Understand what exists:
Nearly every corporation possesses productivity, enterprise, and vertical applications. Some of these applications may be
outsourced to Application Service Providers
An application service provider (ASP) is defined as an enterprise that delivers application functionality and associated services across a network to multiple customers using a rental or usage-based transaction-pricing model. Gartner defines the ASP market as the delivery of standardized application software via a network, though not particularly or exclusively the Internet, through an outsourcing contract predicated on usage-based transaction pricing. The ASP market is composed of a mix of service providers (Web hosting and IT outsourcing), independent software vendors and network/telecommunications providers.
It is important for the e-Commerce architect to take a full inventory of these applications, for an e-Commerce solution will often need to interface with these installed systems. For example, no matter how important an e-Commerce application is, it will seldom get a company to change its underlying accounting system.
The headache for e-Commerce is that most turnkey solutions do not offer an open interface
They are self-contained, closed systems. When taking application inventory, make special note of turnkey solutions because they may become e-Commerce project bottlenecks.
Data conversion implementations are a critical concern in ERP implementations.
Industry-specific requirements are important considerations in selecting an ERP implementation. For example, most ERP solutions
offer industry-specific functionality that replaces or integrates with a long list of point solutions. The integration scenario
for ERP, therefore, tends to be far more complex than for point back office applications (like HR).
Similarly, supply chain management applications are becoming vertically specialized. For example, one of i2's specialties is
electronics industry distribution. Whenever an e-Commerce or enterprise application solution involves both horizontal and vertical
business processes, the impact of interface and data conversion rises to critical levels.
CRM and content management in e-Commerce
Two areas that historically have been segmented in packaged applications, CRM and document management/workflow, are going through
major transitions due to e-Commerce. The changes in CRM are so extensive, we have dedicated an entire module to them in this
course. Many document management/workflow vendors and their products are in the middle of a major mutation into a Web-oriented set
of technologies commonly referred to as content management. We will cover content management in this course.