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Layered Application Architecture & Enterprise Agility:
Defining digital transformation is hard enough. Wikipedia defines it as:
“The change associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society.”
But even others sees a central truth to digital transformation, namely the importance of fungibility, or the intrinsic ability to change. And they rightly points out that many of the core processes addressed by ERP Software as security, identity, finances, orders, deliveries, payments should really not be fungible. This is a system of record that, after all, must indelibly record business transactions.
This actually makes practicing the digital transformation next to impossible, particularly if your ERP software throws roadblocks up in your path. As your ERP software solutions of record chugs along predictably and reliably to facilitate your current business model, how can it still be fungible or agile enough to change course as you, for instance, add a new division that facilitates engineer-to-order projects? As regulation is affecting your industry changes, how do you evolve your system of record to capture new data required by regulators without disrupting your steady-state operation? Or maybe your company purchases a division in Brazil and you need functionality to issue nota fiscal documents for tax purposes.
In these cases, your ERP software must be agile enough, fungible enough, to enable these new processes in a timely and cost-effective fashion.
But once you are able to manage, to adjust or modify your ERP software to meet these changing needs, what additional expense does this create as you try to upgrade that software solution? Modifications to source code need to be rewritten for each new version of enterprise software and then tested to make sure they are still performant. ERP users with a large number of modifications may find it too expensive to upgrade, stuck on old technology or forced to move onto an entirely new enterprise software product that better meets their current needs.