Enterprise Architecture as a Context for ERP Implementation
This article examines how Enterprise Architecture (EA) can provide the planning, documentation, and standards context for the implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. This article also serves to establish a foundation for further research and discussion on the relationship between EA and ERP systems. ERP systems implementations can include the simultaneous or sequential introduction of new or upgraded applications software in a number of functional areas across an enterprise. EA integrates strategic, business, and technology planning across the enterprise, as well as providing standards and configuration management capabilities that support the ongoing transition from current to future architectures. In that EA documents and links an enterprise’s strategic goals, business processes, and technology solutions, ERP applications are part of EA. The authors argue that the selection and implementation of ERP applications should therefore be based on the strategic priorities, business requirements, and technology standards that the EA documents. EA can help to lower the risk of ERP implementation failure by providing a clear view of current and future technology operating environments and ways in which the ERP application can (or cannot) help to meet strategic goals and business requirements. Therefore, ERP implementations should be done in the context of EA during, and after the implementation to identify obstacles to success, the impact on existing processes and resources, and most importantly, to document lessons learned, which will promote the success of future initiatives.