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December 20, 2012 9:18 PM Subscribe
What is the state-of-the-art Small/Medium-sized "Enterprise" business process database workflow solution these days?
posted by bmosher to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Throughout the 90's I cut my teeth on, and was quite successful as a client-server database software developer creating end-user solutions for vertical markets in Paradox, Delphi, PowerBuilder, and C++/ODBC and native SQL. These were complex multi-user business process systems that involved data entry, workflows, and custom reporting along with the associated administrative tools that might be needed. Around the turn of the century as it were, I switched jobs, moving to a career with my current company focused on high-performance image/signal-processing algorithm development in C++. All is well. Those years as a geeky kid sitting in front of the Commodore 64 actually paid off. Yay!
Fast-forward 13 years later.
Recently I regained contact with my good friend and first boss who hired me out of college to work at custom database software firm. Now he is a very successful entrepreneur and small business owner in a non-technical field, and finds himself needing exactly the same sort of system that we used to build to help manage and run his current company. I would love to help him out, as either a small side project, or direct him to some COTS solution that wouldn't cost him six figures. Unfortunately, I find myself needing to talk to the millennial equivalent of my 25-year old self, as I am now woefully behind-the-times when it comes to the state of IT-focused database systems for business.
Without knowing every detail of what my friend needs, here are the requirements as I understand them in no particular order:
• Multi-user data entry and reporting system that allows reasonable customization of fields, workflow rules, reporting, and user notifications/action triggers
• Easily accessible from co-located offices, ideally web-based
• Direct access to the backend database at the central location for reporting, archival, etc.
• Shared dashboard showing workflow progress/status of projects/tasks
• Ability to share/link attachments such as spreadsheets, docs, etc. ideally in a way that facilitated shared edits, and possibly versioning.
• Ability to see dashboard, receive notifications and view/enter data on iOS/Android devices
Bottom-line, a fully-customizable COTS product that already exists is strongly preferred. Installing and tweaking is more welcome than multi-month custom programming efforts, since neither of us have the time or frankly, youthful exuberance to re-train everything that would be needed to build this ourselves knowing that properly encoding business logic and workflow take time no matter what you are programming in.
So database jockeys, whatcha got that's all SAAS-y and the new hotness? Can you help me and my bud, and while you're at it put our old and busted Paradox/Delphi skillz to shame, or do I need to dig out all 14 of my old Win 95 install disks and rebuild my old development box?