I’m in good company around here when I say that ERP is an extraordinary tool when managing a business. It’s comprehensive, intuitive, and relatively low-maintenance. Any company that is capable of using software development to attain an ERP program absolutely should do so. However, EAI (Enterprise Application Integration) is getting better with time. Instead of overhauling a business’s software regimen, entrepreneurs are given the option of keeping their legacy processes and merely putting them all in one place.
I argue that there are times and places for EAI to be given consideration over ERP. Here are a couple of areas where ERP can face problems, but EAI can stand up to the test.
There are a great number of businesses that have been operating since before the World Wide Web became popular, before cloud computing, and before most of the sophisticated software suites that we have now. Naturally, it would be wonderful to be able to gut their old operating systems and institute a clean-running ERP program. However, especially for older companies that are family-owned, there is a case to be made for keeping many of their old programs.
ERP is still a good deal costlier than many EAI programs. This is because a good ERP is tailor-made for the company from the ground-up as opposed to bought off the shelf and retrofitted to a company’s needs. EAI isn’t as comprehensive as ERP, but it does sit down with all of the pre-existing programs and mediates. It presents the information in the same kind of unified user interface as does ERP, but with the added step of translating data from one program to another. At present, this time of software is less costly to design because it doesn’t need to have the same processing power as ERP. It keeps all of the processing burden on whatever programs it’s harmonizing.
There’s been a fair amount of buzz about making sure your information flow can be moved onto the internet. Especially with the rise of cloud computing, there’s a great deal of growth to be had in web-based management. EAI is a great choice in engaging this platform in a way that ERP has trouble with. Because ERP doesn’t have a main function of communicating between programs, it doesn’t convert to web-languages very easily. EAI, on the other hand, is built for such a thing. The great part about EAI’s role in the online management flux is that it can even incorporate your ERP- ERP can actually go online with the use of an EAI. Neat, right?
The bottom line is that EAI is catching up to ERP. When the technology of translation protocols is inevitably upgraded and the flow of information is streamlined between legacy processes, we’ll begin to see a shift: EAI will be a first-draft pick instead of a backup. Some see EAI as a bandage for inefficient systems, but it could overtake ERP as the preferred business management software soon. Keep an eye on it.
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