Home' MHD Supply Chain Solutions : MHD May-Jun 2015 Contents its life, no longer supported by Microsoft. This
raises the very real likelihood that one day soon,
a new security patch for Microsoft Windows may
inadvertently ‘break’ the database permanently.
Even when the applications themselves are
relatively modern, if the underlying database is
from a past generation, there are many compli-
cations that can arise. The older the database,
the harder it becomes to find the programming
skills necessary to maintain and update the
system. And, the rarer the skills, the more
expensive they are to acquire.
Moreover, when dealing with databases devel-
oped a decade or more ago it can be difficult, if
not impossible, to establish connections to the
standard tools of today such as tablets, ware-
house scanners or other third party peripherals.
Is it supported?
The typical lifespan of an ERP system within the
logistics sector is around ten years. So when you
enter into a partnership with a software vendor,
you'll typically look for assurance that they are
going to be there for the long haul. But what
about the database – this incredibly important
part of the software infrastructure?
Is your database current-generation or, like the
FoxPro example above, is it at the end of its life-
cycle? Will your choice be supported for the ten
or so years you plan to use your ERP system?
What to look for?
The most logical place to start is with standards.
Look for an ERP that adheres to industry stan-
dards, or even better, one that because of its
popularity, has become an industry standard.
This will give you the security of a path forwards
in future years and will make it easier to inte-
grate and add to your solution with new software
or peripherals over time.
For security of mind and certainty of lon-
gevity, look for software powered by a proven,
market-leading database. The more popular the
database, the longer it is likely to be supported
by the vendor.
Other essentials include scalability to cope
with business growth and reliability of perfor-
mance. You do want to know that the system is
likely to keep on operating. Also think about the
availability of skills for your chosen database, not
just across the overall employment market, but
within the logistics sector and your geography.
Make a future-proofed decision
For reasons of cost, performance and longevity,
it's obvious the database plays an important role
when choosing an ERP system. For an enduring
return on your ERP investment, look for a
database that has the proven power and perfor-
mance to support the complexity of an ERP. It
should be affordable and scalable. Even better,
choose a database that has already established
itself as the leading industry standard, such as
Microsoft SQL Server.
That said, it's also important to keep in mind
the database is just one of the factors that will
influence your ERP purchase. A system that
doesn't have the functionality your business
requires will be a poor investment, regardless
of the quality of its database. Just as a great
solution sitting on top of an outdated database
will never provide the performance a modern
Perhaps it's best to consider the database as
a critical item in the check-list, right next to the
list of functional areas you need to address and
the must-have features that will help improve
processes and performance. When you find an
ERP solution that offers a fit across all three
areas, you'll know you've found the right solution
for your needs.
Robert Frandsen is the managing director
of InfoMotion. For more information call 1300
674 994 or visit www.infomotion.com.au.
MHD SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS — MAY / JUNE 2015
FOR YOUR NEEDS NOW AND
IN THE FUTURE
Find out how Swisslog has helped companies like
Catch of the Day continue to grow and diversify with
innovative and customised warehouse solutions.
For more information:
Visit Smart Expo Melbourne, May 26-27, stand E25
02 9869 5900
Intralogistics Automation – Design, Develop and Deliver.
IN WAREHOUSE & DISTRIBUTION
IT AND SOFTWARE IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN
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