What is LAMP and what is ERPThat is a complicated subject. First of all, many business owners are familiar with QuickBooks, but companies that grow beyond the five million dollar annual revenue level know that the off the shelf accounting programs become a tremendous liability when the database becomes large. The application was simply not built to handle the volume of data. The very coordination of the growing business requires better and better information right when the computer program is failing, requires frequent rebuilds or needs to be repaired by an outside service bureau, stopping financial operations for up to 72 hours.

This is the time that businesses need to have already started looking for more sophisticated computer programs to manage their business, and CEO’s learn terms like ERP and SME. Enterprise Resource Planning for Small and Medium Enterprises is a fancy way of saying Quickbooks. However the entry level solutions that are choking with the growth of the enterprise need to be replaced by a system that handle more then three users at a time. Maybe we need four, five or ten con-current users in the database.

Additionally the functionality of inventory planning and control, machine and work center capacity, standard costing and purchase variance reporting, bill of materials, gross requirements planning and master production schedules and more lead forward thinking businesses to look for more sophisticated approaches. This lead some companies to Sage products like MAS-90 and MAS-500. But at MSinc we also recommend looking at the LAMP approach where we see SQL products routinely manage databases of ten gigabytes. What is that? Quickbooks technicians warn that databases over .2 gigabyte have grown too large.

By comparison, if a one million dollar annual revenues business can fit in a Quickbooks database, then a 50 million dollar annual revenues business could fit into a ten gigabyte file. However with forked databases and cloud servers this number actually grows much higher. One ERP solution we evaluate is unafraid of installations of 500 concurrent users, they even offer hosting options that enable companies to grow quickly without the cost of computer rooms and server headaches. This is what we call the cloud, in a way. Your company can run the financial operations from Norcross and the manufacturing operations from Peachtree City with no need to directly connect the buildings with a lease line. In fact, the only server presence required for the ERP application would be the T1 or T3 routers to provide a stable internet link to the cloud servers in Virginia, Texas or Colorado.

Vendors create this scale ability with the LAMP concept, Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. Also throw in Perl, PostgresSql and even Oracle, all of these are options in the grown up world of ERP for SME. For more information on LAMP ERP visit our survey of major vendors at MSinc.