Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Business Process Management (BPM), Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) – these are all different ways companies try to leverage technology for competitive business advantage. They help in transforming your organization by reducing costs, streamlining operations and increasing revenue.
Going back a little in history, the first step or the trigger for the ERP revolution was the need to integrate back-office functions of the enterprise: ordering, financials, purchasing, distribution, inventory, etc. In actuality, when an enterprise relied on a common set of data, why should there be inter-dependency? So, there came the solution – ERP! Well, we still had scope for development and so, the ERP application extended to the web and beyond, to the Cloud.
Somewhere in-between came SOA and with it, the idea of universal and completely reusable application services that can be “plugged in” to other applications. This SOA architecture allows for the rapid assembly of dynamic process chains and application chains as business and opportunity needs arise.
SOA is not an application however; it is an architecture which defines how applications will interact with hardware through use of various services. And cloud computing makes it possible to use any hardware from any place. What SOA requires to be a success is a level of participation, collaboration, and information exchange like never before – with the right blend of technology and cooperation with highly structured standards. SOA holds tremendous promise to enhance and extend the idea of ERP even further, but an idea that will take time and tremendous effort to do effectively. While ERP is like the blue-print, SOA is like the tool-kit – they both should go hand-in-hand, with the tool-kit being the facilitator for the implementation of the blue-print.
Finding the missing link is what the future is all about!