I’ve been re-reading this post on how to build an ERP sytem from scratch.

I’ll be honest and say that a 250 word post on the topic doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. Such a topic is worthy of at least 5,000 words in order for the reader to actually takeaway something of substance about building their own ERP system from nothing.

Off the top of my head there’s the following:

  • Methodology - Do you go with agile or a big upfront design? You might think I would advocate an agile approach but there are benefits and drawbacks to both.
  • Architecture - How should the application be laid out? A brief outline of the system can save months of moving code about later on down the line.
  • Application and database hosting - Should we host the application ourselves or use IAAS or PAAS? Self-hosting is big cost but IAAS and PAAS mean you have to sacrifice some control of the application.
  • Performance - How do we scale such an application from a handful of customers to hundreds of customers? Performance is critical in an ERP application. Handling vast amounts of data between transactions mean you have to ensure that users aren’t kept waiting.
  • Error handling - How do we handle errors to allow support staff to diagnose bugs efficiently? It’s not enough to report the errors, support staff of the system need tools to replicate and report errors.
  • Code libraries - Should we use external code libraries or write our own? I’ve learned the hard way that some features are better implemented without an external code dependency.
  • User-interface - Do we use a pre-built theme for the application or build our own? A pre-built theme will add the final polish but there will be constraints in what you can do with it.

This is just an outline but I think even just one of these items is a post in itself. Looking at this list, there could be at least 10,000 words here across seven different posts.

I may outline more of these over the course of the next few weeks.

I think I have gathered enough knowledge on this topic to put at least a few posts together.

I used to work for a company that specialised in installation and configuration of Microsoft’s own ERP software, Dynamics NAV and I’m currently working with a client to build a cash management and stock control system.

With this experience I think there’s definitely more to say on the topic of ERP systems and modern technology stacks, especially when it comes to how they can be built with Ruby on Rails.

At the moment I’m just thinking out loud about this but my micro-blog seemed like a good place to put this down / out.