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ERP is an integrated system that incorporates organization tasks in an uniform way. The role of information technology in ERP is immense. According to the report by Statista more than 94% of the companies claim that their data security centers have improved using ERP technologies. In the article, we have thoroughly discussed what are ERP technologies, compiled the list of ERP technologies that are commonly used in development projects.

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SIMPLIFIED STRUCTURE OF ERP SYSTEMS

Before giving you an introduction to ERP technologies, it is very important to understand the typical structure of ERP systems. In real life, enterprise resource planning solutions consist of dozens of connected applications, databases, modules, APIs, etc. However, as any application, they can be viewed as a structure built of the database, backend or server part, and the frontend or the user interface:

  • Database – it is 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, make a request for the database to make a list of the products and goods in the particular warehouse and render it to the user.
  • Frontend – the graphical interface that allows the users to communicate with the backend and form the requests and then display the received information.

Those are 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 the types of ERP technologies 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 that 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 to monitor and manage resources in real-time.

In desktop ERP, 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 Azure). It allows for quick collaboration and easy access to the database, even if the team members are located in different countries.

Cloud/web-based ERP

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 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 technologies is quick.

Hybrid ERP

Hybrid ERP is a combination of web-based ERP and desktop-based solutions. There are two versions, 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 users 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’ machines. 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, shortened maintenance cycle, and vendor independence. The downside of the hybrid ERP includes the 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 a 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-run 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 them available for all employees wherever they are and on whatever device they are using. Companies can use any of the available list of ERP technologies. Organizations that are not willing to implement cloud computing can use a hybrid approach that allows them to keep some functions of ERP in-house and host the rest of the operations.

ERP managers need to consider a lot of essential aspects when reviewing the infrastructure of the hardware. Every time when new software is 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 liable and efficient technology. Cloud computing has allowed both small and large enterprises to save both money and time. Now the information technology departments do not require keeping the 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 a huge amount of money. Also, choosing a bad and inefficient can be disastrous for your organization. In the section below, we have explained the pros and cons of In-House Servers and Cloud Servers.

In-House Server

  • Pros
    • 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 its cost-efficient nature.
  • Cons
    • 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 of any mishap, you cannot guarantee recovery time.

Cloud Server

  • Pros
    • It is perfectly viable for companies that are small-sized with a probability of outgrowing storage capacity.
    • You can always add solutions, whichever you need. For example, you can always buy more storage.
    • The cloud server provides you with better security.
    • The backup of 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.
  • Cons
    • 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 parties lose internet connectivity simultaneously, you will not be able to access your data at that specific time.

ERP TECHNOLOGIES

Below you will find the list of ERP technologies mentioned in this article:

  • Databases
    • PostgreSQL
    • MySQL
    • Oracle SQL
  • Programming Technologies
    • .NET and ASP.NET
    • Java
    • Ruby on Rails
    • Node.js
    • PHP
  • Front-end Technologies
    • JavaScript
    • Angular
    • React
    • Vue.js

Database Systems and DBMS

Developers have a significant list of 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 that 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 that is super powerful is PostgreSQL, which comes in handy in troubleshooting with its powerful tools, including server management studio and server profiler.

PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL – 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 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 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. 

MySQL

MySQL is a popular open-source relational database management system (RDBMS). It is used to store and manage data in a structured manner, allowing users to perform various operations such as creating, reading, updating, and deleting records in a database. MySQL is widely used for a variety of applications, including ERP solutions. It is known for its robustness, reliability, and ease of use, making it a common choice for web-based applications and other software systems. MySQL can run on a variety of platforms, including Windows, Linux, and macOS.

Oracle SQL

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 the elimination of manual tasks.

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Back-end Programming Technologies

When it comes to the back-end ERP programming language, there is no shortage of options, and there is a huge list of ERP technologies. However, the ultimate decision depends upon what’s your long-run goal.

.NET

.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 cuts 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.

Java

Same as .NET, Java can be used for the ERPs that are planned solely for desktop or web or both at the same time. The frontend for the desktop would be built on the SWING, for example. Things are even better with the web version connected to the same Java backend because there is a vast choice of web development frameworks that give consistent experience across different browsers and platforms.

Java is one of the best options available for systems that require both cloud and desktop computing. Once you use Java in your ERP, then you use the code for any 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; the 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 in handy. Java is efficient, dynamic, and neutral architecturally.

Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails is an open-source framework for building web applications and follows the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architectural pattern. The main goal of Rails is to simplify the process of creating web applications and to make it easier for developers to build high-quality, maintainable, and scalable applications quickly. It allows developers to focus on writing the code that is unique to their application while relying on the framework to handle many of the common tasks that are involved in building a web application.

Node.js

Node.js is a server-side platform built on Google Chrome’s JavaScript Engine (V8 Engine). It allows developers to run JavaScript on the server side, creating server-side applications with JavaScript. Node.js offers a rich library of various JavaScript modules which simplifies the development of web applications using Node.js to a great extent. It is an open-source, cross-platform runtime environment for building highly scalable and efficient server-side applications, making it a popular choice for developing real-time, data-intensive, and back-end services. Node.js is fast and efficient due to its event-driven, non-blocking I/O model, which makes it a popular choice for building fast, scalable, and lightweight network applications. 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.

PHP

Another programming language that’s worth mentioning in terms of ERP technologies, however, is from a slightly different angle. Many enterprise applications have been written using PHP, and it is still one of the most commonly used languages for 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 and Java beat PHP in all comparisons. Thus, we don’t recommend anybody to use PHP as a ground for the new application in 2018 and as one of the ERP technologies in particular.  

Front-end ERP Technologies

For the last few years, plenty of front-end ERP technologies have been available for creating beautiful, fast, and responsive interfaces.

Available options may vary for both a desktop interface and web-based versions. Each one of them has its pros and cons.

JavaScript

It is worth starting this list with JavaScript because, together with HTML5 and CSS, it is one of the pillars of modern web applications, and single-page applications are standing on. In most cases, it is a great choice if you are going to build a cloud-based ERP system that will be used by the staff via web browsers or mobile apps. To make it even more accessible, it can be used with Node.js as a server-side technology to execute JavaScript code outside the users’ browser, thus delegating the heavy lifting to the cloud.

Angular

Angular is an open-source JavaScript framework for building web applications. It is maintained by Google and is used to create dynamic and single-page applications. Angular allows developers to use HTML as the template language and extend HTML syntax to express their application’s components clearly and succinctly. It uses a two-way data binding mechanism and a modular architecture to make it easier to develop and test web applications.

React

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 mobile app development as well, thus reducing the overall costs involved.

Vue.js

This progressive framework is widely used for developing user interfaces. 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 developer’s choice of technologies required for ERP.

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HOW TO CHOOSE ERP TECHNOLOGIES FOR YOUR PROJECT?

Let’s define a few more useful tips for choosing ERP development technologies.

Define the requirements. It is important to thoroughly understand the business requirements and goals of the ERP system. This may involve conducting a requirements-gathering process with stakeholders, such as business owners, managers, and employees, to gather information about their specific needs and pain points. It is important to document these requirements so that they can be used as a reference throughout the development process.

Evaluate existing solutions. You should research and evaluate existing ERP solutions to see if they meet the defined requirements. This can include both commercial and open-source solutions. When evaluating existing solutions, consider functionality, scalability, security, cost, and vendor support factors.

Determine the technology stack. The technology stack refers to the combination of technologies used to develop and support the ERP system. It should include the database management system, programming language, framework, and tools required for development and deployment. It is important to choose technologies that are well-suited to the specific requirements of the ERP system and have a proven track record of stability, security, and scalability.

Consider scalability. When choosing technologies, it is important to consider future growth and scalability, as the ERP system is expected to be used for a long time. Scalability should be a key consideration when evaluating technology options to ensure that the system can handle increased demand and growth over time. Consider factors such as the ability to add additional resources, support for increased traffic, and the ability to handle larger data sets.

Evaluate vendor support. The level of vendor support for each technology should be evaluated, including the availability of documentation, forums, and training resources. This can help ensure that any technical issues can be resolved quickly and effectively. Consider factors such as response time, support staff availability, and support resource quality.

Assess technical skills. The development team’s skills should be assessed to determine if they have the necessary skills to develop and maintain the ERP system. Additional training or hiring may be necessary if the team lacks the required skills. Consider factors such as the experience and expertise of the team, their familiarity with the technologies in the technology stack, and their ability to work effectively in a team environment.

Cost consideration. The cost of each technology, including licensing and maintenance fees, should be considered and weighed against the budget for the project. This can help ensure that the chosen technologies are cost-effective and provide value for the investment. Consider factors such as the upfront cost, ongoing maintenance and support costs, and the cost of any necessary training.

Make a decision. After considering all of the factors, make a final decision on the technologies to use for the custom ERP development project. This decision should be based on a balance of the requirements, existing solutions, technology stack, scalability, vendor support, technical skills, and cost considerations. It is important to carefully weigh each option’s pros and cons and consider the decision’s long-term implications.

IN CONCLUSION

The diversity of the databases, languages, and frameworks gives great flexibility for choosing ERP technologies. However, it comes at a price because it is quite hard to connect the dots and choose the right set of 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, the number of users, the 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.

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Frequently asked questions

What are the types of ERP solutions?

ERP systems can be classified according to different characteristics. The most common classification includes the following types:

  • Client/server or Desktop ERP

  • Cloud/web-based ERP

  • Hybrid ERP

What are the popular ERP technologies?

Technologies used for ERP development vary from project to project as it specifically related to the specifically outlined needs.

  • Databases: PostgreSQL, MySQL, Oracle SQL

  • Back-end Technologies: .NET and ASP.NET, Java, Ruby on Rails, Node.js, PHP

  • Front-end Technologies: JavaScript, Angular, React, Vue.js

How to choose ERP technologies for your project?

The decision on the technologies to use for the custom ERP development project should be based on a balance of the requirements, existing solutions, technology stack, scalability, vendor support, technical skills, and cost considerations.

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