Web Applications Web vs. ERP vs. Stand-alone applications

There are generally three ways to address your internal software application requirements; one, to develop a stand-alone application with a back-end database; two, to purchase a module or more from an ERP vendor, such as SAP, and customize this application; or three, to develop an intranet web application.

When developing mission-critical software packages, you are faced with numerous choices. Some of the questions you may need to ask include the following:

  1. How many people in my organization will be using this application?
  2. Where are these people located?
  3. Do they have intranet or network access?
  4. How much reporting will be required, and how critical will that reporting be?
  5. Who in the organization will need to see some or all of these reports, and how often?
  6. What kind of functionality will we require, and how special or unique is this to our business?

The majority of companies would have the above questions answered as follows:

  1. Quite a few, perhaps 10-50% of the work force.
  2. In numerous locations, all over the country and/or world.
  3. Some do, some do not.
  4. A lot of reporting, both "canned" and ad-hoc will be required. This reporting will be critical to the daily operation for the business, as well as the monthly and perennial financial requirements of the company.
  5. Many different people in various locations and with varying degrees of connectivity.
  6. Much of what is required will need to be customized specifically for our business - no generic solution exists for everything.

Now, let us look at how the traditional stand-alone application (SAA), ERP apps, and web apps compare on the points listed above.

1. How many people in my organization will be using this application?

System Comment
SAA Problems with deployment, training and upgrades.
ERP Problems with deployment and training.
Web Less training, minimal deployment with web applications.

2. Where are these people located?

SAA Problems with deployment, training and upgrades.
ERP Problems with deployment and training, may not deploy to some sites.
Web Regional web servers (DSSPageServer) can address remote locations.

3. Do they have intranet or network access?

SAA Very hard to deploy and upgrade.
ERP Impossible to deploy to all locations.
Web Local web server (DSSPageServer) can address this issue.

4. How much reporting will be required, and how critical will that reporting be?

SAA Not enough developers to address all reporting requirements.
ERP Strong reporting, but need strong developers.
Web Can be made more accessible with DSS Page Generation technology.

5. Who in the organization will need to see some or all of these reports, and how often?

SAA Extremely awkward to roll data up, nigh impossible.
ERP Excellent central access, but interface is a challenge.
Web Can be made more accessible with DSS Page Generation technology.

6. What kind of functionality will we require, and how special or unique is this to our business?

SAA This is going to require a lot of development and upgrades.
ERP High cost consultants will be required for customization.
Web DSS Page Generation will allow fusion of custom and generic data models.

As evidenced by the above examples, the combination of a web development approach in conjunction with our DSS Page Generation and DSSPageServer technology is the best way to address many of these fundamental questions.

For more information, see Intranet Application Development.