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Why Study Enterprise Systems Architecture? • • • Help management and the implementation teams understand in detail the features and components of the enterprise system. Provide a visual representation of the complex system interfaces among the ERP application and databases, operating systems, legacy applications, and networking. Management can develop a better IT plan if the system infrastructure requirements, training requirements, change management requirements, and business process reengineering requirements, among others are clarified.
Layered Architecture: ERP system architecture is organized in layers or tiers to manage system complexity in order to provide scalability and flexibility. Traditional ERP architecture generally has three layers, with each responsible for a particular system function. •
Data Tier (Data Management) Business Tier (Business logic of functional modules) Presentation Tier (End-User Interface—GUI)
The business tier feeds data into the presentation tier. The data tier focus is on structure of all organizational data and its relationships with both internal and external systems. The business/application tier consists of a Web browser and reporting tool where business processes and end-users interact with the system. Via the presentation tier, a Web-based portal allows users the ability to access and analyze information through their Web browser. Types of ERP Architecture: ERP applications are most commonly deployed in a distributed and often widely dispersed manner. While the servers may be centralized, the clients are usually spread to multiple locations throughout the enterprise. Generally there are three functional areas of responsibility that is distributed among the servers and the clients. First, there is the database component - the central repository for all of the data that is transferred to and from the clients. Then, of course, the clients - here raw data gets inputted, requests for information are submitted, and the data satisfying these requests is presented. Lastly, we have the application component that acts as the intermediary between the client and the database. Where these components physically reside and how the processes get distributed will vary somewhat from one implementation to the next. The two most commonly implemented architectures are outlined below. Two-tier Implementations In typical two-tier architecture, the server handles both application and database duties. The clients are responsible for presenting the data and passing user input back to the server. While there may be multiple servers and the clients may be distributed across several types of local and wide area links, this distribution of processing responsibilities remains the same. Some of the benefits are easy to use and access, low cost, high performance.
Initially. In this scenario. Some of the benefits are scalability. reusability. . The application server then creates a second connection to the database server. flexibility. End-users have access to ERP applications over the Web. Web-based architecture: The Web-based architecture often described as a fourth tier where the Presentation tier is split into Web Services tier and Web Browser tier. reliability.Three-tier Client/Server Implementations In three-tier architectures. This is very typical of large production ERP deployments. security. satisfying client requests requires two or more network connections. Web-based architectures also allow better system-to-system integration. maintainability. Easily integrate ERP applications with existing systems. PeopleSoft’s Server-Centric internet architecture. the client establishes communications with the application server. the database and application functions are separated into independent operating units.
Service-oriented architecture separates the service provider from the service consumer. collectively supporting an ERP functional module. ERP architecture is often driven by the vendor (Package-Driven Architecture). If purchased. Physical focuses on the efficiency of the system. Allows message interaction between any service consumer and service provider. maintenance. A consumer from a device using any operating system in any language can use this service. Breaks the business tier into smaller. and the use of the system. Two types of ERP architectures: Logical focuses on the supporting needs of the end users. Logical Architecture of an ERP System: . distinct units of services. Generally the architecture of an ERP system influences the cost.Service-Oriented Architectures Also known as object-oriented architectures for Web platforms.
Physical Architecture of an ERP System: System Configuration: .
Management must learn how to filter out the hyped technologies that do not provide value to their organization. and business processes. . ERP architecture decisions are complex because their impact goes beyond systems and technology to people. organizational policy. ERP architecture must be flexible to support a diverse set of hardware and software platforms.Implications for Management • • • • • Enterprise architecture is an important technology for the long-term functioning of the organization. Top management must therefore be involved in designing the architecture from the very beginning of the ERP implementation project.