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Remaining composed in the face of composable ERP complexity

Composability offers a ‘philosophical mindset shift’ to ensure that technology does not dictate your business

Rather than being driven by technology decisions, composable enterprise resource planning (ERP) offers a way to use technology to support your business outcomes. There isn’t an alternative, especially when the suppliers only offer rigid software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based options to modernise existing IT environments. At a time of such unpredictability, companies need IT systems that are agile and responsive to their specific industry needs, and composable applications clearly meet these requirements.

From our perspective, that has implications for support and our core business. I believe composable ERP requires a modern support strategy that is integrated, intelligent, collaborative and personalised. Why? It takes the strain for organisations adopting the composable approach. There are many benefits to this model, but it can be highly complex. Fundamentally, our role is to help our clients remain composed as they navigate the modernisation of their existing business applications and accelerate the deployment of key strategic innovations that will truly move the needle for their organisation.

This is important because the current economic conditions mean that, for many industries, it is essential to minimise complexity and avoid disruption of critical processes and costly delays in project delivery. If you are adopting a composable approach. you are going to be operating in a multi-supplier, multi-platform environment. Ensuring all of these distinct systems work together is no small task.

Of course, you could do what many companies have done during previous economic downturns and delay decisions about change. Unfortunately, the major application suppliers do not appear to want that, and have set ultimatums by declaring end of life for full support on existing business applications and databases. So now you must decide whether you are going to reimplement the vendor-driven cloud-based subscription or choose a more business-driven composable ERP approach. 

We would often recommend the latter, as it will give you more flexibility, more choice and deliver much faster benefits and value to your business. How you get there requires careful planning and implementation, as well as vigilant ongoing management. As a company immersed in the world of enterprise applications, we understand the impact of such changes and have identified a number of key considerations.

Firstly, getting there (to composable) needs to be underpinned by a complete, integrated view of all the data across your organisation. This is no simple task, but essential if you are to enable applications to leverage critical information in your organisation. Take order-to-cash as an example. It spans finance, supply chain, inventory and order management applications. Each system uses and adds data about customer demand and delivery processes. 

That’s why we argue your first requirement is optimising your existing, likely in-house, applications so they can interoperate with any new systems within the composable environment. It means your enterprise resource planning (ERP) and database applications become the central repository with data in a standardised form accessible to all the applications in the composable setup.

Emmanuelle Hose is group vice-president and general manager EMEA at Rimini Street.

Read more about composable business

  • A hybrid multicloud model is playing an ever greater role as the IT platform of choice in driving a business-first strategy.
  • Organisations using SAP may build future ERP systems from composable building blocks from multiple software providers.

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