When Greentree® decided to shake up the under-served ERP (enterprise resource planning) software market for midsized businesses, the JADE™ development platform made it possible. Greentree delivers more functionality than customers expect, processing millions of transactions for thousands of companies every week, and releases regular upgrades to its highly configurable software.
Before Greentree, midsized businesses generally chose from two straitjackets: the ‘lite’ (but costly) version of large-scale enterprise software, or functionally limited small business software.
Since the ‘90s, Greentree’s goal has been to build powerful, configurable ERP software for midsized businesses without trapping anyone on any particular version. One big, early decision was to move from Delphi over a SQL database to JADE technologies, changing what was possible.
JADE’s symbiosis of database and object-oriented programming language lets developers create objects (units of code) that are easy to modify and replicate in both environments. This speeds work up and preserves custom development.
“Developing in JADE isn’t just about building a software product, but how the product can be delivered. Behind the scenes we have a slick development environment to launch new products faster and more economically.”
Greentree CEO Peter Dickinson says that three pillars uphold the success of his company’s software: sheer functionality, the ability to configure and customize, and continuous deployment. With this combination Greentree is ‘primed for business’.
“We continually surprise the market,” says Dickinson. “When we’re in front of prospects, the depth and breadth of our functionality blows them away.”
Greentree’s software is ‘modular’ - a unified solution that lets customers turn on whichever parts they need. It’s cost-effective, easy to maintain, and can be rapidly implemented and deployed. It makes business easy by taking advantage of true integration.
It seems all software vendors claim to be ‘fully integrated’. Dickinson dismisses self-serving definitions of ‘integration’ - often loosely coupled interfaces between the core system and third-party products.
Specialist applications like job costing, for example, are often bolted on to ERP software. “Bolt-ons increase cost and complexity. Passing data between interfaces is not integration. Capabilities don’t run through to the loosely coupled stuff. For example, the approvals and alerts we developed in JADE run across our entire product.
“The whole JADE architecture is ideal for developing fully-integrated systems.”
Tackling the age-old problem of software upgrades takes away more pain and cost, too. It’s easy for customers to upgrade, regardless of their Greentree configuration or even customizations.
“Developing in JADE wasn’t just about building a software product, but how it could be delivered. We wanted a slick development environment to launch new products faster and more economically,” says Dickinson.
“Building in JADE takes complexity away from customers. We can deliver the latest release at the push of a button and release multiple upgrades in a week. Each release delivers incremental changes without disrupting customization.”
Because Greentree’s software is highly configurable, only a small proportion of users run customized versions. But Dickinson doesn't want upgrades to leave anyone behind.
He says, “customers hear the word ‘customization’ and head for the hills, because it’s so costly to sync customization with new releases. In JADE, we’ve built a customization engine that solves the vast majority of these problems. Our customers can upgrade every three months, annually, or any time.”
Greentree’s software ‘engine’ smooths the way for continuous deployment of new features and functionality, and preserves customization.
“We have a fantastic commercial relationship with Jade. You simply don’t get the technical support and collaborative development from most other partners."
“Our mantra is to deliver disruptive technology without disruption,” Dickinson says.
Greentree’s latest iteration, Greentree4, offers both Windows client and new browser-based capabilities. Dickinson says the upgrade changed the market even as existing customers easily migrated.
Greentree used a frontend toolset to extend JADE’s end-to-end stack – database, business rules, and presentation layer – to the browser.
“We resisted the typical approach of developing a whole new system and then asking everyone to shift house. Instead, by extending JADE’s integrated stack, we’ve been able to renovate and create an entirely new house while everyone continues with business as usual.”
JADE is supported by experts from its original developer, Jade Software. This makes a big difference to Greentree.
“We have a fantastic commercial relationship with Jade. You simply don’t get the technical support and collaborative development from most other partners. Our close working relationship is very empowering, because together we solve problems quickly.”