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July 06, 2016

Low-code solutions give ERP a new face

ERP software such as MANMAN has always carried a burden: it's most useful when it's been modified. Mods, as the customization is called, locks a company into the technology and business choices of the past, though. The old style ERP demanded coding to stay fluent. Software of today wants to avoid all that.

Rainbow faceSalesforce, whose engine drives the Kenandy ERP replacement for MANMAN and the like, says that "Low-code development platforms are transforming the way we build apps, opening up app development to a whole new world of point-and-click app developers and designers." Watching a demonstration from the Support Group's Terry Floyd of Kenandy showed how straightforward fine-tuning has become—once you know the settings to make the software dance.

Floyd's company has started taking Disston Tools to Kenandy, leaving behind more than two decades of MANMAN use and a heavy reliance on EDI software bolted into MANMAN. Floyd is providing in-service experience to Disston, based on his own company's use of Kenandy. "It's overkill for us to run our [consulting and development] company on," he said, "but we've learned so much about how to set it up for our clients."

There's configuration to set up internal email in Kenandy for example, the Chatter that can attach notes and comments to items like purchase orders. Kenandy always billed itself as Social ERP for this reason. It puts a new face on how resource planning should work. But it also gives companies of all sizes a way to take charge of changes with less programming.

Not zero coding, to be sure. But knowing your way around FORTRAN used to be essential to modifying MANMAN, if your company was lucky enough to have source code to mod. Salesforce explains low-code this way.
  • Empowers citizen developers and business analysts to build apps without code
  • Turns manual spreadsheets and paper processes into apps
  • Builds an agility layer on top of back-office systems

"It's so darn flexible," Floyd says, sitting at a PC and driving Kenandy through an everyday browser. "It's a lot of setup, to set up all the reports that you want to make your income statement, your trial balance, all populated with your accounts. We took our installation of Kenandy completely empty, and we've learned so much in setting it up for our company."

When Kenandy talks about empowering citizen programmers — apparently less-technical employees who can shape the software to fit a company's needs — it's light years away from a MANMAN customer's experience. A manufacturing company can get so deep into mods that it no longer can change the ERP package. Source code gets lost over three decades of use. An ERP solution that can be as flexible as source-mod solutions, but leave room for deep customization, is what Floyd's company is bringing to Disston.

08:14 AM in Migration | Permalink

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