Custom ERP Software Development for Businesses: Step-by-Step
Apart from lack of capital, poor management is the most common reason businesses fail. And that is why resource planning is an integral part of running any enterprise; it doesn’t matter if you are a small or large startup or unicorn. ERP systems have long been developed and designed to regulate and optimize processes that impact enterprise performance. From human capital management to operating costs, an ERP system is a clever way to keep things under control.
So, today we will uncover the two most desired questions regarding what ERP stands for and why your business needs it? Learn more about the benefits and the steps you need to take when going for Custom ERP Software Development for Business!
1. What Is ERP Software Development
First, we need to clarify the meaning of enterprise resource planning (ERP). A custom ERP software handles the management of main business processes in real-time, which collect, store, manage and interpret information from various business activities to staff information. In some sense, ERP software can be viewed as a mediator, a bridge connecting all core business processes.
This software can be a web-based or mobile app that integrates features designed to manage specific operational processes. Although you can buy off-the-shelf ERP solutions such as Sap or NetSuite, most enterprises instead opt to build their own custom ERP system from scratch for better customization and ownership.
- ERP stores information gathered from different departments in a central database. That means employees from a specific department can access information that is allowed to only their department.
- On the other hand, ERP software specialists that manage all business processes can access the information from every department.
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2. The Pros Of Custom ERP Software Development
If you are still asking how practical such systems are for different business areas? Simply put, ERP facilitates enterprise workflows by optimizing the major processes, and every company requires custom functionality, things that pre-built ERP software doesn’t always cater to.
Here are some of the ERP application development benefits:
- Dedicated modules: Custom ERP software development can create different modules designed for your company’s specific department. Employees from each department won’t be confused with many features and information used by other departments. Besides, the encapsulation of processes grants safety and mitigates data leakage risks.
In short, every department can only access the specific modules they need for their work with ease.
- Easy-to-learn: It’s easier to explain and guide through something designed exclusively for your company than for a mass market. With proper documentation from developers, the employee training process will go faster and more smoothly.
- Easy-to-maintain: When some bugs appear in third-party software, you will have to contact a support team or simply wait a certain amount of time in order for the service provider to resolve the issue. With custom software, your developers know all the system’s in-and-out, peculiarities and can identify as well as fix bugs in no time.
- Flexibility: The main drawback of third-party software is that you need to adapt to it. Even though the market offers a wide range of solutions, they can’t fit every company’s needs 100%. Every business has its own USP (Unique Selling Points) and POD (Points of difference). Only a custom ERP solution can solve all your problems. With ERP software development, the product is designed specifically for your company, so you don’t have to restructure it for a third-party application.
In short, your company won’t have to change its operational processes to better fit an uncustomized management system.
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3. The Cons Of Custom ERP Software Development
Even though ERP system development is an excellent investment in the long run, everything has its price. And here are a few main cons of Custom ERP Software Development:
- Price: This is what keeps the majority of entrepreneurs/business owners away from ERP software development. Since it’s often cheaper at the start to stick to third-party solutions that use a subscription model. However, with ERP software development, you’re paying not only for an application but also for its flexibility and convenience. That often leads to a reduction in operating expenses.
- Development time: ERP application development requires you to invest a lot of time depending on your business’ complexity. Software engineers need time to create business logic, draw up the design, and test each layer.
- Finding the right partner: Last but not least is a trusted tech partner. The process of hiring a reliable software development partner may take months. So, if you have strict time frames, maybe third-party solutions might be the right option to go for.
Hower, since most 3rd-party ERP charge based on the number of users and level of functionality, building a personalized solution for your business may not just prove more effective – it may even be more affordable.
4. Third-Party vs. Custom Solutions
Searching for ERP Software information, you have these 02 options to choose from. Either you can buy, subscribe to an existing ERP Solution on the market like SAP, Sage Intacct, or Oracle NetSuite, or have a custom ERP built according to your business’ needs and demands. Both approaches have flaws and advantages that we’ve highlighted in this section.
4.1. Third-Party Solutions
Software service providers offer many premade ERP solutions that can be deployed after the initial payment. Solutions like Acumatica, Sage Intacct, and SAP Business One are suitable for small to medium-sized businesses. At the same time, extensive and complex systems like Oracle NetSuite, SAP S/4 HANA, and Microsoft Dynamics are designed for large companies and enterprises.
And even though some of these systems, like SAP S/4 HANA, let users create custom add-ons to their core software, they still lack one deciding factor: flexibility.
- Altering the source code and having your own API integrations mean that you need experienced developers at your side.
- Training difficulty is also why most companies choose to develop a custom ERP at the start. For example, SAP and other software providers offer maintenance officers that help your employees master the software (for an additional fee). So, think twice before paying if you’re aiming at third-party software just because of the integration speed.
As for the benefits, third-party systems relieve you from the trouble of ERP development. This means you don’t have to search for an ERP software development team, decide on the architecture, design, etc. Everything is already there for you to take advantage of. On top of that, you don’t have to pay for the development and save some resources.
4.2. Custom ERP Solutions
Suppose third-party solutions are limited to what was intended by their developers. In that case, custom-made solutions are only limited to your imagination. Consider it a clean piece of paper where you can draw anything to your heart’s content. Perhaps you are looking for custom features for accounting entries, supply chain management features, CRM integration, or lead analysis for the sales department. Custom solutions let you create a custom and easy-to-use link between your departments.
Other than that, third-party solutions may contain unwanted features for your businesses and don’t have the ones you need. ERP software development, in this case, can guarantee you’ll get what you need.
5. ERP Software Development Process
ERP software development is a complex process with many variables, requiring a close vision of the development strategy. That’s why developers need a lot of time to design navigation systems and all restrictions for each user group. Here’s a short guide to give you a fuller picture.
5.1. Discovery Phase
Start by setting expectations. You have to clearly define the idea and goals you wish to pursue. Developers can’t work on the project if they don’t have precise requirements. Savvycom has been working with businesses around the globe for over a decade, designing top-notch ERP solutions that scale with business growth. We first help the clients draw up a feature list and make a rough estimate of the project during the initial contact.
As for your part, you should be able to explain your company’s internal structure to give our developers a better understanding of the software structure. Additionally, all processes involved in the ERP system should be described in detail.
If you are still having doubts, answering these questions might assist you:
- What business problems will the process help solve as a result?
- Do you have experience, or should you hire a third-party development team?
5.2. UI/UX Design
Design is one of the top concerns regarding ERP development as this software has a lot of user roles, navigation elements, charts, and other interactive components for different departments. The designer’s task is to combine all elements and user roles so that the user can seamlessly navigate between all screens.
At this stage, properly designed wireframes mean a lot. Wireframes are a general app scheme that displays how future components will be placed on the screen. You will need to approve this scheme with designers and business analysts and decide what should be added and left out.
However, the layout isn’t the only thing that matters. Properly matched color schemes, fonts, buttons, and other minor details make the final version more attractive and easy to use. So, when searching for a tech partner, ensure they provide quality UI/UX design services.
5.3. Tech Stack For ERP Development
To implement the architecture, our engineers use various technologies and development approaches. The tech stack they use depends on the chosen platforms. Thus, our developers will use C++/C# for Windows or Swift/Objective-C for macOS if the ERP system is focused on desktop platforms.
You can host an ERP system in the cloud or your local server. Most enterprises select the first option because the cloud is considered more secure and doesn’t require you to do constant in-house maintenance.
- HTML is the main building block that structures web content into sections, paragraphs, images, headings, links, and other blocks.
- CSS is a style sheet language that describes how web content looks on a website. With this tool, a developer can define the text’s color, size, font, spaces between paragraphs, background color or design, images, table sizes, and other web page aspects.
- .NET is a platform for creating high-quality, cross-platform, high-performance, and secure software; It allows you to use multiple languages (C#, F#, VB, etc.), editors, and libraries to create enterprise server applications running on Windows Server and Linux or large-scale cloud microservices.
- Java is a language for programming the server-side.
- Python is a high-level programming language sometimes used to develop server-side solutions.
Usually, you have to choose between relational and non-relational databases. And your choice will determine how your system organizes and uses data. Relational/SQL databases are better suited for small companies with a demand for standardization. NoSQL or non-relational databases likely better fit complex data infrastructures because they allow data storage in various easily manageable formats like JSON files.
- MSSQL is a popular management system from Microsoft for data storage and administration.
- PostgreSQL is an object-relational database management system that is used in custom solutions.
- Oracle SQL is one of the best alternatives to enterprise database management applications;
- MongoDB is an open-source, document-oriented NoSQL database management system that uses an unstructured query language.
- Azure CosmosDB: similar to MongoDB and SQL, easily supports ACID transactions but does not use a relational data model.
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During the workflow, companies often use various third-party products. Services like G Suite, Office 365, FreshBooks, and others should be combined with the ERP system. And with the help of APIs provided by the third-party software, our ERP software developers can access the information, collect and display it in the ERP system. This offers more business-related information to your employees, so the ERP system becomes more versatile and multi-functional.
Sometimes third-party integrations can replace large modules in ERP software development. For instance, CRM is a system that helps the sales department to track points of entry, lead quality, sales pipeline, and so on. It may be too expensive for small and mid-sized companies to build this ERP module from scratch. Integration with third-party software like Hubspot or Salesforce lets companies save money and time on building the module and transferring all data from the previous database.
5.5. Test Your ERP Implementation
Once you’ve transferred all your data to a single resource planning system, it’s time to start testing. There are several processes you should consider, including:
- Review whether the system matches the initial security, integration, and functionality requirements you came up with in the first phase.
- Test the ERP’s functionality by performing accounting or sales operations across different modules. Calculate the accuracy of the results that the system returns.
- Employ focus groups to test dedicated modules.
- We recommend integrating dynamic security testing with Web Application Firewalls (WAFs). This will allow you to track and respond to vulnerabilities as they emerge.
In short, our engineers will conduct unit testing to see how new features work with other software modules. On the other hand, system testing validates a final, integrated version of the product to check the compliance of the ERP Development with initial requirements.
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6. The Cost of ERP Software Development
Obviously, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all ERP. The costs of ERP development can range from $20,000 to $250,000 depending on the number of departments using the system and the functionalities the ERP system will deliver. Small businesses pay substantially less than large enterprises because the latter requires many more users and a broader set of features. First, let’s look at what expenses you should be ready for building a custom ERP.
- Development and integration: First off, engineers need to build the software. The team comprises developers, designers, software testers, project managers, and business analysts. ERP software development is the most expensive component due to the software complexity. Besides, ERP systems allocate a lot of space and computing power, so you probably need to upgrade your hardware or cloud plan if they are too old.
- User Manual: It’s always hard to adapt to a new workflow or to migrate your working space. Your employees need time to understand how the software works and how to use it in everyday practice. Right after the implementation, your departments will be slightly less effective than they were before. The reason is that your employees need time to get along with the system before understanding it.
- Making Internal Adjustments: Even though ERP systems automate many routine tasks, they require these tasks to comply with particular standards. If your internal processes are outdated, you’ll have to adjust them for your ERP application. This will takes your managers’ time and increase the overall cost of ERP application development.
- Maintenance: The ERP system may be based on the local hardware or in the cloud. Hardware and network elements don’t last forever. Some physical aspects of the ERP system may fail, so you’ll have to purchase new ones. To prevent system failures, you need to hire a technician to inspect the network condition and perform replacements when required. If you’ve chosen a cloud-based architecture, you’ll need to hire DevOps services to effectively adjust the system.
- Upgrades: Your competitors never stand still, and neither should you. In terms of sustainable progress, the company’s workflow constantly changes. Without regular updates, ERP software development becomes meaningless.
As we mentioned before, the final price depends on the number of modules you need, the number of employees that use the ERP, and so on. Complex ERP software development for large enterprises that covers more than 100 users may cost from $100,000 to $250,000. In contrast, an MVP ERP software development usually costs around $10,000 to $50,000.
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7. How Can Savvycom Help You?
ERP development companies like Savvycom are not just your service providers – we are your partners. And in terms of ERP development outsourcing, Vietnam is one of the best spots to go. The country’s solid tech expertise is paired with globally competitive developer rates and many reliable providers. Check out our services to get more examples of our work.
Savvycom – Your Trusted Tech Partner
From Tech Consulting, End-to-End Product Development to IT Outsourcing Services! Since 2009, Savvycom has been harnessing the power of Digital Technologies that support business’ growth across the variety of industries. We can help you to build high-quality software solutions and products as well as deliver a wide range of related professional services.
Savvycom is right where you need. Contact us now for further consultation:
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