By: Victor Osetskyi
ERP is an integrated system which incorporates an organization’s tasks in a uniform way. According to the report by Statista, more than 94% of the companies claim that their data security centers have improved using ERP technologies.
The role of information technology in ERP is immense. In the article below, we have thoroughly discussed the list of ERP technologies that are used in the ERP development projects.
Below you will find the list of ERP technologies mentioned in this article:
- ORACLE SQL
- Programming Technologies
- .NET and ASP.NET
- Frontend Technologies
Simplified Structure of ERP Systems
Before giving you an ERP technologies list, it is very important to understand the typical structure of ERP systems. In a real life, enterprise resource planning solutions consist of dozens of connected applications, databases, modules, APIs, etc. However, as any applications, they can be viewed as a structure built of the database, backend or server part and the frontend or the user interface:
- Database – where the data about the assets (like the number of products in the warehouse etc) is stored.
- Backend – the engine that performs the operations in the system according to the users’ request, for example, making a request for the database to make a list of the products and goods on the particular warehouse and render it to the user.
- Frontend – the graphical interface that allows the users to communicate with the backend and to form the requests and then display the received information.
This is the very simplified explanation of the ERP components from the software architecture perspective. In this article, we will use them as the criteria for listing of the technologies in ERP systems to show their role and exhibit their value for the business intelligence software as a whole.
Types of Enterprise Resource Planning Solutions
Client/Server or Desktop ERP
A client/server ERP technology works on a hub of computers which are networked locally or with the cloud server. It enables database hosting in the central location and distribution of reporting services and user interface into all other locations. Client/server ERP technologies help organizations monitor and manage resources in real time.
In desktop ERP, the frontend and backend run as an application launched on the user’s machine. The data to the desktop ERP is shared via the database located in the intranet (local server) or extranet (database is placed somewhere in the cloud like the Azure). It allows for quick collaboration and easy access to the database even if the team members are located in different countries.
In cloud/web-based ERP the database and the backend are running in the cloud, typically, a SaaS product. The interface is rendered in the web browser. All you need to access it is a web browser on any device.
You can easily access applications including disk storage, memory and processing power which are hosted on the server. The upfront cost of the web-based ERP technology is lower. Installation of software and hardware is not required which is usually a long process, therefore the turnover of cloud-based ERP technology is quick.
Hybrid ERP is the combination of the web-based ERPs and desktop based solution. There are two versions, the one which can be launched as a desktop app and the other which you can access via a browser. They have a unified database to share the same data regardless of how user access it whether via the browser or application. The backend for the web app runs on the server and the backend for the desktop app runs on the users’ machine. Both versions make the request for the database that is running in the cloud in the same manner irrespective of whether an individual is using the browser or desktop application.
Organizations prefer Hybrid ERP over cloud and web ERP due to its rapid implementation, shorter maintenance cycle, and vendor independence. The downside of the hybrid ERP includes installation of the latest technological infrastructure which usually needs a huge amount of investment. These solutions are neither as tested nor mature compared to cloud-based ERP.
Housing or Hosting and Hardware Infrastructure
A strong foundation is essential for the durability of a system. Open technology in ERP consultants recommends careful selection of technology. However, choosing the most recommended ERP hardware is what can make you stand out. Performance is also totally dependent upon the hardware you choose. The long-term success of ERP depends upon its infrastructure; therefore, it is essential to properly examine all available options.
Today, cloud computing allows businesses and enterprises to host their system on the internet and make it available for all employees wherever they are and on whatever device they are using. Companies can use any from the available list of ERP technologies. Organizations which are not willing to implement cloud computing can use a hybrid approach which allows them to keep some functions of ERP in-house and host rest of the operations.
ERP managers need to consider a lot of essentials aspects when reviewing the infrastructure of the hardware. Every time when there is new software introduced in the organization it reflects it is time to update the whole platform. Implementation of the ERP requires thinking out of the box as everything is going to be operated through a virtual server.
For both organizations big and small, cloud computing has gone from a bleeding-edge technology to the most reliable and efficient technology. Cloud computing has allowed both small and large enterprises to save both money and time. Now information technology departments do not require keeping in-house servers, which are usually expensive and hard to manage.
As companies both small and large are on a mission to downsize their IT operations, the popularity of cloud computing is increasing among them.
Choosing the best server for your business is tricky as this is a matter of finance and this can cost huge amounts of money. Also, choosing a bad and inefficient program can be disastrous for your organization. In the section below we have explained the pros and cons of an in-house server and cloud server.
- It allows you to control your backup.
- No third party can access your company’s critical as it is kept in-house.
- You can keep your operations running even without having an internet connection.
- Viable for both small and medium-sized organizations due to the cost-efficient nature.
- It involves a huge installation cost for its infrastructure and hardware.
- It needs a highly expert team of IT gurus. It also occupies significant space in your office which you may call the server room.
- Because of its in-house location, it is more susceptible to data loss.
- In case any mishaps occur, you cannot guarantee the recovery time.
- It is perfectly viable for companies which are small with a probability of outgrowing storage capacity.
- You can always add solutions whenever you need. For example, you can always buy more storage.
- Cloud server provides you with better security.
- Backing up your data is just a click away. You can easily do it with your smartphone, tablet or computer.
- You can back up your data within short intervals as short as 15 minutes; therefore, there is less probability of data loss particularly in critical situations.
- Once data is lost, the recovery cost may outweigh the benefits you get.
- Due to the high cost involved and the limited storage available, every user can recover data to a certain limit.
- In case of data loss, full data recovery can take time and is costly.
- Cloud is not always beneficial. If both of the parties loss internet connectivity simultaneously, you will not be able to access your data at that specific time.
Database Systems and DBMS
Developers have a significant list of the ERP-friendly database technologies at their disposal. A DBMS interacts with the users and the database which is the significant part of the framework that holds data which is inquired by the user. The most recommended DBMS is MSSQL. There are several reasons for choosing it, first, because of its open source nature. Secondly, it has the most authentic consistency.
Another database which is super powerful is PostgreSQL, which comes handy in troubleshooting with its powerful tools including server management studio and server profiler. It’s arguably the most advanced open-source database technology which can be included in the ERP technologies list. If the development team has decided to opt for the open-source technologies for the ERP project, then PostgreSQL is definitely the best choice because it shares the same philosophy as the rest of the ecosystem and has an advanced connectivity that allows it to be easily integrated. In addition, PostgreSQL includes a diversity of indexing techniques, full-text search, and Elastic search capabilities, which is very important for ERP system users.
Microsoft’s SQL is one of the popular ERP databases. Its primary function includes storing and retrieving data whenever it is requested by the applications. MSSQL can assist you in optimizing the performance of a server thus ensuring availability and restorability. Low cost of installation, enhanced performance, and better security features make it developers’ favorite choice.
The major goal of Oracle SQL is upgrading the data, saving it, and retrieving it when needed with super intense speed. One of the complex new ERP technologies this relational database boosts productivity. The self-governed characteristics of SQL allow excluding system failures. Both relational cloud and non-relational database services maintain Oracle SQL. The best thing about SQL is its automated backup allows easy accessibility of data and it’s elimination of manual tasks.
Backend Programming Technologies
When it comes to back-end programming languages there is no shortage of options, and there is a huge list of ERP technologies. However, the ultimate decision depends upon your long term goal.
.NET, and ASP.NET are the all-time favorites in the developers’ ERP technologies list. Those frameworks include less code and enhanced reuse of its codes, which consequently involves less time and cut short extra costs. .NET allows easy integration of applications via the internet with partners. They include value chain management, product applications, accounting management, and service applications. .NET is mostly applicable for web services due to its ability to transmit and communicate information using standard internet protocols. It comes with a rich set of tools for web and desktop development, such as WPF and Winforms for creating excellent interfaces in a short period of time.
Same as the .NET, Java can be used for the ERPs that are planned solely for the desktops or web or both at the same time. The frontend for the desktop would be built on the SWING, for example. Things even better with the web version connected to the same Java backend because there is a vast choice of the web development frameworks that give consistent experience across different browsers and platforms.
Java is one of the best options available for the systems that require both cloud and desktop computing. Once you use Java in your ERP, then you use the code for any of other business. It is easy to code and has excellent networking abilities. The benefits include high UI for mobile and desktop experiences. Java ensures proper data security; users can download resources from any of the non-trusted websites without causing damage to the data. It offers a variety of flexibility; therefore, it always comes handy. Java is an efficient, dynamic and neutral architecturally.
In our list of new ERP technologies, next comes Ruby. The two reasons that led to the choice of Ruby, first, it has the ability to extend the modules and classes due to its self-hosting feature. Secondly, its quick database makes it the best programming language for the CRM. Ruby is also a nice choice for the backend if you’re planning to make a web-based ERP without the desktop version and with the mobile apps. However, it is slightly harder to maintain, because Ruby is supported only by the community and it is quite hard to find many Ruby developers because there is lack of them on the job market and they are highly demanded.
From the main architecture to its core scripting, ERP needs a simple language and it is one of the easy to use open technology in ERP. The goal-oriented Python is easy to use and easy to read, thus programmers can easily implement it. It offers sophisticated data and allows regular check-in. It also serves as an automatic garbage collector. It is used to create byte-code for large-scale applications and allows high-end abstraction in the ERP model.
Is also a programming language worth mentioning in terms of the ERP technologies, but from the slightly different angle. Many of the enterprise applications have been written using PHP and it is still one of the most commonly used languages for the content management systems. Being the first server-side technology has given PHP a great start, but it was rather used because of the lack of good alternatives. .NET, Java, and Ruby beating PHP in all comparisons. Thus, we don’t recommend anybody to use PHP for a new application in 2018 and as a technology used in ERP in particular.
Frontend Technologies for the ERP
For the last few years, a plenty of frontend ERP technologies are available for creating the beautiful, fast and responsive interfaces.
Available options may vary for both a desktop interface and web-based versions. Each one of them has their pros and cons.
AngularJS is a great framework if you have the backend as Java or C# to make a responsive web application that would work across different browsers, devices, etc. AngularJS can help programmers to boost the development process. When a query is fed, the pre-information data is retrieved with ease. It also allows the formation of dynamic applications, which means that you can always get things done according to your own requirements.
React offers a great approach to the development of ERP due to its extensive capabilities. It is perfect for the solution driven results of an organization. It is easy to use because once you develop codes for the websites you can use them for the mobile app development as well, thus reducing the overall costs involved.
This progressive framework is widely used for developing the user interface. It allows you to create powerful single page applications that work exactly like their desktop versions. If you already have a project it is pretty simple to add Vue.JS. The flexibility to write its code makes it a perfect choice of developers.
The diversity of the databases, languages, and frameworks technologies in ERP gives a great flexibility. However, it comes at a price, because it is quite hard to connect the dots and choose the right set of the development tools to make the application click. There are several criteria that should be well-defined before even starting the consideration, such as platforms where the app will be used, number of users, a structure of the database, scalability, security etc. The good news is that having the clearly defined requirements, each organization will be able to solve this puzzle after thoughtful research or with the help of consultants savvy in that area.