"Logimethods has proven to be a very capable and reliable partner on many of our complex, mission critical projects. They have made an important contribution in all phases, from architecture through deployment"
Bernard Lamer, Senior Director
TELUS Health Solutions | backed by Emergis
In the 1990s ERP systems became a popular solution to the year 2000 and Euro conversion issues. Typically these systems replaced the back-office legacy systems, which did not integrate or communicate with other enterprise applications.
The common database provided by ERP systems provides integration across traditionally separate business systems, facilitating the flow of information across business functions and organizational boundaries, including finance and accounting, human resources, manufacturing, sales and service, and supply chain management.
This integration capability was a large factor in ERP adoptions worldwide.
However, there is a steep price to pay for ERP adoption. Customizations and modifications could typically cost many times more than the initial sales price. Furthermore modifications cannot be carried over to new versions, making it difficult and expensive to upgrade the software. Organizations found the fastest and easiest way to successfully adopt an ERP system was to change their business processes to fit the way the system worked, rather than trying to customize the system. Over the last 2 decades these systems have been in use, organizations have found they are not especially adaptable to changing business needs.
Composite ERP (CERP) is a best-of-breed alternative to traditional ERP systems. The goal of CERP is to provide the same benefits of ERP with added flexibility, and at a lower cost. It accomplishes this by utilizing standards-based integration practices and technologies to achieve a seamless, homogeneous application environment from disparate, heterogeneous components.
CERP can provide a much more rapid ROI because it enables reuse of existing systems. Companies can choose the best industry solution to support each business function, without sacrificing integration and the real-time information access. In fact, CERP can provide greater competitive advantage by implementing advanced capabilities on top of standard packaged applications, including real-time BI, business activity monitoring, and business process management across business processes than span multiple applications and platforms.
Building Blocks of CERP
The four basic building blocks of CERP are:
• Application Integration Services; • Data Services; • Business Services; and • Business Process Services.
Each of these represents a layer of abstraction that hides the underlying complexity of integrating applications written in different languages, using different data structures, and residing on different platforms.
These layers can be implemented over time, while providing solutions to tactical business needs, in a manner that synergistically adds capabilities that can provide competitive business advantage, such as real time management of business processes and real time business analytics.
Application Integration Services
Application integration services, utilizing enterprise application integration (EAI) technologies, provide common solutions to enable applications to easily and automatically share data and functionality.
For example, EAI provides data translation and transformation services to enable customer data to be kept in synch across multiple applications.
EAI also enables organizations to quickly integrate applications in the case of mergers and acquisitions. The application integration services layer provides the foundation to easily integrate the best of breed solutions, or even extend existing ERP systems by implementing customizations and new services outside of the ERP application, thereby making upgrades faster, easier, and less expensive.
Logimethods provides a standards-based integration framework that provides:
- Common Access Technology, which makes underlying application functionality uniformly accessible on any technology platform
- Common Data Representation Technology, which simplifies data access when moving data between technology platforms
- Common Operation Semantics, which provide well defined operations that are reusable in multiple business contexts
The Data services layer provides common solutions for managing enterprise level data across disparate applications. This includes:
- Managed File Transfers provide a common way to transfer files across applications which save time and money, provide centralized security control, and a common way to implement point of failure recovery
- Data Canonicalization provides common data semantics, which are a common understanding and definition of business concepts and relationships. Doing this on an enterprise level for shared enterprise greatly speeds integration while reducing costs
- Master Data Management (MDM) enables better collaboration across enterprise groups by providing a single version of the truth, and increases the quality of enterprise that through the centralized management of reference data, and centralized common data quality management controls and processes
The Data Services layer abstracts the complexity of management share data across enterprise systems. The more robust the Data Services layer, the less that has to be done at the application integration layer.
The business services layer provides greater agility to organizations with an SOA approach that enables new business solutions to be rapidly implemented through a combination of existing and new functionality. This layer abstracts the complexity of creating composite applications by providing standardized interfaces and common transport mechanisms. The business services layer includes:
- Service Mediation which provides business agility through common orchestration and transport methods. This provides location transparency. This means a developer can quickly and easily access existing business services to use in a new solution, without having to know the particulars of where the service physically resides or the underlying technology, adding greater agility to the architecture. This these services are usually provided by an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB).
- Web Services. New business functionality created in Web Services can more easily be reused across multiple business solutions. A business service may be comprised of one or more underlying web services, providing even greater agility. This is a less expensive and more flexible way to add or modify business functionality contained in packed solutions typically used for best-of-breed ERP functions.
- Service Repository is a directory of existing Web services that provides discovery and governance services, as well as location and platform transparency. The service repository support reuse of business services, monitors and manages SLAs.
Logimethods provides industry leading SOA and ESB Implementation services.
Business Process Services
Business Process Services are provides by Business Process Management Software (BPMs) that includes modeling, automation, monitoring and management of business processes through analytics.
With BPMS organizations can implement business processes that cross-organizational and application boundaries. This enables organizations to create competitive advantage on top of packaged applications.
BPM provides greater business agility through by enabling business processes to be modeled with a visual tool, and then automated and changed quickly and easily. The monitoring and management capabilities of BPM systems (BPMS) provide real time visibility and alerts, and enable continuous process improvement.
Process Management services may encompass both automated and manual processes. While some BPM systems offer support for both styles, generally speaking the tools focus on one category or the other.
Logimethods provides pragmatic BPM services as well as a 30-day BPM Methodology.
Analytics & Governance
The CERP model enables advanced real-time analytics to be implemented across disparate applications and processes. This is especially advantageous when the underlying package applications do not have this capability. Business Activity Monitoring and Complex Event Processing (CEP) can be implemented as a separate service that spans packaged and custom applications, to provide real time predictive analytics and substantial competitive advantage. Logimethods provides services to help you implement BAM capabilities as part of a BPM solution, and evaluate and implement evolving advanced CEP solutions.
The challenge of distributed solutions is overall management, when the pieces are separately managed by different teams. The technical solutions are becoming available, but often the problems are more political than technical.
Logimethods provides Data Governance services as well as a comprehensive Governance Framework that includes templates and processes to help you implement a robust governance solution.