RESPOND TO THESE DISCUSSION POST BASED ON THE TOPIC “Enterprises are mostly comprised of many applications that are either custom-built, acquired from a third party, or are from a legacy system. You work for an organization that has a combination of all three of these applications. This obviously presents an integration challenge as you prepare to recommend an ERP architecture. Discuss how you would analyze and provide a recommendation on the type of ERP architecture to use in your organization. Discuss what is necessary for the ERP implementation to be successful and the different types of ERP architectures.
In response to your peers, explore the impact of service-oriented architecture, as well as other architectures, on ERP systems.”
The architecture of an Enterprise System (ES) refers to the technical structure of the software, the ways that users interact with the software, and the ways the software is managed on computer hardware. Most modern ES have either a three-tier client-server architecture or a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA). There are different ways to deploy ES in these two architectures and both models have distinctive technical and cost benefits, as well as drawbacks.
ERP systems provide similar functionalities and share a common three-tier architectural pattern, which satisfies the scalability requirement, however, it does not necessarily assure proper integration of various custom-built, third party, or legacy system applications. These layers are the presentation layer, application layer, and data layer, respectively. The three-tier client-server architecture separates these layers into three separate systems. In the early 2000s, companies began to Web-enable their three-tier applications so that users could access the systems through a Web browser. This allowed companies to benefit from new technologies that could help integrate many different systems together in new and valuable ways. The fundamental concept behind SOA relates to the technical capabilities that allow systems to connect with one another through standardized interfaces called Web services. (Magal & Word, 2012)
Because companies often employ different systems to satisfy common business needs, planning for a successful ERP implementation should be done from an architectural perspective. This should be carried out in addition to analyzing the business needs. A study (2012)argues that understanding architectural specifications is equally important as understanding the functional ones, especially in cases where organizations need to ensure flexibility, extensibility and consistency of their systems. The paper points to the standardization of interfaces used across the various systems, as the facilitator of a wider level of integration between different systems. All systems would conform to one standard interface. With that in mind, a key driver for developing a recommendation on the type of ERP architecture to use, is understanding the workflow between the systems.My proposed solution would integrate organizational data and business workflow through SOA. Because the SOA framework is composed of different layers, it can satisfy both the scalability and the integration requirements. By using Web services, the company could integrate multiple client-server application systems, so the SOA is in fact an integration facilitator mechanism and not just a service delivery vehicle.
2. Anthny Wbstr
This scenario of applications is the perfect storm of issues that would create a nightmare for any integration to an ERP solution. The first thing I would do is analyze the architecture that the applications were built on, is the language similar to each other or written in the same language. Another area to analyze would be is there additional middleware that the applications use to currently integrate with other applications. Questions I would ask upfront before considering the applications would be can the applications provide collaboration, increase the efficiency to the company? Can costs be lowered or do the application offer analytics that the company truly needs before we venture into a integration of the application? From a security perceptive I would want to know if the legacy system is up to date with the latest security patches to make sure before the products all integrate that one application is not a vulnerability to the other systems it will soon be connected to. For example, if the legacy system has ports open that would create a backdoor to the entire ERP environment it would be a security risk that would need to be addressed prior to the integration. Actually for all systems that connect to the ERP architecture a full scan and verification of the security posture would be a recommendation to perform.
The next thing I would want to analyze would be how the application are expected to be used for the ERP once implemented, what is the overall goal. Once I understand better if the ERP will be used for financial management, CRM, Sales & Marketing, Inventory, Human Resource Management or a combination of all , I would then know what direction the Management team and stakeholders want to move towards (Wailgum, Perkins 2018). Another recommendation would be to have a solid team of subject matter experts on each of the application to white board and diagram how the data flow is expected to move. I would recommend to the company to have this team available throughout the implementation since they will be a critical part in understand what information needs to be filtered or what breaks the integration of the application. Some legacy systems in my experience just do not always play well with efforts like this and cost more than they offer to integrate.
To be successful there has to be an understanding of the requirements and gathering of all subject matter experts for each systems to have an understanding of each architecture to enter a phased approach to the ERP implementation. The different types of ERP architectures were learned this week in module 3 overview. They are service-oriented architectures (SOA), Enabled Web Services, enterprise architecture, cloud architecture. Architectures are organized in a three tier layer (data, application, presentation) to provide the flexibility and scalability (Sprott, Wilkes,2004). This three tier approach is required in today’s technology for an enterprise solution, otherwise ERP solutions would be less useful to the changes in a fast pace business environment.
3. Jffry Holmn
“ERP applications are most commonly deployed in a distributed and often widely dispersed manner. While the servers may be centralized, the clients are usually spread to multiple locations throughout the enterprise…The two most commonly implemented architectures are:
Two-tier Implementations-In typical two-tier architecture, the server handles both application and database duties. The clients are responsible for presenting the data and passing user input back to the server. While there may be multiple servers and the clients may be distributed across several types of local and wide area links, this distribution of processing responsibilities remains the same.
Three-tier Client/Server Implementations-In three-tier architectures, the database and application functions are separated. This is very typical of large production ERP deployments. In this scenario, satisfying client requests require two or more network connections. Initially, the client establishes communications with the application server. The application server then creates a second connection to the database server.” (erppandit.com, 2010)
When choosing and designing your ERP, it is important to consider custom, legacy, and third-party software you are currently using and create a plan for how you want them to interact or collaborate with the new system. The other thing to consider is whether it makes more sense to replace that software with software that integrates better with a possible ERP solution.
Some custom, legacy or third-party software will not even be involved for example; if you just got a brand new accounting software and you do not want that system to talk to or be involved with the new ERP system. There is nothing wrong with that.
You would want to consider upgrading legacy software that is outdated and during the research stage of the project, you can see if the ERP software company you are researching offers any enhanced or more up to date solution that has the same functionality of the software that you are looking to replace. This happens quite frequently and adds a bargaining chip when negotiating service contracts. Also adding a little extra software training onto an already planned ERP training is less expensive than individual training regiments.
Many larger ERP software solutions already work with a slew of third-party software. When researching make sure you see what products work with the third party software you are already using.
If money allows, you will always have the ability to customize the ERP software you choose, so it will mesh well with your company’s current software. ERP “Customization is one of the best aspects of ERP, but it can easily and quickly get out of hand. Customizing your ERP software takes a lot of time, effort, expertise and money. But too often, businesses completely underestimate how many resources are needed and either don’t finish their customization or end up going way over budget.” (selecthub.com, 2018)
The moral to the story is always have a plan of attack and keep that plan in the back of your mind when deciding which ERP solution’s architecture is best for your company.
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