ERP enterprise architecture is one out of many factors to consider when comparing ERP systems, prior to purchasing one. However, it is seldom discussed during the course of ERP system selection. The ERP enterprise architecture your business currently has (or needs to build) can make all the difference between a good ERP system, and a great one.
By offering your teams the insight on which ERP components to integrate, how to migrate data safely to even determining final ERP interface design, your ERP enterprise architecture can enable ERP system adoption that is effective yet scalable at the same time. Therefore, it is a good idea to have an ERP enterprise architecture finalized before seeking demos for prospective ERP solutions, so your team will be able to make a wise selection based on the precise needs of your business.
With no two organizations being identical, ERP enterprise architecture between companies is also bound to be different, depending on size, specialty and other influencing factors. Although fundamental frameworks and models for ERP enterprise architecture exist to offer enterprise architects the guidance and benchmarks they need, the final ERP enterprise architecture for a company should be built according to its specific ERP goals and needs.
In this article, we discuss some of the basics of ERP enterprise architecture, and how your business can get started on building one in order to purchase or integrate an ERP system.
What is ERP Enterprise Architecture?
ERP enterprise architecture consists of all the components, modules and layers that build an ERP system, while being in line with the overall enterprise architecture of the business. In other words, while an enterprise architecture will define the structure of all the components that constitute a business, an individual department or a project, ERP enterprise architecture focuses on how to select or customize an ERP system correctly.
Since an ERP system is an integral part of modern enterprise architecture, it is important for businesses to first finalize the inner structure of the very same, before progressing over to an ERP enterprise architecture. Ultimately, your organization’s enterprise architecture will determine the reasons to undertake an ERP in the first place, while also determining the modules necessary for streamlining business processes.
Tell us what you're looking for and we'll offer you personalized software recommendations.
What Are the Different Layers of ERP Enterprise Architecture?
The layers of ERP enterprise architecture require a strategic infusion across two sets of components - the layers of an organization’s overarching enterprise architecture (business, application, information and technology) and the various modules of an ERP system that are offered by the software vendor. If done right, the benefits of ERP can be maximized by businesses, while keeping costs low.
ERP Enterprise Architecture and ERP System Modules: Connecting the Dots
The Business Layer
The business layer is the topmost layer, which details the operations that take place across the organization, on a department, task and even an individual employee level. Here, ERP enterprise architecture can include ERP modules such as CRM software, since sales and service teams are two examples that undertake relevant processes to handle customers efficiently.
The Application Layer
The application layer within an ERP enterprise architecture facilitates the goals and strategies laid out in the business layer, with relevant software and tools. While every ERP module is an application in itself, having a centralized dashboard that can enable administrators to build data visualizations for monitoring what is essential can bolster your organization’s ERP enterprise architecture for future scalability.
The Information Layer
The information layer contains all the data that the organization relies on, in order to facilitate smooth business operations. Likewise, an ERP enterprise architecture can only connect the dots provided the right datasets are in place, are integrated correctly, and raw data is being filtered to unveil insights that can positively impact business decisions.
In due course of learning more about ERP enterprise architecture, it is also wise to learn the difference between big data vs business intelligence, so your business teams can tailor your ERP enterprise architecture to build an ERP system that is truly attuned to necessary goals and objectives.
The Technology Layer
The technology layer of ERP enterprise architecture constitutes the entire IT infrastructure stack that is deployed in your organization, for facilitating tasks such as data storage, network communications, and cybersecurity. Selecting, configuring and deploying the right IT infrastructure can help optimize ERP implementation and training, while making all the difference between a failed ERP system implementation, and a successful one.
What Are the Benefits of ERP Enterprise Architecture?
Helps Build an ERP System That is Best Suited to Your Business Needs
By aligning your ERP enterprise architecture with your ERP software selection process, you equip your ERP system to always be in lockstep with the ultimate strategies and goals that your business endeavors to meet. This way, a mutual alignment of goals ensures that every process across every department is covered by the ERP system, so seamless workflows can be maintained throughout the organization.
The Ability to Concurrently Scale Both Your ERP System and ERP Enterprise Architecture
If your ERP enterprise architecture changes, so does your ERP system. Thanks to cloud technologies, scaling the characteristics of an ERP to suit changes to your business, the economy or your customer preferences is now easier and versatile, especially with SaaS applications. With modern organizations constantly under pressure to evolve with rapid changes (else risk losing to their competitors), keeping an ERP enterprise architecture nimble is key - while a cloud ERP solution continues to adapt to every change.
Address Data Gaps and Eliminate Silos
Ensuring a smooth flow of data in an ERP system is of high importance. Likewise, the structure of your ERP enterprise architecture can help determine which areas need to be connected with relevant datasets, as well as the possible repercussions of a failed integration. In fact, improperly migrating data in an ERP system can render the software unusable, since data could get corrupted along the way. Hiring an ERP consultant can therefore not only help you purchase and customize your ERP effectively, but can also refine your ERP enterprise architecture to be accordingly optimal yet versatile.