A developers view of ERP

A fascinating article on the design and functionality of an ERP system from a different perspective:

“… The task of IT is to begin building systems on a new foundation, using a new kind of blueprint. First, adopt the following rule: Business processes define database table relationships; database table configurations drive application components; applications drive interface development.

This hierarchy is powerful and effective, as long as you stick to it. Break away, and start redefining database tables to serve apps, or basing apps on interfaces (two long-standing standards from the old days), and your ERP framework will not bear the weight of it long. …

If your company is going ERP, then there are probably several driving forces behind the decision, possibly including: the need to increase supply chain efficiency; the need to increase customer access to products or services; the need to reduce operating costs; the need to respond more rapidly and flexibly to a changing marketplace; and the need to extract business intelligence from data over time.

All of this is fine for the decision-makers, but what does it mean to you as a developer? To achieve senior management’s objectives above, IT needs to make the following things happen:…:

Read more about ERP from a Develops point of view here.

Open Source ERP?

Chris Shaul

There are many vendors around today providing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software . These systems control the entire lifeblood of the business enterprise. From manufacturing to financials, from customer service to plant maintenance, these systems run the company. The information flow is critical to a company. Further the information flow must match the process flow. With many commerical ERP systems available today, how can you be sure that the ERP system you are selecting is the right fit.

Some daring folks are now trying on Open Source ERP solutions. Few of these solutions are developed or maintained by a commercial entity. Rather, many are developed by a group of programmers who collaboratively build these systems. The real benefit to these systems is that they are really open. The source code is available for all to see and modify.

With this openness, companies can truly fit the software to match their process flow. But they will need to have the coding expertize in house. They will also need to fully understand their process flows. Can you use open source without modifying code? Of course. Most of these systems have best practices built in. It does help though to know your processes and be willing to modify and improve the processes to match the best practices.

Compiere is one such software. CIO.com has an interesting article about Compiere.

Another system, in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) world is sugarCRM. This is a full function, open source CRM system. Its functionality rivals many commerical entities’ systems.

Is open source ready for prime time? It depends upon who you ask. If you ask a Linux enthusiast, then yes it is. If you ask a traditional IT manager, probably not.

Chris Shaul is a Sr. IT Consultant with CMTC and specializes about ERP selections and implementations.