Cross platform compatibility and data extraction/sharing pre-dates ERP applications

Posted on March 15, 2011

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The following is today’s post from the Rosslyn Analytics Blog regarding their recent release of the RA.PID Extract for SAP solution which promises targeted, accurate one-click extraction in 60 seconds.

Sometimes certain things remind you of just how long you have been around the high tech world such as when Rosslyn Analytics recently announced the launch of the RA.Pid Apps Store and their RA.Pid Extract for SAP application.

Back in the early 80s when the PC was in its infancy – anyone remember the Osborne or Kaypro portable computers or, the Columbia and Charlie Chaplin branded IBM desktops, the concept of a product suite in which data could be seamlessly shared and utilized across different applications was limited to intent versus practical execution.  I am of course talking about the Perfect “family” of products which consisted of a word processing, spreadsheet and data base software that was written by different programmers under a unified banner that in reality was anything but compatible.

In fact, and keeping in mind that the sharing of data was confined to the relatively small world on an individual user’s desktop, exchanging information across the Perfect platform was a major operation that in the context of the day was as complex as any EDI, XML or for that matter open source ETL undertaking within the enterprise application world.

Of course fast forward to the here and now and data sharing across PC-based applications within as well as outside individual desktops is a fairly straight-forward, transparent and self-service exercise.  The question this then leads to is simply this . . . if said data transportability can be so easily and readily accomplished within the PC world, why has it taken so long to become a reality in the enterprise application world?

Before Rosslyn’s breakthrough, game-changing, out-of-the-box solutions were recently introduced, the answer on many levels was quite simple . . . the business models upon which ERP-vendor revenue streams were and still are to a large extent based, were not conducive to a similar pursuit.  Or to put it another way, complexity equaled dollars – significant dollars, that were needed to feed the voracious revenue appetites of the industry giants.

I can still recall the early days of the dot.com boom when building the bridges between a back-end ERP system and dynamic, web-based application could cost several hundred thousand dollars.  Even with the advent of the eXtensible Mark-up Language or XML options to replace the lumbering EDI standard that had dominated the exchange of data in the corporate world, information extraction/sharing represented a costly and time consuming effort.

Moving to a more recent time in which SAP had teamed up with Microsoft under the code named Mendocino Project to create a ubiquitous user interface and experience in an effort to promote wider operational adoption of the ERP-vendor’s solution, it often seemed that the Walldorf-based company took a circuitous and proprietary approach to addressing the question of cross-platform integration.  In essence placing the emphasis on a false reality of user confinement to a single enterprise standard (SAP’s), than a truly open and collaborative architecture.  As an interesting side-note, one might reasonably wonder if and how the proprietary mindset would have changed had Microsoft been successful in one of its two efforts to acquire SAP.

The emergence of SaaS-based solutions in which companies such as Rosslyn Analytics can now provide the elusive communication link that ensures the real-time transfer of intelligence between a central ERP-based platform and the real-world user desktops, has rendered such musings somewhat moot.  The fact is that through the  introduction of their out-of-the-box RA.Pid Extract for SAP solution, which promises targeted, accurate one-click extraction in 60 seconds, the sharing of data at the individual desktop level is now a reality.  Now that is what I call true perfection.

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