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Connecting legacy ERP to Industry 4.0

Ronald Haantjes

Ronald Haantjes

Regional Lead, Canada

Connecting legacy ERP to Industry 4.0

Teams with IT responsibility struggle with systems, solutions, and technical debt deployed by their predecessors over the organization’s lifetime. A full upgrade is, for most, not a realistic approach due to cost, complexity, and organizational deadlines. Based upon our experience and reviewing several solutions, we recommend Gartner’s Pace Layered approach to support companies with legacy packaged solutions to mature and extend their IT architecture.

Connecting legacy ERP to Industry 4.0

Pace-layered strategy and the road to innovation

  • Deploying Gartner’s Pace Layered Application Strategy
    • Systems of record. This layer represents enterprise-packaged solutions originating in the previous century built in the ERP, PLM, CRM, and SCM domains.
    • Systems of differentiation. Within this layer, unique industry or company solutions are built. Some have a modern architecture, where functionality has been built as an add-on layer to the legacy application. Others are built as customizations in the existing architecture. These customizations often prevent the enterprise-packaged solution from being upgraded to its latest version.
    • Systems of innovation. This layer is, for the packaged solutions, meant to be the next and future competitive advantage a company is aiming to achieve. Especially the functionality needed to be successful in your digital transformation has to be established in this layer.
  • Decoupling the old legacy systems (systems of record) and retaining some of the rich functionality that works well and does not require modernization.
  • Transfer the customizations within these complex systems to the BPM applications in the systems of differentiation.

Why should you: Pace layered thinking, and moving away from packaged solutions, allows an organization to achieve its future strategy. Think about IoT, social web, artificial intelligence, big data/analytics, and augmented, mixed or virtual reality, often all possible in combination with your present environment.

Too many people think the only way to modernize their infrastructure is to upgrade to the latest version and move everything from on-prem to the cloud. However, the pace-layered strategy is a tested approach. It is proven to be a successful and agile method to achieve IT Modernization and address technical debt.


Here are four reasons 
why you should consider the Pace-Layered Approach:

  1. Companies can outperform their capabilities if they embrace and deploy new IT concepts to their business.

  2. Today’s technology allows us to build tailor-made, uniquely competitive software solutions on top of legacy silos while eliminating costly customizations to legacy systems by bringing these back to their original, vanilla versions.

  3. The total cost of ownership reduces by applying a rapid application development approach on open technology that avoids vendor lock-in.

  4. Traveling the road to Industry 4.0 means your employees, suppliers, customers, and ‘assets’ become more productive with intuitive and future-proof software solutions.


The big picture:
 Meet your digital enterprise’s disruptive and innovative challenges by integrating legacy systems with Industry 4.0 solutions. It’s the ‘job to be done’ to benefit the knowledge worker and the organization’s EBITDA directly.

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