ERP Automation That is Built for Change

by February 1, 2018

An enterprise-wide, systemic approach to ERP automation provides the agility and visibility to thrive in the application economy.

An enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is like the central heating system in your house. In the same way an ERP platform powers everything from finance to production, so the central heating powers the essential hot water and heating energy. It’s hard to imagine life without either of them.

Here’s the ‘but’. Central heating systems are often as old as the house they power. They don’t operate very efficiently. They cost money to maintain. And the ERP platform? That’s typically much the same: large, monolithic, slow to adapt to change, expensive, and – most importantly – on-premises.

Like the home heating system, businesses cannot afford the cost or risk involved in ‘ripping and replacing’ these ERP systems, including SAP, Oracle, and others. Instead, they need to maximize the return on investment from their ERP platform and ensure it is sufficiently flexible to enable modern business practices.

That means extending ERP processes beyond the line of business silo – often to cloud-based solutions; introducing new functionality to satisfy customer demand quickly without impacting business as usual operations; or connecting ERP information to data warehouse and big data initiatives to facilitate timely analysis and reporting.

The financial close process, for example, doesn’t exist on its own. Data needs to be pulled from all corners of the business before it reaches the ERP. This information can be held in multiple applications or databases.

Systematic, enterprise-wide ERP automation

To overcome these challenges and support core processes within an ERP platform, enterprises typically adopt process automation. However, this is frequently approached in an opportunistic way – with different point automation tools deployed as and when needed. Manual effort may be reduced – but at the cost of more silos of knowledge.

That can’t last. Today’s application economy is defined by agility, rapid change, and connectivity. Organizations need to be built for change. A siloed approach to ERP automation undermines that speed and adaptability.

By contrast, a systematic approach to process automation across the entire enterprise supports reuse, agility, visibility, and compliance.

This unified automation platform facilitates multiple forms of automation from one, central environment. It connects the ERP applications with the business processes they support, other applications and data sources in the ecosystem, and the underlying infrastructure. This greatly improves visibility across the end-to-end process and ensures that ERP investments are fully realized into the future.

It doesn’t stop there. Those opportunistic, point automation tools or scripts also lack the end-to-end process automation, release automation, extensibility, or auditing capabilities required in the modern enterprise. A systematic approach to ERP automation ties in ‘build the business’ activities, namely application release automation, and ‘run the business’ processes, end-to-end process automation, into a single, cohesive platform to enable business transformation.

Any systematic automation platform needs to support an incremental adoption methodology in order to maximize return on investment and facilitate learning. By solving a specific challenge first, it can then be extended to tackle others.

The CA Automic One Automation Platform, for example, executes core business, application, and infrastructure processes across on-premise, cloud, and hybrid environments. It delivers a unified, flexible approach to automation that can be adopted incrementally, providing end-to-end insight across the entire business.