Three crucial considerations when evaluating ERP

Often during demonstrations I am asked about the language SYSPRO ERP is written in. For some reason, expressing the fact that SYSPRO uses best-of-breed technologies in the development of our product and the fact that SYSPRO has never been re-developed, but rather has evolved, never seems to resonate.

As a daily consumer of software, I always ponder where technology really matters most to me. I have come to the conclusion that from a user perspective, my user experience is the most important aspect of my interaction. I must be able to change the look and feel of the applications that I use on my smart phone, and my desktop needs to be customizable to be productive, informed and succinct.

I don’t want to wade through hundreds of fields and screens just to read the news or check my bank balance, or even catch up on some social media. It’s important that I can see what I want, when I want in a manner that saves me time and effort on a device of my choosing. How the information gets to me doesn’t really matter as long as the stored data is secure.

When it comes to evaluating ERP, the same should apply, shouldn’t it? The conundrum, though, is that technical people like to ask questions about the language of the back end which is totally foreign to the user, and rightfully, it should be hidden. It should even be out of reach of the administrators of the system.  Why? I’m hoping that this blog will help provide an answer as to why this statement is relevant to those purchasing ERP today.

Over the years I have identified three key factors to consider when determining how good or bad software really is:

  • Business logic – The stuff that processes transactions, and maintains data accuracy, integrity and security. As a user I don’t care; as a business owner I do.
  • Data storage – This is critical. How does data get from the business logic to the database? Does it have to use intermediary code or 3rd party methods? How secure is the transmission and how secure is its storage? As a user I don’t care; as a business owner I do. As a technical person, it has a major impact on my technology decision.
  • User experience – This is what the user sees and how they interact. Can they manage their own views? Is the data security processed? Can I work on a device of my choice? As a user I care; as a business owner I care. As a technical person, it impacts significantly on my technology decision.

With those three factors in mind, consider depositing a check into your bank account.

In the not so distant past, you had to go to the bank, fill in paper work and ask someone to process the transaction. Then came the ATM where you had to put it in an envelope, write the details on the envelope and walk over to an ATM and deposit it.

Today, I can deposit at an ATM without an envelope or I can take a picture from my smart phone and deposit it at my desk.

Has the business logic been rewritten to do this?

No, it has evolved. The trusted logic of debits and credits that we have used since transacting started is still intact. The language it is written in does not matter and does not inhibit the use of technology to process the transaction.

However, the user experience is where technology and development languages really matter. Going from a green screen ATM to a smartphone or tablet for transacting makes all the difference. This is where technology has changed and this is where the buyer of ERP should focus when it comes to the ERP technology question.

If you look at SYSPRO ERP, these three areas are 100% covered :

  • SYSPRO ERP business logic has been stable for years without rewrites. It is able to communicate using the latest security protocols without having to use intermediate interpreters to talk to the data storage units.
  • SYSPRO ERP has always been on top of latest data storage and security protocols in MS SQL Server. A direct communication method between logic and data exists.
  • SYSPRO ERP has shown its use of technology is first class when it comes to the user experience. From scripting in the interface to HTML 5 when it comes to Espresso. What a better way to use technology than to be able to process an order on your smartphone leveraging the same security and data access protocols exposed on your desktop using a single trusted code base.

In my opinion, the technology stack in today’s world must be evaluated from the bottom up. Maybe better said from the outside in. Firstly user experience, then data access and security, and lastly, business logic.

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