The benefits of web-based applications
Web-based applications offer a range of business advantages over traditional desktop applications.
What is a web-based application?
A web-based application is any application that uses a website as the interface or front-end. Users can easily access the application from any computer connected to the Internet using a standard browser.
This contrasts with traditional desktop applications, which are installed on a local computer. For example, most of us are familiar with Microsoft Excel, a common spreadsheet application that is a desktop application.
On the other hand, Google Sheets is also a spreadsheet application but users perform all the functions using a web browser instead of using software installed on their computer. This means that it is a web-based application.
What are the business advantages?
Cost effective development
With web-based applications, users access the system via a uniform environment—the web browser.
There is no need to develop and test it on all possible operating system versions and configurations. This makes development and troubleshooting much easier.
Unlike traditional applications, web systems are accessible anytime, anywhere and via any computer with an Internet connection. This puts the user firmly in charge of where and when they access the application.
It also opens up exciting, modern possibilities such as global teams, home working and real-time collaboration. The idea of sitting in front of a single computer and working in a fixed location is a thing of the past with web-based applications.
The user interface of web-based applications is easier to customise than is the case with desktop applications. This makes it easier to update the look and feel of the application or to customise the presentation of information to different user groups.
Therefore, there is no longer any need for everyone to settle for using exactly the same interface at all times. Instead, you can find the perfect look for each situation and user.
Accessible for a range of devices
In addition to being customisable for user groups, content can also be customised for use on any device connected to the internet. This includes the likes of PDAs, mobile phones and tablets.
This further extends the user’s ability to receive and interact with information in a way that suits them. In this way, the up to date information is always at the fingertips of the people who need it.
It is possible to achieve a far greater level of interoperability between web applications than it is with isolated desktop systems. For example, it is much easier to integrate a web-based shopping cart system with a web-based accounting package than it is to get two proprietary systems to talk to each other.
Because of this, web-based architecture makes it possible to rapidly integrate enterprise systems, improving work-flow and other business processes. By taking advantage of internet technologies you get a flexible and adaptable business model that can be changed according to shifting market demands.
Easier installation and maintenance
With the web-based approach installation and maintenance becomes less complicated too. Once a new version or upgrade is installed on the host server all users can access it straight away and there is no need to upgrade the PC of each and every potential user.
Rolling out new software can be accomplished more easily, requiring only that users have up-to-date browsers and plugins.
Adaptable to increased workload
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.
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.
For example, Google runs on thousands of inexpensive Linux servers. If a server fails, it can be replaced without affecting the overall performance of the application.
Web-based applications are typically deployed on dedicated servers, which is far more effective than monitoring hundreds of client computers as is the case with desktop applications. Furthermore, with the secured connections technology like SSL, the exchange of information is ecrypted to prevent people from sniffing your data.
With customized access permissions for users, you can specify who can do what with the information you stored.
Web-based applications are:
- easier to develop
- more useful for your users
- easier to install, maintain and keep secure
- easier to grow as you grow
If you’d like to find out more about web-based applications, which technologies to use and how they could benefit your organisation then please contact us.