and reinforce the positive impact of the new software.

Final Thoughts: Enterprise Software Development 

Enterprise software development is an investment in your company's future. 

By understanding the types of software available, the development process, and the critical factors for success, you can harness technology to drive innovation, efficiency, and growth.  

Don't be afraid to embrace the possibilities—with careful planning and the right guidance, custom software can transform your business and unlock its full potential.

Looking For a Development Partner? 

Ready to turn your enterprise software vision into reality? Partner with a team that understands the unique challenges and opportunities of large-scale development. 

With Rocketmaker's proven track record and over 16 years of experience, we can help you build custom solutions that drive innovation, streamline operations, and deliver lasting value. 

Contact us today to explore how we can empower your business through transformative software.