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SparxSystems CE: Sage uses Enterprise Architect for ERP implementation
Vienna/Frankfurt , 20.10.2020 - Maximilian Lehr, Team Manager Consulting for Sage X3, discovered Enterprise Architect in an external group project. There, a solution architect used the popular modelling platform from Sparx Systems on the basis of his own reference model. "Both the reference model as well as the many and varied applications of Enterprise Architect were explained to us so vividly that I was immediately enthusiastic about the tool. I was particularly impressed by the fact that the documentation is created directly during the work and that the project is therefore excellently represented and always well maintained at all times," the ERP specialist recalls.
ERP introduction is graphically displayed
So the lecturer was invited to a very successful workshop on Sage. In the meantime, Lehr and a colleague, who both play a similar role to a solution architect, are working with the modelling platform with continuing enthusiasm. The two use it for new ERP implementations at customers to map their processes in a model. The main task is to create a solution design using Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN), a language for describing business process models. "With this description it is particularly important to always keep the overview. And that really works very well with the models!"
Hans Bartmann, Managing Director of SparxSystems Central Europe, comments: "The replacement of text-based processes with a model-based approach is progressing so rapidly because models offer many advantages for all parties involved. Once you have become accustomed to the modelling way of thinking, you can experience this very quickly and in many facets. We are therefore very pleased that Sage is now also working with Enterprise Architect as part of the ERP introduction, while at the same time being able to accelerate its processes and simplify communication with its customers".
Learning in self-study and with the compendium
Lehr supplemented the knowledge gained in the workshop on the creation of templates and a suitable reference architecture with content from the "Compendium on Enterprise Architect" published by SparxSystems CE: "The book, which was designed to be very practical, helped us to answer the questions that were still open. Of course, the learning curve was quite steep at first, but surprisingly soon an intuitive handling of the extremely extensive platform was the result". Lehr and his colleague concentrated entirely on the ERP introduction with their reference model and left out other topics such as interfaces. Thus the model remains very clear and is easy to use.
Joint work on the model
As already mentioned, Enterprise Architect is used by the two ERP specialists at customers' sites to map existing processes in a model. This usually involves new ERP implementations, so all processes must first be recorded in order to be able to map them in the ERP system. "We used to record the process on a laptop, then create a report in Word and hand it over to the customer," remembers Lehr. As you can imagine, this created a lot of confusion regarding the processes and the survey was very lengthy and error-prone.
Today, a beamer is used in the workshops at customers' premises to immediately clarify and verify the processes together. In Enterprise Architect, the documentation is created automatically, which can be enriched with additional detailed notes. "In our work, we see that the customers understand their own processes much more easily and also find inconsistencies more quickly thanks to the graphic processing. These can be clarified quickly together," says Lehr. This is a central advantage, especially for larger companies with often very complex processes, as the previous procedure has led to many ambiguities.
Models are easy to understand for everyone
Many different people are involved in an ERP implementation process, both at the customer and the supplier. For example, the process survey at the customer is usually carried out by different people than the further processing of the project. "Here, hundreds of pages often had to be handed over, which led to considerable problems in further processing," says Lehr. Models, on the other hand, with their high level of abstraction, can be grasped very quickly and are easy to understand for all those involved. If required, more detailed information is still available in text form, but it no longer obscures the overview.
Expansion towards adaptation programming
In the course of an ERP implementation, adjustments are often made to the system in order to be able to cover all requirements of the respective company. This also results in many documents which are complicated in further handling. Lehr can therefore well imagine that the use of Enterprise Architect will expand in the future to include customisation programming: "As we now experience every day, working with models in these projects offers immense advantages. If word of this gets around internally, then the number of users will certainly increase significantly".
In addition to BPMN, other languages could also be used, for example for professional and technical development. In this way, developers working in operations would also be able to enjoy the many advantages associated with model-based development.
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