Business Insight through ESP
ESP21 Product Overview
ESP21 represents the next generation of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. Enterprise Solutions Platform (ESP) 21 is written using the most modern Microsoft development tools and architected from the ground up to eliminate orphaned code and installs, thereby dramatically reducing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Most current leading products are written on legacy platforms that are 20-30 years old. ESP21 offers the logical solution to the challenges of massively complex systems that are overly difficult to install and maintain.
ESP21 is a complete suite of integrated modules referred to as systems that offer a compelling solution to your business. All of the systems utilize the same GUI, architecture, navigation and human factors making installation, training, expansion and maintenance easy and logical. Further, software architecture choices and extensive use of Object Oriented Programming (OOP) and libraries of reusable code make support, upgrade and orphan control simple, manageable processes.
Main Features and Benefits
The following is a list of features and corresponding benefits of ESP21’s design methodology that allow us to shift the enterprise paradigm from one that focuses on Resources and Planning to Solutions and a Platform. The main features below differentiate ESP21 from older products which are not designed native to Microsoft .NET because they require a big investment to take advantage of the .NET paradigm. ESP21 is a new solution from the ground up and therefore does not use a compatibility layer to make our applications run in MS .NET or have redesigned front end screens to make them look more up-to-date.
- Managed Code – All of the recent press that lays out so well the advantages of designing using .NET technology applies to us as well. ESP21 is architected and designed from the start to take full advantage of the benefits of Microsoft .NET.
- Inheritance – This is an old programming concept but has only been available from Microsoft’s Visual design tools since .NET in 2003. This is basically the concept of creating base “classes” (e.g., a form is a type of class) and deriving other classes from that class. Each screen in our system that a user sees is derived from one of our base classes. The advantage in this is that if we make a change to one of our base classes, it is immediately reflected in all of the forms derived from that class. The implications are profound because we can effect changes throughout the entire system by making changes to a single class. The advantages of this are twofold: it allows us to develop rapidly and makes managing the code much simpler for us (and more stable for the end user). These base classes that we have built are available to any third party developer who would wish to make an add-on to our system.
- Independent and Integrated – Each system in the platform is independent yet tightly integrated. This means that there is one code object that handles each of our processes (i.e. inventory transactions). Code objects will then call each other if they need to perform that process as part of their own functionality. For example, when shipping an order, the order shipment module will call the inventory transaction module to perform the decrementing of inventory that is required as part of the shipment processing. This has similar advantages as inheritance does, but at the engine code level. An additional advantage for us is that it makes it easier for vertical applications to be built on top of our existing systems. Other developers do not need to read a 100 page document on how to interface with ESP21, they will only need to know which posting object to use, what properties need to be populated, and what method to call. This eliminates concerns regarding data validation as all of that is encapsulated by us.
- Database Rule Enforcement at the Server Level – ESP21 is designed for Microsoft SQL Server and has not been ported from another DBMS. All of the rules that enforce the referential integrity and business rules are at the server level and not in code. This means, for example, that if we wanted to design an application that allows a customer to modify a subset of their information (i.e., contact info), the validation that the information is correct, that it can be changed, etc., is handled on the server level and does not need to be duplicated from the standard customer maintenance screen. This is easier to manage, provides more stability, and is safer.
There are a number of other significant features and benefits offered by ESP21. ESP21 uses a number of unique tools, because we recognize that no two implementations are the same, and clients will seldom be fully satisfied with an ERP solution right out of the box. Whether it is something simple, like terminology (e.g. “We don’t use the term Part Number, we like Product Number”) to more profound like limiting what certain users can see when reviewing customer properties while allowing others full access, most implementations are going to require some level of customization. ESP21 offers a set of tools that allow a maximum level of flexibility and customizability within the system without having to alter any code or write a custom interface. These tools are simple to use, yet powerful in their capabilities.
- ESP eVolution Form Customization Tool – This tool allows any screen within the ESP21 system to be customized interactively. Since form customizations can be seen immediately, demonstrations can even show the customer how it is done or respond to a request by making a change dynamically. Here are some specifics:
- It is initiated by performing a hot-key sequence from the screen to be modified. This capability can be turned on or off on user by user or user group basis.
- There is the ability to move controls, hide them, disable them, change the text of them, and to add new controls to existing forms.
- The interface uses a preview screen which displays how the form will look as it is being modified. The controls can also be moved and resized by using the mouse and the user can see the control move/resize as they move the mouse.
- The user can click on a control on the screen and bring up the properties for it (location, size, caption, data binding, etc).
- Each screen allows any number of customizations by applying the changes to all users or to specific user groups, thus allowing you to hide/disallow changes, etc of any field depending upon the access level provided to the user viewing the screen.
- Screens that have been changed can have their changes scripted and run on different databases – useful when there are multiple processing companies or for independent consultants to apply to multiple clients.
- ESP eVolution Maintenance Form Generator Tool – This provides the ability to add screens that will look and behave identical to the regular ESP21 screens, but manage data that is specific to the client. For example, if a client wanted to have a new category that applies to customers, they would use the tool to generate a maintenance screen for their table and then use the customization tool on the customer entry screen to allow the category to be maintained for each customer.
- ESP eVolution Inquiry Form Generator Tool – This is similar to the maintenance generator tool, but is used to create filterable inquiry screens for querying data.
- ESP eVolution Report Tool – Provides the ability to create new reports and then specify parameters for sending criteria to the report and have ESP21 create the screen that the user selects for the report criteria. Clients or their consultants can use this to have their own set of reports that they use and have them launched from ESP21.
- ESP TransPort – This is an alternate interface that sits on the desktop and launches ESP21 applications or any other application with a single click.
- ESP Communiqué – This is the ESP21 mail system that sends messages between users or from the application to users when certain events occur. Communique’ has the added ability to open ESP21 applications from the message. In the previous example, the user can check the contents of the receipt by clicking a button on their message and seeing the ESP21 receipt inquiry screen for their purchase order. Messages can be replied to and forwarded in the same way that a regular mail system does.
- ESP Explorer Tool – The control that we developed for displaying query results allows the columns to be adjusted interactively on a user basis or for all users. By right clicking on the results pane, the columns being displayed can be toggled on or off, and columns that are in the underlying view but not on display can be added. There is also an advanced option for changing the column header captions, reordering the columns, and changing the width. Changes made to explorer displays can be saved by the user.
- ESP Workflow Processing – This is our newest technology tool. It is used for defining workflow tasks that can be attached to standard ESP21 processes. An example for its use would be to define a structured list of tasks that an invoice must pass through before it is approved and ready for processing. As the document moves through the workflow process, a communiqué is sent to the user(s) assigned to the task informing them that there is an invoice that needs their attention. When they complete their task, they release it to the next task and so on until the workflow is complete and the invoice is ready to be processed. Workflow processing can be attached to any document within the system.
Services and Support We Provide
Requirements Definition & Analysis
Configuration & Customization
Operations & Maintenance
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