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Article

Is Your #ERP Ready for #DigitalTransformation? | @CloudExpo #AI #IoT #DX

Facilitating change with Layered Application Architecture

Companies have always been concerned that traditional enterprise software is slow and complex to install, often disrupting critical and time-sensitive operations during roll-out. With the growing need to integrate new digital technologies into the enterprise to transform business processes, this concern has become even more pressing.

A 2016 Panorama Consulting Solutions study revealed that enterprise resource planning (ERP) projects took an average of 21 months to install, with 57 percent of these projects experiencing timeline overruns. A span of almost two years can be a long time when disruptive change comes in weeks or months rather than years.  Any executive that has been around enterprise software implementations knows not only that new systems can take a long time to implement, but can take almost as long to change or update with new technologies.

Drivers of change
Digital transformation is a broad term, covering every aspect of changing technology in a business from opening customer portals into your ERP software to improve the customer experience to enabling your capital equipment to request its own maintenance work through condition-based maintenance. And the businesses that succeed are those that can keep up with accelerating change of business processes enabled by new technologies.

Key enterprise software such as ERP, enterprise asset management (EAM) and asset performance management (APM), must evolve to address the need for digital transformation. The traditional monolithic enterprise solutions may have suited past business models, but are now often unable to implement new technologies quickly or support companies as they branch out into new geographies with different regulations to consider.

To help address this need, enterprise solutions a decade ago started to move to a more flexible service-oriented architecture (SOA) that can be developed and deployed in a modular fashion. One of the main strengths of a layered architecture is the ability to separate each function. For example, the presentation tier doesn't need to pull information from, or store it in, the database or execute on the business logic, it just supports the various user interfaces accessed by end users. This makes it easier to develop, test and maintain the application as changes made in one layer do not directly affect any others. Whereas if there was no segregation between the parts of the application devoted to presenting data and the portions that contained the business logic or data storage tiers, you have a single monolithic block of code which is extremely difficult and expensive to change.

Enter layered application architecture
The next step after a move to service oriented architecture (SOA), is layered application architecture. This further increases enterprise agility and reduces the amount of time and resources enterprise software consumes--time and resources that can be better invested elsewhere.

With SOA, components within the structure are organized into layers, with each one performing a specific function--the presentation tier to present data to the end user, the business logic tier to process information, and the data storage tier to hold the information. But modern layered architecture takes this one step further by creating separate layers that can contain modifications to the code or customizations that users can make to how their application performs. This approach now makes the adoption of new business processes and technologies a lot easier.

With layered application architecture, companies can use powerful personalization and configuration features to tailor the enterprise solution to fit their specific work processes and routines as needed. For example, businesses can create user-defined fields and custom events to notify specific employees via pop up message on tablets or smartphones that a customer order just placed is below an approved margin. This can even be extended by providing a warning or even stopping a customer order, which previously would have to have been done via modifications.

This approach can help removes the need for full-scale modifications, decreasing the cost and time of implementing software upgrades. And because these user-defined changes are segregated in their own layer of the application, they remain in places as the software is upgraded.

Still need to modify source code?
Retiring modifications is where layered application architecture comes into its own. But in situations where there is no way around modifying the source code, layered architecture segregates these modifications into their own layers, they no longer need to be rewritten or uplifted. All that is required is simple testing, which takes a fraction of the previous time required.

Layered architecture also handles country- or region-specific localizations, meaning organizations can rapidly expand into new regions while region-specific functionality is implemented in each geographic area. By getting rid of the need for modifications, layered application architecture can help lower total cost of ownership (TCO) as remaining modifications can be easily moved over to new versions without being rewritten

Prime example
CDF Corporation, a global leader in flexible liquid packaging for the chemical, cosmetic and food and beverage markets, has already realized the benefits of layered application architecture. The company has operations in large parts of North America, Europe and Asia. Despite its global operations, CDF has no code modifications to its enterprise software, instead making extensive use of configurations.

Unlike modifications - which must be supported by the solution provider and therefore increase maintenance costs - configurations carry no added support cost. These configurations or personalizations can also be accomplished entirely by the user, even with more complex changes such as when an existing database field needs to be changed.

"We make heavy use of the configuration layer," Alex Ivkovic, Director of IT at CDF Corp. said of his company's instance of IFS Applications 9, which offers a layered architecture. "We have used it to create an entire system for sending samples to customers, with custom pages and fields. I had a call this morning with a manager who wanted two custom fields just to track different processes and for reporting purposes. We have no modifications, and I believe this is the way to go. But other customers I interact with have told me they have been able to significantly reduce their use of modifications by using the configuration layer."

Since implementing layered application architecture, CDF has avoided additional investments in services and support costs that modifications while increasing its agility by being able to get the latest updates and functionality - all without disrupting day-to-day operations.

Laying the foundation for the future
Layered application architecture isn't just a business tool, it is a key ingredient for digital transformation. With this type of supporting software, waiting an age for the latest updates and functionalities that drive business change is a thing of the past. Only with agile enterprise software can businesses adjust without jeopardizing security and with minimal disruption. Companies can now take full advantage of smarter operations and better-informed decision making to keep up with whatever changes come their way in the future.

With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo, October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.

Track 1. Enterprise Cloud | Cloud-Native
Track 2.
Big Data | Analytics
Track 3. Internet of Things | IIoT | Smart Cities

Track 4. DevOps | Digital Transformation (DX)

Track 5. APIs | Cloud Security | Mobility

Track 6.
AI | ML | DL | Cognitive
Track 7.
Containers | Microservices | Serverless
Track 8. FinTech | InsurTech | Token Economy

Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2017 Silicon Valley
(October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA)

Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2018 New York 
(June 12-14, 2018, Javits Center, Manhattan)

Download Show Prospectus ▸ Here

Every Global 2000 enterprise in the world is now integrating cloud computing in some form into its IT development and operations. Midsize and small businesses are also migrating to the cloud in increasing numbers.  

Companies are each developing their unique mix of cloud technologies and services, forming multi-cloud and hybrid cloud architectures and deployments across all major industries. Cloud-driven thinking has become the norm in financial services, manufacturing, telco, healthcare, transportation, energy, media, entertainment, retail and other consumer industries, and the public sector.

Cloud Expo is the single show where technology buyers and vendors can meet to experience and discus cloud computing and all that it entails. Sponsors of Cloud Expo will benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities through:

  • Featured on-site presentation and ongoing on-demand webcast exposure to a captive audience of industry decision-makers.
  • Showcase exhibition during our new extended dedicated expo hours
  • Breakout Session Priority scheduling for Sponsors that have been guaranteed a 35-minute technical session
  • Online advertising in SYS-CON's i-Technology Publications
  • Capitalize on our Comprehensive Marketing efforts leading up to the show with print mailings, e-newsletters and extensive online media coverage.
  • Unprecedented PR Coverage: Editorial Coverage on Cloud Computing Journal.
  • Tweetup to over 75,000 plus followers
  • Press releases sent on major wire services to over 500 industry analysts.

For more information on sponsorship, exhibit, and keynote opportunities, contact Carmen Gonzalez by email at events (at) sys-con.com, or by phone 201 802-3021.

The World's Largest "Cloud Digital Transformation" Event

@CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo 2017 Silicon Valley
(Oct. 31 - Nov. 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA)

@CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo 2018 New York 
(June 12-14, 2018, Javits Center, Manhattan)

Full Conference Registration Gold Pass and Exhibit Hall ▸ Here

Register For @CloudExpo ▸ Here via EventBrite

Register For @ThingsExpo ▸ Here via EventBrite

Register For @DevOpsSummit ▸ Here via EventBrite

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsors of Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo will benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities through:

  • Featured on-site presentation and ongoing on-demand webcast exposure to a captive audience of industry decision-makers
  • Showcase exhibition during our new extended dedicated expo hours
  • Breakout Session Priority scheduling for Sponsors that have been guaranteed a 35 minute technical session
  • Online targeted advertising in SYS-CON's i-Technology Publications
  • Capitalize on our Comprehensive Marketing efforts leading up to the show with print mailings, e-newsletters and extensive online media coverage
  • Unprecedented Marketing Coverage: Editorial Coverage on ITweetup to over 100,000 plus followers, press releases sent on major wire services to over 500 industry analysts

For more information on sponsorship, exhibit, and keynote opportunities, contact Carmen Gonzalez (@GonzalezCarmen) today by email at events (at) sys-con.com, or by phone 201 802-3021.

Secrets of Sponsors and Exhibitors ▸ Here
Secrets of Cloud Expo Speakers ▸ Here

All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.

With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo@ThingsExpo, October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-4, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.

Delegates to Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo will be able to attend 8 simultaneous, information-packed education tracks.

There are over 120 breakout sessions in all, with Keynotes, General Sessions, and Power Panels adding to three days of incredibly rich presentations and content.

Join Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo conference chair Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040), October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, for three days of intense Enterprise Cloud and 'Digital Transformation' discussion and focus, including Big Data's indispensable role in IoT, Smart Grids and (IIoT) Industrial Internet of Things, Wearables and Consumer IoT, as well as (new) Digital Transformation in Vertical Markets.

Financial Technology - or FinTech - Is Now Part of the @CloudExpo Program!

Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 21st Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech, which will incorporate machine learning, artificial intelligence, deep learning, and blockchain into one track.

Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expensive intermediate processes from their businesses.

FinTech brings efficiency as well as the ability to deliver new services and a much improved customer experience throughout the global financial services industry. FinTech is a natural fit with cloud computing, as new services are quickly developed, deployed, and scaled on public, private, and hybrid clouds.

More than US$20 billion in venture capital is being invested in FinTech this year. @CloudExpo is pleased to bring you the latest FinTech developments as an integral part of our program, starting at the 21st International Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017 in Silicon Valley, and June 12-14, 2018, in New York City.

@CloudExpo is accepting submissions for this new track, so please visit www.CloudComputingExpo.com for the latest information.

Speaking Opportunities

The upcoming 21st International @CloudExpo@ThingsExpo, October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY announces that its Call For Papers for speaking opportunities is open.

Submit your speaking proposal today! ▸ Here

About SYS-CON Media & Events
SYS-CON Media (www.sys-con.com) has since 1994 been connecting technology companies and customers through a comprehensive content stream - featuring over forty focused subject areas, from Cloud Computing to Web Security - interwoven with market-leading full-scale conferences produced by SYS-CON Events. The company's internationally recognized brands include among others Cloud Expo® (@CloudExpo), Big Data Expo® (@BigDataExpo), DevOps Summit (@DevOpsSummit), @ThingsExpo® (@ThingsExpo), Containers Expo (@ContainersExpo) and Microservices Expo (@MicroservicesE).

Cloud Expo®, Big Data Expo® and @ThingsExpo® are registered trademarks of Cloud Expo, Inc., a SYS-CON Events company.

More Stories By Amy Eager

As Senior Advisor and Technical Architect with IFS in North America, Amy Eager is a sought-after expert on enterprise resource planning (ERP), field service management (FSM) and enterprise asset management (EAM) software. She provides technical thought leadership, advisory services, training and assistance to the IFS customer base. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems from the University of Phoenix.

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