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2012May14_MicrosoftDynamics_AAs a follow up to our post defining the acronyms and terms commonly used in ERP and CRM software implementations, we’ll continue with some technical and cloud terms. When in doubt, ask your vendor to clarify the terms they are using. In their excitement to show you the latest advancements, vendors sometimes forget that not everyone lives and breathes technology.

Technical Terms You Should Understand

SQL. Structured Query Language, commonly pronounced “sequel”, is a relational database system whose primary function is to store and retrieve data as requested by other software applications.

Workflow. A sequence of connected procedural steps that are automated through the ERP or CRM system. For example, a workflow for purchase requests could automatically route POs over a defined value to a supervisor for approval before processing.

Customization. Programming that adds functionality to an ERP or CRM system to meet unique needs of an organization. ERP systems are written to offer functionality that most companies need and don’t include industry-specific functionality. Customizations can automate processes that companies need to fulfill an industry or process specific requirement.

Integration. The connection between two systems that allows for the flow of data from one system to another, or reciprocally between the systems. For example, a company’s storefront website is usually integrated to the ERP so that inventory availability is updated on the website, and transactions completed on the website flow back to the ERP.

Cloud Terms Explained

Cloud Computing. In terms of ERP and CRM, cloud computing means that users access the software through the Internet or via a remote connection.

Hosting. The ERP or CRM software application is housed and managed by a cloud services provider. Application support includes installation, upgrades and user configurations. Application licenses can be owned or rented (subscription).

SaaS, Software as a Service. The software publisher delivers the application via the Internet to users on a subscription basis.

Hybrid. Hosting services built to suit unique business needs. For example, a company owns their servers but houses them in a secure hosting facility, and receives operating system and application support from the hosting provider.

Private Cloud. Infrastructure supporting the cloud delivery of applications that is dedicated completely to one customer.

Public Cloud. Infrastructure supporting the cloud delivery of applications, that is shared or “multi-tenant”, serving a variety of businesses, individuals or groups.

With an understanding of the basics, you’ll be able to ask your solution provider better questions. We are ready to tell you more. Let’s talk about what ERP or CRM could mean for your business.

Published on 14th May 2012 by Jeanne DeWitt.

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