The goal of Service Orientated Architecture (SOA) is to create a global web of interoperating services which are published and invoked on the web. A SOA platform can deliver improved business agility and IT flexibility.
As businesses expand their African operations, key decision makers need constant access to real-time information relevant to their role using various mobile devices. This makes an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system based on SOA critical to the mobility and the agility of businesses with trans-African operations.
SOA ensures that the right services are available and consumed by the right people at the right time in real time to facilitate critical business decision making. This is best achieved using an ERP solution that enables access to centralized data via any device giving greater IT flexibility. Taking this one step further is to make it possible for users to access this data using the device of their choice.
The CFO needs to see very different information to the CEO; having easy access to centralised systems and data makes it possible for users to work remotely, giving them access to critical data and making possible to carry out business activities from any point where they have access to the internet. This directly impacts productivity and the ability to manage multiple locations from one point of access. This is further enhanced by the fact that SOA makes it possible to tailor the data offering to suit the individual's position and data requirements.
Using a LAN (local area network) makes this type of access quite difficult as it is not easy to set up authentication using a multitude of devices without compromising on security and creating an IT nightmare. This is where SOA and the cloud come in handy, because it can help an organisation create a universal network that can service many levels in a multitude of locations while saving on infrastructure.
Although many people are concerned about the security aspect of the cloud, it is in fact a very safe way to deliver applications and allow access to information, regardless of your location, using almost any device that has access to the internet.
An ERP system based on SOA has proven to be one of the most important tools for the success of any organisation regardless of the location or specialisation. Without it, it is impossible to compete in the challenging African market.
By Paul Hammond, Regional Vice President, Epicor Middle East, Africa, India and Turkey
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Phil Muncaster reports on China and beyond