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The integration platform within a hybrid application landscape

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by Frank Luyckx in ARIS in practice posted on 2016-10-15

Many companies are struggling with their application portfolio, there is no complete overview of the application landscape which leads to maverick buying and repeating integration issues. The application strategy (best of suite or best of breed) has been defined, but in practice it is very difficult to implement this. Most companies have a hybrid application landscape and therefore it is important to have a continuous application portfolio management program and a integration / innovation platform.

Most application landscapes contain the following 4 application suites; The ERP business suite (Enterprise Resource Planning), EIM (Enterprise Information Management), ALM (Application Life-cycle Management) and EAI (Enterprise Application Integration).

Most application suites consist out of multi-vendor purchased applications with customizing or in-house developed applications with interfaces. This complexity makes it difficult to quickly implement new innovations and new application services. To reduce the complexity, companies could improve the business, technical and financial value of the application portfolio via a continuous application portfolio management program.

The 4 application suites are required to support the continuous business and ERP transformation life-cycle (which is different within every company). The 4 application suites should be integrated as much as possible in order to improve the speed of the innovations. The role of the integration platform will shift from an ESB (Enterprise Service Bus) provider to an innovation platform which will integrate the internal business and technical applications (like IoT) with the external services (like cloud platforms and cognitive services).

Many business suite vendors (like SAP) are integrating the 4 application suites into one platform (like HANA) in order to make the suite platform also the integration platform. The business suite vendors are also extending their suite offerings with cloud services (e.g. HCP (HANA Cloud Platform) and HCI (HANA Cloud Integration)).

Many EAI vendors (like Software AG) are also extending their application offerings to cover some parts of the 4 application suites and extend their integration / innovation platforms offerings with IoT and cloud based BPMS platforms.

Many companies are extending their application portfolio with an integration (cloud) platform and an external services catalog. In order to support these companies in their selection, the VNSG ADM expert group is organizing a meeting on 8 December to better understand the integration capabilities of the 4 application suites of SAP and Software AG and to discuss the impact on the application portfolio and application strategy. The agenda of the VNSG expert group meeting is the following;

1 How to manage a hybrid application portfolio

Every company has defined the focus of their application strategy and has made a choice between the Best of Breed (BoB) strategy or Best of Suite (BoS) strategy. The right strategy depends on their industry requirements, company culture and ICT maturity and both strategies have their advantages and disadvantages. Many large companies are in favor for the Best of Suite (BoS) application strategy because of the integration advantages, but in practice all companies end up with a hybrid application strategy. This presentation will explain the principles of the Hybrid application strategy and why it is important to have a continuous application portfolio management program.

2 Overview of the SAP application portfolio

The mapping of the SAP application portfolio into the business and ERP transformation life-cycle will be explained. The integration areas between the 4 application suites will discussed and linked to the application strategy of SAP.

3 Overview of the Software AG portfolio

The mapping of the Software AG application portfolio into the business and ERP transformation life-cycle will be explained. The integration areas between the 4 application suites will discussed and linked to the application strategy of Software AG.

4 The impact of the innovation platform on the application portfolio and strategy

Based on the previous presentations, the objectives and limitations of the integration platforms is compared and the impact on the hybrid application strategy is discussed. The importance of also having a 'best of platform' application strategy is evaluated

More background information on the concepts of the hybrid application strategy and the Business and ERP transformation life-cycle can be found in the book of the ADM expert group; "Business Transformation in operation(s)"

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