Developing business apps for CRM clients

Software development has evolved remarkably since the time when teams of people would labour over massive projects. Enormous specs would be produced and so much time would be spent developing that the specification would often change by the time the development was finished.

The Internet-fueled digital revolution and the popularity of digital devices contributed to an important scenario; the audience for apps became extremely knowledgeable about its needs and the entire process. This would generate ideas for creation faster than the tech world could produce them.

Agile development

The appearance of Agile methodologies contributed not only to making rapid development a possibility, but kick-started the evolution of business-needs-driven software development. Agile, against the back-drop of the digital revolution and increased market demand for software, gave smaller, leaner development teams and businesses the tools and power to develop with the speed and quality previously only enjoyed by mainly bigger companies.

In what now seems like the blink of an eye, high-quality, business-centric apps became the norm and were no longer the preserve of the big guys. Avrion has embraced that opportunity to meet the demands of its growing customer base.

What does Avrion bring to the party?

  • We’re specialists in both understanding business apps for CRM and creating them.
  • Our app developments always start with solving a human problem.
  • Our team is committed to development-driven processes.
  • We’ve taken a fresh approach to customisation and integration.

We owe our success to two main factors:

  • Part-ownership of a hosting company. This gives us the knowledge and experience to host applications and information for higher redundancy and security.
  • Expertise accumulated over many years. We now have a real feel for how these products work, both technically and functionally. We know, for example, how to extract data from Sage 50 from multiple sources (laptop, server or data server). Plus, how to prepare and transform this data into a suitable format to fit with CRM.

Bespoke or generic?

Having a hosting business also gives us the ability to build a data connector that is genuinely off the shelf and available for many business apps for CRM customers.

In fact, for several years we have been building generic integrations and connectors to join our products with other products. Through the experience gained we have developed a highly secure, robust app and connector platform. It enables us to produce different integrations and applications between lots of different products.

Having used and developed this technology, we are now able, not only to develop connectors quickly, but to give them the right level of support and deliver them cost-effectively to our own customers, as well as any other Maximizer users, wherever they are in the world.

What are Avrion’s main strengths?

Leadership and innovation are our most important attributes.

Our Apps Development Team, formed with the remit of delivering high-performance, robust integrations that ultimately benefit the customer, looked for ways to make them more affordable and secure. They also concluded that they would be able to provide lower-priced, fully-featured CRMs if, instead of just reacting, Avrion were to take more of a lead in integration.

Making it work

We also found it necessary to innovate. If we sell connectors to CRM users, they must be cost-effective. Customers should also only pay to use the products, not the development costs. We therefore had to think out of the box to find a way of fully or part-automating the on-boarding purchase of these connectors. The key to this was the app platform and platform connector, because these enabled us to achieve the objective efficiently and securely, hence cost-effectively.

The principle of our data connectors is that your app and CRM system can be installed anywhere, e.g. a public cloud, a private cloud or on your own premises. And for the connector to be effective it had to be designed to be capable of integrating data into CRM. We had to innovate so that we would only have to manage one set of code rather than multiple versions.

Successfully integrated connectors are characterised by the simplicity of their delivery and their robustness.  They may not meet 100% of customer needs, but neither do they carry the high costs usually associated with traditional two-way integrations, which require more investment and support.  The latest high-quality connectors have much lower running costs.

The market is therefore changing. Today’s customers want better value from the information they hold and the systems they use. They see more benefit in simple connectors that are quick, basic and reliable.

How has Avrion applied itself to real business needs?

Our hosting and technical capability is driven 100% by customer needs and demands.

Integrations must be needs-driven and provide value to the customer at a low price point.  Realistically, business apps for CRM need to offer simple functionality and be straightforward to set up and maintain.

Because we take a business rather than technical view of development, a sub-group of Avrion’s technical team focuses on finding solutions to business problems. The team’s first task is to identify what the customer needs and why. They look at what requirements the connectors have to achieve and what value they will give to the customer.

Once we understand the value we can determine the cost of delivering the solution, and only at that point do we understand what to build. We then produce an app that matches the desired functionality.

Our apps and connector platforms are therefore built to provide optimum functionality relative to the cost of the app’s development. And at the same time providing maximum value for money. The connectors also meet the core needs of most other customers.

If a customer wishes to take our apps further, we have the flexibility to extend the functionality by adding further fields or linking more closely with their back office systems.

Next steps

We have carried out a great deal of research into what customers want   ̶   which is essentially: fast, easy, and affordable connectors into CRM.

Avrion Apps – business apps for CRM

On the back of this research, we continue to improve the functionality of the existing connector to deliver better value. We’ve already developed value and functionality for other many business app connectors, including accounting software and sales route planning. Our connectors deliver real solutions for real business issues.

Further information

To learn more about the range of apps we have to offer, visit our Apps Store. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your business challenges, contact us on one of the following.