NaN-tic Apr 21, 2019
All too often, business management software experts use a language that is as commonplace to us as it is exotic to those outside the field. We use technical expressions or highly technical terms that are unfamiliar and which may lead to confusion.
This guide would not be complete without a brief glossary of terms that are usually used when selecting a tool of this sort. We have included our own here in order help with doubts and clear up certain concepts.
The terms below are, in our view, essential to this subject matter:
This is the flagship SME management product of the German company SAP. It is a proprietary program that is sold with the traditional system of licences and which is widely used by numerous companies.
The cloud, or cloud computing is a new way of offering computer services that is based on Internet access or to a data network. The idea is that technology is hosted and centralised in external servers and that the user pays to access them using the Internet. This saves on maintenance and hardware expenses and means that a company only has to pay when it uses the services it requires.
The process of installing an ERP in a company always involves a primary assessment phase. The aim of this process is to properly diagnose the real needs of the company and the expectations of its managers in order to be able to successfully carry out programming and software implementation.
Customer Relationship Management is the tool venerated by any marketing department. It facilitates the control, analysis and management of all business opportunities, in addition to relations with already-established clients. Its integration with the ERP is essential in taking strategic decision in the area of sales.
According to Wikipedia, a database is a collection of data organised in a coherent structure that is accessible from one or more programs or applications. In short, it is to an ERP what petrol is to an engine. Having well-stored data is the first step for the correct and efficient management of a company.
Everyone knows what e-commerce is, but everyone asks us how online sales platforms are related with ERPs. Each case needs to be studied; however we believe that the highest level of integration is needed in order to provide the highest level of development in respective software programs. In all events, you should know that the most popular e-commerce solutions in the world have been developed using open source programming.
This entire guide concerns ERP programs, which facilitate business management. The general idea of the guide is to explain how to deal with the complex process of selecting tools of this type.
Installing an ERP isn’t like downloading a mobile phone application, it requires hours of planning and programming before reaching this point, which is when it is installed in the company’s hardware. It is a delicate moment that, if not undertaken professionally, can take nervous breaking strain to the very limit. You need to trust in a chosen supplier and assume that later adjustments will always be necessary.
A word both feared and loathed by users of proprietary programs, as it is the synonym of charging money for the right to individual program use. However, for those of us who defend and recommend the use of solutions based on open source programs, it is completely inoffensive.
This is another example of a widespread proprietary ERP, in this case manufactured by Microsoft. We could say that it is a classic in the sector, with a large number of users around the world, as it was launched on to the market in the mid- 1980s. Even though it allows more personalisation than other solutions, such as SAP, the aggressive policy of Microsoft with respect to licences, means that the program is losing its market share to tools in open source.
This is one of the most popular business management solutions in open source format. In fact we began recommending and installing this solution, however the lack of development planning in the mid and long term and the release of new versions, combined with the appearance of new, opaque links left us, and its users disenchanted. We now recommend Tryton to our clients (see the last point in this glossary).
We have dedicated an entire chapter to free or open source software. We have listed its pros and cons and we have looked at the business models around this philosophy. In brief, this software may be used, copied or modified without restrictions of any type. It is free to use and anyone can look into how it has been constructed and modify it as they see fit.
This is another word for ‘distributor’, however in the world of management software the word ‘partner’ is used. As we have already explained in previous pages, it is essential to establish a climate of mutual confidence before installing an ERP.
Programming is how IT engineers earn their living, and especially those who work with free software and who do not sell product licences. We mainly develop everything and anything that clients ask us to in order to maximise the use of a new program. A lot of the work involves integration with databases or with already-existing programs in the company. We also carry out adaptations to new versions and deal with unexpected needs.
Is closely linked to cloud computing. In fact, it is the result of hosting technology in external servers. It is the acronym of software as a service and the idea is to host data and technology in the cloud and use it in accordance with our needs, as a service rather than as a product. This saves on maintenance and other associated expenses.
Training is another important step in the process of setting up an ERP. It is almost always carried out at the end of the process, once the program has been launched, when users need to be informed of how to work with it. However in this guide we place a great deal of emphasis on the need to plan prior training courses, aimed at those with the responsibility for deciding which tool to purchase and install. This will ensure a thorough understanding of product potential and will minimise risks involved in the decision-making process.
Is our choice of ERP. It is a robust, transparent, flexible and open product that we recommend to our clients and on which we construct their business plans (as well as our own, obviously). Technologically it is at the same level or even above solutions mentioned in this glossary. It is worthwhile bearing in mind.
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