Monday , July 16 2018

A Practical Strategy for ERP to Cloud Integration

Sorin POPA1, 2*, Mircea-Florin VAIDA1

1 Technical University of Cluj-Napoca,
26-28 George Baritiu Street, Cluj-Napoca, 400027, Romania
Mircea.Vaida@com.utcluj.ro

* Corresponding author

2 Coresystems AG,
Dorfstrasse 69, Windisch, 5210, Switzerland
Sorin.Popa@coresystems.ch

Abstract: The Enterprise Resource Planner is a half-centenary giant that gained popularity in the industry-software market segment throughout the years. Influenced by the latest technology trends, such as mobility and cloud, it keeps software integration as one of its greatest challenges. The present article introduces a cloud-based Field Service Management solution, meant to empower mobility, manage workflows and enhance process automation for ERP enabled companies. Motivated by ERP vendor dependence and a limited adoption rate, the solution’s objective is to design and implement optimized cloud generic integration capabilities. Using a commercial, world-wide-distributed environment as a continuous feedback and validation method, the results of our implementations show good application performance and feature offering, but rather low usability metrics and sub-optimal commercial adoption. Based on a post-implementation critical analysis of the existing integration applications and the legacy solution infrastructure, the paper proposes an improved integration strategy, zooming in from business requirements and API constraints, to application architecture and data flows that would overcome technical limitations, reduce prototyping and integration time and decrease maintenance efforts. The implementations and improvement model represent specific practical contributions to a productive, enterprise-oriented solution, proven both successful and highly competitive in respect to its market competitors.

Keywords: ERP, cloud, integration, framework, strategy, connectivity.

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CITE THIS PAPER AS:
Sorin POPA*, Mircea-Florin VAIDA,
A Practical Strategy for ERP to Cloud Integration, Studies in Informatics and Control, ISSN 1220-1766, vol. 25(3), pp. 375-384, 2016.

1. Introduction

The Enterprise Resource Planner (ERP) is a software system that integrates internal and external management information across an entire organization, automating and facilitating the flow of data between critical back-office functions. Having its name first coined by Gartner in 1990, its evolution witnessed various phases, from the birth development of its ancestors in the 60s and 70s, to its expansion and consolidation stages in the 90s and 2000s [2,8,9,17]. Both redesigns and perspective adjustments were required due to the numerous technical challenges that emerged throughout its lifecycle, but also because of the standardization efforts to align industry processes and business workflows [7,14,18].

Among the numerous trends we have seen consolidating around this colossus, mobility is by far the most important one, because of the empowerment it provides for employees and executives alike, accelerating the exchange of critical information via innovative applications and enabling real-time collaboration between business customers, partners and staff [15].

The cloud is also an important ERP trend, especially today. The industry has shown itself sceptical about adopting this delivery model at first, refusing to place sensitive data outside the company firewall [1]. However, as the advantages of this delivery model became obvious, hesitations have been evaporating either naturally or by migrating through intermediate solutions, as a private cloud deployed inside the company environment [11,15,21].

A large number of integration solutions have been emerging lately for most of enterprise software types [4,10]. Small to big, proprietary to open source, on premise to on demand, these solutions try to integrate aspects of the modern technology, usually being delivered hand in hand with buzzwords like: process automation, machine learning or big data analytics.

Despite the interest shown in this area and the number of solution already productive, there is not yet a concept capable of generically scaling and adapting from one ERP requirements set to the other, shaping once more application integration as one of the most complex enterprise aspects in the distributed cloud world.

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https://doi.org/10.24846/v25i3y201611