I am looking for a program that will efficiently manage a mail order operation (ie - order/customer tracking)at competitive costs. I have never researched this until recently, and I discovered that the costs are unreal for a small setup ($7-10K). I'm leaning towards a custom built application, but I would appreciate anyone's advice about an off the shelf product that might be appropriate.
The best thing to do would probably be to make a custom Access database for it. I'm no software person so I wouldn't even know how to begin but that is what every buisness I have seen does. They use a sql server with an access database and write a custom program or script to meet their needs and interface with the database.
I'll bet a good chunk of that $7-10k is just the server(s) to hold that database. You are going to want a decent server with a redundant hard disk array. I highly recommand getting HP Prolient servers. For what you want to do I would go for at least a Prolient ML350 G3 with a 5 disk raid5 scsi array. What size of an operation are you thinking about? Perhaps a ML350 G3 won't be enough
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My thoughts as far as a custom built app was to use PHP and MySQL, along with Apache to create a web based interface to the DB. This customer is a small one with only 4-5 machines needing access, so I think a RAID array of IDE drives would probably be sufficient in this case. I have been looking at Mail Order Manager (MOM) from Dydacomp, but with the requirements I've listed, they want about $7,300. I think I can do a web app much cheaper, but the time needed to do this is something I just don't have. It would probably be best if they looked at an off the shelf product which would be much faster to implement. My customer is currently dealing with a great deal of problems in their ordering process that need to be refined. As far as the access solution, that is what they are currently using, but they have about 20,000 existing customers to keep track of and nobody who is proficient in Access. They don't have a full time IT person to handle their needs, so they just need something that is really stable and easy to use. Sorry for the long post, and thanks for your replies!