The legacy, home-grown and long-standing ERP systems in companies are the ones that really test the limits of what modern Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) technologies can do. EAI by its very nature is never a “one size fits all” approach to integration – and apart from the allegories many use of them being like Lego blocks, in fact they are orders of magnitude more complex that the well-keyed and threaded blocks in the popular building sets.
What emerges is actually an appreciation for how over time each system in an organization has its own unique attributes that have to be taken into account. The truer allegory is that the more set a person (or system) is in their ways, the tougher it is to change. Just consider the long-standing pecking order in your company. Now overlay that to legacy and home-grown systems. Change at both the technical and system level is incredibly difficult for those systems that have been in place for decades.
Making EAI Pay
What’s needed is an approach to defining the most important customer-facing processes first that need to be re-vamped and improved. From that, the EAI technologies can be used to create more responsive applications and workflows.
As is the case with any IT investment or project, having a customer to serve just makes the entire process so much more focused, streamlined and effective. Staying focused on customers’ goals is all that matters in any EAI implementation – because there are so many opportunities to take diversions away from what really matters.
Keeping the existing legacy systems in balance with the rapidly changing needs of customers always causes conflict – the key is to get every system, process and role focused on how to get to the goal of delivering exceptional customer experiences.
Bottom line: EAI implementations are less about technology integration and more about joining together diverse databases and knowledge sources to deliver exceptional customer experiences.