The IT landscape within organizations (“On Premise”) often contains ERP-systems, such as SAP, to support core business processes. With the advent of Cloud Computing, organizations get the possibility to develop and consume functionality from external providers (“On Demand”), such as Mendix.
This has a profound effect on the internal enterprise IT landscape because the architecture and the governance of the IT landscape needs to support end-to-end processes possibly crossing multiple environments. In this blog post the COmmon Reference Architecture (CORA) model is used to visualize this and assess the outcome.
The CORA model
The CORA model (www.coramodel.com) is a library of all possible, vendor agnostic, IT capabilities within an IT landscape. Important IT capabilities regarding to the alignment of the “On Premise” ERP world and the “On Demand” Mendix world is described in this blog post. This integration is important when end-to-end processes need to be supported by a mixture of standardized and differentiated functionality.
ERP and Mendix
ERP is very good in delivering functionality to support high volume and standardized processes. However ERP is also associated with long development cycles and low flexibility. When low volume but high differentiated and flexible functionality is required, Mendix can be used to deliver this with a short time to market. This is achieved through a development platform with the following characteristics:
- model driven development without writing code, shortening the development cycle by a factor of 3-4 compared to Java EE;
- an App Store that contains re-usable components;
- integration with other applications using open standards.
Integration points between ERP and Mendix
Because the On Premise ERP and On Demand Mendix are two separate IT Landscapes, two CORA models are used. When a random end-to-end process is supported by both environments, six integration point can be derived. This is visualized in the following picture:
- Process Orchestration
How to prevent users to be confronted with different user Interfaces?
- Data/Process Integration
How to transfer process logic and data state from ERP to Mendix (and back)?
- Identity/User Management
How to manage users and identities in such a way that they exist in both environments when needed and also prevent users to login more than once (Single Sign On)
- Lifecycle Management
How to assess the impact of a change request onto the end-to-end process, but originated in only one environment.
- Master Data Management
How to ensure master data is aligned and available in both environments.
How to generate one report with data sources residing in two environments.
By combining On Premise ERP and On Demand Mendix best of both worlds (stability and flexibility) can be leveraged. However careful consideration is required when this combination is used to support cross-environment end-to-end processes. The CORA model showed the six most important integration topics to investigate further.
This blog post was cowritten with Theo Elzinga
About the author:
For over 15 years I’m working in the field of Information technology as a Solution and Enterprise Architect. I focus on application architectures from a total IT landscape perspective, where multiple technologies from different vendors need to work together. I am graduated in Business Administration at the Groningen University (Holland). As co-author I published the book “The CORA Model” in 2010. This book describes a practical guide on using a Common Reference Architecture to design and deliver integrated IT Solutions successfully (http://www.coramodel.com/).