Business system or website - what's the difference?

posted on 20 January 2012

Software can provide solutions to an array of business needs. If a business needs to inform its customers of updates to its products, keep track of their past transactions or process purchase requests, software can be developed to meet this need. One common mistake in choosing software is to assume that one type of software can provide all of this.

PDMS offers solutions that cover many needs and understands how different types of software are best applied. We can build almost anything, from iPhone apps to HTML5 compliant websites to complex, bespoke, line-of-business applications. Sometimes a company comes to us with a need that we think would be best addressed by a website, a business system, or perhaps both. I would like to help you understand these decisions so that you know what to expect from us.


Websites can be made very flashy and provide a tightly controlled user experience. This can be very helpful in communicating information to future clients or investors. They are also very helpful for collecting customer information and providing answers to simple enquiries. There are many kinds of websites, knowing what you want yours to do is the first step in designing one that leaves a positive impression on a visitor.

An experienced website developer (or web design business) understands best web practices, such as search engine optimisation, graphic design and user-interface design, and how to deliver these to the broadest audience possible. Depending on your business need, you may need a more customised website than what's on offer from out-of-the-box solutions. A well-developed and designed website will direct the visitor to important information and leave them with a positive impression of the company. A poorly designed website can leave a damaging impression of your company.

Websites, however, are less well suited to transaction processing, client management, and line-of-business needs.

Business Systems

Business systems are designed with a tighter focus on a specific business need, such as completing and printing purchase orders or managing company documents and forms. If this system processes transactions, it should do so safely, in a way that protects your employees from making common mistakes, while allowing them to perform their tasks quicker and with more confidence. A business system may also often include auditing capabilities, so that managers can keep track of performance of their delegates. It may also include workflow automation, integration with CRM or ERP systems and administrative control.

Developing a business system takes care and attention to detail. This kind of software is much larger, and usually more critical, than a common website. For this reason, you should be especially careful when choosing the company to carry out development of your business system. A well-experienced and accredited company, like PDMS, will make sure to assess your need prior to development and test that these needs are met prior to delivery. After all, custom software systems need to be designed to last, and must be robust, secure and highly usable. PDMS has a long history in developing and delivering successful systems like these and understands how to develop such systems efficiently and with a directed approach, using our Foundations framework.

How do I choose?

PDMS offers development in both of these areas (as well as others), and offers experience in applying the most appropriate solutions to any given problem. When your company spends time with our analysts and project managers, they will help you decide what type of solution is best for you. It's possible that multiple, integrated solutions will be the best option. Because we offer solutions in both of these types of software, we can leverage an uncommon cross-section of experience, when the need arises.

Choosing the right type of software for your needs can be a difficult process. Whether you need a brochureware website to inform potential clients, or a bespoke development to manage your resources, PDMS can provide experience-driven and industry leading solutions catered specifically to that need.