Thursday, April 3, 2008

Extending Oracle ERP using AIA

The Oracle AIA offering fundamentally changes the manner in which functionality within the Oracle ERP Suites (Oracle EBS/PeopleSoft/JD Edwards) can be extended. It also provides a new mechanism for integrating with these ERP Suites.

Traditionally any extensions built to an Oracle ERP Suite, to support non-standard functionality were tagged as bespoke customizations. These were clearly not supported by Oracle and required the creating organization and/or vendor to support the customization. Upgrades to the core ERP got particularly complex in environments having extensive customizations, since these customizations had to be retrofitted for the new version of the ERP. Organizations did not proceed down the path out of choice. Their unique business processes gave them little choice other than to customize the "canned" functionality.

The Oracle AIA offering provides an Oracle supported platform to build extensions to the core Oracle ERP. AIA provides a framework that is supported and enhanced by Oracle. Using this framework and the defined design principles; extensions can be built to the core ERP to support unique business processes. These unique extensions would continue to be functional across upgrades and future releases of the core ERP. Essentially Oracle would continue to support the extension framework, and extensions built on this framework would in-turn be supported without requiring extensive rework.

With the AIA platform Oracle has created an "application" for integration and extensions.

The AIA platform also opens up a new ecosystem for ISV's and SI's to build extensions to core ERP. These can be industry specific or could fill out niche gaps in the core ERP. The fact that they are built on AIA implies inherent standardization and reusability. A hosted model for more complex functionality is also possible.

The AIA based development model allows Oracle to significantly enhance the development of highly niche functionality by farming out development to a new channel of developers. This arrangement helps Oracle by creating an ecosystem that produces highly specific vertical functionality which Oracle does not have the bandwidth to build, and provides Oracle partners the ability to create industry specific differentiated verticals.

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