A Fresh Approach to ERP / SAP Integration

greenlemon Uncategorised

Does this sound like you? 100s of systems, old and new containing tons of stuff all needing to interact with your SAP system! Asset records, calibration data, repair status, location, maintenance records, etc. Essentially systems that hold data. This all sits in a framework of connectivity to allow a multitude of inputs and outputs. Sitting in with all this connectivity are of course all the components of communications, security, testing, access, etc.

Currently the route to manage the harmonisation of these components is by using integration systems, so you bolt on Integration Layers, maybe 20-30 and get everything to play nicely. Then along comes demand for mobility whereby simple robust applications need to consume data from all these disparate systems within multiple integration layers! Arrrhhh

On top of this system mass we drop something like Azure as the digital platform for mobility then realise that we need a bulldozer to push everything we need with minimal latency into the digital platform so along comes YAIL [yet another integration layer]. Net result of this (apart from stress) is you build more complexity into the system mass, creating an ongoing and increasing problem in maintaining and supporting this mass.

So we find ourselves where we don’t want to be. Users want smart useable applications to get the stuff they need from the mass and that demand is rocketing. But in this system process, complexity is increasing, support demand is increasing, technical debt is increasing and it is impossible for system capability to keep pace with demand. Likewise the cost of supporting such a mass can absorb 70% of the IT budget and sucks in talent.

So what’s the answer? Often customers reach a point where they can’t sustain functionality and can’t support user demand so the system gets rebuilt at fantastic cost and effort. Now, as the demand for mobility continues to accelerate we need to drop the power of the Enterprise deftly onto user devices. To do this the whole process needs humanising. To humanise we have to optimise our systems, we can’t optimise if we haven’t modernised. Building layer upon layer of integration is not modernisation, a new approach is needed.

Here’s our solution. The enosiX Framework approach demands that we throw out what we know and think differently. So back to basics, we have systems full of stuff and applications that want stuff! Using a simple example, a mobile application for asset management needs to consume data from any number of sources, our EAM systems. Acquiring that data it needs to be near real-time, accurate and secure, that’s the easy bit. Applications will usually transact using the data accessed to undertake the next step in the workflow, we do not need an integration platform to do this.

EnosiX comprises of two components; the Framework and its Smart Business Objects. The Framework typically sits in its own namespace in SAP. It constitutes the communications, security, connection layer that enable our SBOs to do their job. Each Smart Business Objects is a container that encapsulates all the complexity of the system application, transactional, security etc.

If a system exposes data enosiX can consume that data and present it via intelligent connectors for consumption by the mobility platform without any requirement for Middleware. When a mobile device needs to consume data enosiX will reach out to whichever system contains that data and will manage the business logic.

The SBO is the neuron of the system, it knows where to go to find the data required, manages the business logic, respects all security protocols and connects via a couple of lines of .NET code to the mobile application layer. So, any device, any platform, any system, any transaction. As long as a system exposes data for consumption we can connect to it.

EnosiX removes the need for rigid, coupled integration. Because of the in-built intelligence of the SBOs we can accommodate the vast majority of upgrades and back end changes without any re-programming. For example, our SAP SBOs accommodate all SAP upgrades invisibly to the user. If part of the back-end landscape changes then we set the SBO to consume the new data source without any need to undertake traditional integration.

Green Lemon Company draws a distinction between solutions and fixes. Whilst we respect the current Integration platforms available, we do not regard them as solutions, they are fixes. enosiX is an alternative strategy for Integration and could just be the answer to the panacea that no company ever seems to achieve, a true Enterprise Service Bus.

More information at www.greenlemoncompany.net

Credit – A huge thank you goes to Matt Thompsett (CEO Green Lemon Company) in putting this together.