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The common need for interfacing between ERPs and mobile applications
In a period in which the world of industry is moving towards 4.0 and therefore towards the increasingly pervasive digitization of production flows, mobile devices are acquiring a fundamental strategic importance. Obviously, mobile devices by themselves are of no use unless provided with apps and data that make them essential elements for the organization of production.
In this context, therefore, a common need arises for companies that are facing this evolution and the consequent internal innovation. The need is to have the necessary data available for consultation on the move and, above all, even if there’s no internet connection.
A common problem: ERP without interfacing APIs
From this widespread need arises a problem common to most companies that adopt ERP or MES systems whether they are defined as “legacy” and therefore obsolete from the point of view of their architecture or simply designed to operate in different scenarios: connection-oriented and fruition through desktop terminals and with interfaces not designed for fruition through tablets, smartphones or via web.
ERPs are usually not natively designed for integration with third-party web services or for the display of APIs for querying and / or modifying data through what for many can be defined as “de facto standards” such as for example the common Rest interfaces for access to resources available within web services.
This causes issues when trying to connect the two worlds. A problem that very often causes the company modernization and digitalization projects to run aground or otherwise limit.
Given above-said technical problem, companies have several possible solutions available according to their needs. Let’s see what they are:
The most radical solution is certainly the complete replacement of its own corporate ERP with a new version, possibly web-based and natively open to integrations. This choice allows the company to make a significant generational leap but, unfortunately, comes with it enormous costs and migration times as often a change of processes and operating methods due to rigid schemes that the new management system brings with it. The software of which the company is already equipped is in the vast majority of cases widespread within the various departments in the company, accepted and tailor made thanks to the customizations that the partner, the solution provider, has been able to adapt to the business context, fully satisfying the needs of its own customer as a skilled tailor would do.
If we are comfortable with our current ERP solution, why change? Let’s find out if there is any other possible solution…
If the company is not willing to make a management software change, it has as an alternative available: the current solution customization done by current ERP supplier. Although this solution offers lower costs and times than previous one, it still comes with the uncertainties of building a customization of a system that may not have been designed for this purpose with unpredictable times mainly due to new logics that will have to be addressed: from the management of a multitude of concurrent access by tablets and smartphones to the same database records, to the consequent management of conflicts resolution policies on the data generated while the various devices were without access to the network or without the latest information on stocks or blocks imposed on particular orders or customers. The scenarios to consider can be manifold.
GlueSync is a newly developed connector that allows you to connect a relational database (standard solution for ERP software) with a database designed to synchronize information to and from mobile devices.
Benefits of GlueSync solution
The advantages of GlueSync are guaranteed by an already developed, tested and functional solution. This means high reliability and reduced integration times.
Furthermore, by leveraging the peculiarities of mobile oriented No-SQL databases such as Couchbase (if you don’t know Couchbase or you just want to discover more about its use cases Click here), the data is directly synchronized with the mobile application without the need to build a backend exposing REST APIs to be interrogated for data recovery.
How GlueSync works
But how does GlueSync work? GlueSync uses some native services of the most popular relational databases (such as SQL Server Change Tracking) to monitor and notify in real time the changes in the data of the tables chosen for synchronization. These changes are then read and converted into non-relational data (JSON) and finally recorded into the chosen NoSQL database.
This flow can be also configured to take place in reverse mode to offer a 360° integration for read and write tasks. Even in this case, native systems are used to monitor changes (such as Couchbase’s Eventing Service) thus creating a two-way synchronization.
The connections to the two databases are configured using a convenient configuration file in which all the necessary parameters are defined, such as the list of tables for which replication has to be activated.
The case of E2000 and GlueSync
A successful case of this integration is the one with Soft System‘s E2000 (also known as Euro2000) ERP solution with which we have started a close business collaboration. Integration was carried out by configuring GlueSync to track production data into the tables of a client company that wanted to bring this information into the palm of the hand of its operators.
Production data synchronized instantly
When a new production order is entered, the production cycle is assigned and the work phases are generated, GlueSync detects the change on the data and replicates them on Couchbase (target database set). Couchbase is then used as a data source for our mobile application.
See it in action
Let’s now see the operation of GlueSync connected to the E2000 management system (Euro2000) and to a demo application created to display the data that previously resided exclusively within the ERP.
Have you found yourself facing a process of renewal and / or digitization in the company and you’ve shared similar experiences to those you have found collected in this article? Do you have any experiences you would like to share with us and like to know more about GlueSync?
Visit the page dedicated to GlueSync to get in touch with our team, we will be excited to meet you.
Mobile Tech Lead @MOLO17