Enterprise software describes the software layer of an enterprise computing platform used by business organizations to process data. It is primarily associated with software applications operated by users and stakeholders of an enterprise to process data.

Enterprise Software Architecture (Anatomy)

The common building blocks of a modern enterprise cloud computing platform are:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) – the hardware and operating systems software used to house software applications
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) – the software platform used to design, deploy and operate applications
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – the runtime applications used by stakeholders to capture, process and output data

Types of Applications Software in the Enterprise Architecture

While no organization can function without enterprise software these days, how they design their software platform varies enormously. There are normally four layers to the enterprise applications software stack:

Systems of Record

These are large and expensive software applications used to process mission critical data to serve common back-office functions such as financial management, manufacturing, human resources and customer relationship management. These systems deliver value to businesses by enforcing standards in how data is processed and by being extremely reliable to ‘keep the lights on.’ Investments in Systems of Record are in the tune of 60 to 75% of total enterprise software spend.

Business Model Orchestration also known as Situational Applications

The gap that exists between processing of standard back-office functions and the total data processing needs of the enterprise to fulfil its business model and serve up its customer value represents 10 to 20% of the total enterprise applications platform

Onboard, Embedded and Sensor-based Applications

These are use cases for software embedded into hardware such as smart devices used to manage assets and read-back customer activities and behaviours. Today, these represent 3-8% of the total enterprise stack but, thanks to trends towards increased use of Internet of Things (sensor-networked) technologies, this category is dramatically on the rise.

Personal Data Processing also known as desktop applications.

These are applications created by individuals and small teams to capture, cleanse, process, analyse and share information. This is where the demand for ‘citizen developer’ applications software largely comes from. Whilst it represents just 7-15% of total enterprise applications in terms of spend, it represents an important genre as these applications very much drive user and stakeholder experiences. Expectations on the quality of applications in this genre are extremely high because of the consumerization of IT; the realisation of users that applications can be ‘that good’ as the result of using

Enterprise Software Architectures and Digital Transformation

Many businesses today are considering the potential of advanced technologies – such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, big data, cloud computing, 3D printing, drones, blockchain and virtual reality – to transform how. they create value for their customers.

Low Code, No Code and Codeless

When formalizing their digital transformation framework, many leading chief information officers are recognizing that traditional IT methods and tools are too slow, inflexible and costly to use. For this reason, they are turning to agile software development tools and platforms (either code lite, low code or no code) to author prototypes rapidly, fail fast and bring new app solutions to market faster.

Encanvas offers the easiest to use and most complete tool-kit for live wireframing and rapid applications development. It equips DevOps teams with the digital transformation tools they need to outperform competitive rivals.

Enterprise Software and Data Driven Businesses

With a general recognition that business success is increasingly derived from the ability of an enterprise to master and leverage its data value, senior management teams are increasingly exploring ways to make sense of their operational performance through data. The ability to re-use data – to harvest, cleanse, rationalize, and analyze it – has become a mission-critical need.

Short-comings in Enterprise Software Architectures

Not all, but many present-day enterprise software architectures have some key issue areas. They include:

Suffering from legacy
Some businesses have been hoarding applications for years, ignoring many of them that are ‘good enough.’ With the pace of change in markets increasing every year, companies are constantly revising their business models. Legacy systems costs represent a major distraction, drain on resources and an anchor on innovation.

Too many applications
Access to Software-as-a-Service applications and the slow-pace of internal software development has led many organizations to democratize their IT spend to departmental heads. A consequence of this trend has been the proliferation of SaaS tools.

The statistics around SaaS are unnerving. According to a recent report by Blissfully, a New-York startup that operates a platform to track SaaS adoption, the average company with 200 to 500 employees uses about 123 Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications these days. For mid-sized companies, there are an average of 32 different billing owners for the SaaS subscriptions. On average, an employee uses eight SaaS applications!

A continued ignorance towards the existence of shadow systems and the need for situational applications

Organizations turn a blind-eye to self-authored desktop applications created using simple apps like spreadsheets because they don’t have the bandwidth to care. These applications are effectively being managed not by IT but by business professionals with other jobs to do (like running departments). Worse still, these unregulated apps are known to be unreliable in managing data quality, they scale badly. But that’s not the end of the story. These apps process and save data (so-called shadow data) that’s invisible to IT, yet it can contain privacy data, confidential company financial data, legal contracts, and competitive information that might place an organization at risk.

The gap that exists between Systems of Record and complete Digital Ecosystems to support Business Models

In most organizations, a gap exists between inflexible Systems of Record – used to enforce good practice in common core back-office processes such as financial management, human resources, and customer relationship management – and the demand for applications from departments, users, teams, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders to support the fulfillment of a business model orchestration.

About Encanvas

Encanvas is an enterprise software company that specializes in helping businesses to create above and beyond customer experiences.

From Low Code to Codeless

Better than code-lite and low-code, we created the first no-code (codeless) enterprise application platform to release creative minds from the torture of having to code or script applications.

Live Wireframe

Use encanvas in your software development lifecycle to remove the barrier between IT and the business. Coding and scripting is the biggest reason why software development has been traditionally unpredictable, costly and unable to produce best-fit software results. Encanvas uniquely automates coding and scripting. Our live wireframing approach means that business analysts can create the apps you need in workshops, working across the desk with users and stakeholders.


When it comes to creating apps to create a data culture and orchestrate your business model, there’s no simpler way to install and operate your enterprise software platform than AppFabric. Every application you create on AppFabric adds yet more data to your single-version-of-the-truth data insights. That’s because, we’ve designed AppFabric to create awesome enterprise apps that use a common data management substrate, so you can architect and implement an enterprise master data management plan.

Customer Data Platform

Encanvas supplies a private-cloud Customer Data Platform that equips businesses with the means to harvest their customer and commercial data from all sources, cleanse and organize it, and provide tooling to leverage its fullest value in a secure, regulated way. We provide a retrofittable solution that bridges across existing data repositories and cleanses and organizes data to present a useful data source. Then it goes on to make data available 24×7 in a regulated way to authorized internal stakeholders and third parties to ensure adherence to data protection and FCA regulatory standards.

Encanvas Secure&Live

Encanvas Secure and Live (‘Secure&Live’) is a High-Productivity application Platform-as-a-Service. It’s an enterprise applications software platform that equips businesses with the tools they need to design, deploy applications at low cost. It achieves this by removing coding and scripting tasks and the overheads of programming applications. Unlike its rivals, Encanvas Secure&Live is completely codeless (not just Low-Code), so it removes the barriers between IT and the business. Today, you just need to know that it’s the fastest (and safest) way to design, deploy and operate enterprise applications.

Learn more by visiting www.encanvas.com.

The Author

Ian Tomlin is a management consultant and strategist specializing in helping organizational leadership teams to grow by telling their story, designing and orchestrating their business models, and making conversation with customers and communities. He serves on the management team of Encanvas and works as a virtual CMO and board adviser for tech companies in Europe, America, and Canada. He can be contacted via his LinkedIn profile or follow him on Twitter.

Further reading