We have seen that ERP systems have two significant limitations:
First, ERP systems provide current status only, such as open orders. Managers often need to look past the current status to find trends and patterns that aid better decision-making.
Second, Data in the ERP application is not integrated with other enterprise or division systems and does not include external intelligence.
There is another side of this problem. In many ERP implementations, all the systems in the organization would not have been covered by the ERP functionality. There will still be a few systems, which work outside the ERP system. But for the ERP system to function smoothly, data from other applications must be integrated with the ERP system. While the wide ranging Prospero-type solutions require a significant amount of tinkering, pre-configured solutions, such as those offered by CrossWorlds, are designed to be implemented with a minimum of fuss.
Katrina Garnett, CrossWorlds founder, President and CEO, says pre-configured EIA solutions make sense for firms that don’t want to be saddled with a major development project. According to her, most organizations need to link their ERP only to a relatively select group of mainstream applications. So for such organizations, a pre-configured EIA solution is the best option.
CrossWorlds software includes out-of-the-box integration for front-office to back office applications from such vendors as Aurum software Inc. and VantiveCorp. as well as ERP packages from SAP, PeopleSoft, Baan, and others. The company’s approach incorporates an NT-based server and a number of business process components along specific application connectors.
Given this complexity, finding the right EIA tool for an application integration project requires a substantial amount of research. Since the EIA software market is in its formative stages, some vendors are still struggling to meet the customers’ exact needs. Most vendors have the popular applications pretty well covered, but might run into problems when trying to integrate an ERP with an obscure or custom application. At the same time, major ERP vendors themselves are beginning to address the need to link their products to front-office applications. A recent report from Hurwitz Group Inc. says that ERP vendors such as SAP, Oracle and Baan are developing their
own compatible front-office solutions. This means availability of better integrated options.Getting an EIA to link applications flawlessly can be tricky. So why tackle ERP integration at all? Simple, in any event, it’s still usually easier to create an integration link than to develop a custom coded solution in-house.