Case Study

Customizing / Encapsulating a Legacy System


A large Public-Private Non-Profit organization in South America, in continuous operation for nearly 90 years, is tasked with ensuring the general interests of the export trade for a South American country. They represent over 6,000 individual producers and more than 350 exporting companies associated in it’s different programs. Together they contribute to more than 90% of the total fresh produce exports from the country.

It’s charter includes the development of the export sector through the opening and defense of markets globally and the development of promotion, research and training activities. It facilitates competition between internal and external entities through processes and systems with the twin goals of non-discrimination and sustainability as core principles.


Over the years, the organization has morphed into a sprawl of associations representing different industries, each with its own stack of core systems and processes. More than a decade ago, the organization had implemented an ERP system from a local vendor to help manage the growing complexity of operations. During implementation they were confronted with the challenge of trying to fit an off-the-shelf-product to the varied and diverse needs of participating institutions and users. The cost of customization was turning out to be prohibitive and the organization decided to follow a business engineering approach of consolidating and standardizing processes across its varied user base.

This approach worked for a while but over time the drawbacks have slowly mounted:
  1. Different industries have different legal and governmental requirements that need to be met from a compliance perspective
  2. A one-size-fits-all approach was proving to be incredibly cumbersome to cater to different requirements with the result that many processes and activities degenerated into a manual or semi-automated state
  3. Information craters and manual hand-offs across systems and organizations led to huge gaps in gaining a 360 degree view of operations leading to long wait times and impaired decision making
  4. Supplier and customer frustrations with the inflexibility and inadequacy of the system have increased dramatically, leading to a loss of credibility and reputation
  5. Operating expenses have slowly but steadily increased over the years as manpower needs increased to manage the increasingly manual processes being adopted
It was increasingly clear that the current situation was untenable. However, it was also clear that a ‘rip-and-replace’ approach towards the current system was not practical, given the very different needs of the varied industries and associations participating in the program. The only practical and economical solution was to find a bridge between standardized information needs across the organization whilst permitting highly flexible and agile workflows and processes across the user community.


After close consultation with the design and engineering team the organization decided to adopt Stackyon’s Low Code Enterprise Application Hub to meet it’s seemingly conflicting needs. An innovative approach was adopted in collaboration with the organization to retain its core ERP system for standardized data and reporting needs but Stackyon would be used as a ‘wrapper’ and encapsulate the core system to enable highly personalized and individual process configurations for the hundreds of business units participating in the program. The key considerations guiding the transformation exercise included:

  1. Protect investments in sunk capital costs and minimize expensive Capex outlays
  2. Provide high degrees of flexibility and agility to participating members while maintaining one Source-of-Truth to meet legal, regulatory and compliance requirements
  3. Shift from a manual and code dependent approach to a fully integrated and configuration driven automation approach


  1. The entire approval process in the Purchase-to-Pay cycle was completely automated in just 5 business days
  2. The SLA, from the time a supplier raised an invoice to receiving a notification on expected date of payment, was reduced from an average of 3 months to 2 business days
  3. An immediate savings of 1.5 FTE per month was generated for just one workflow within a larger process
  4. Close integration between the core system and Stackyon ensured that information on any transaction was visible in real-time across the value chain

Whilst Stackyon was able to demonstrate early success, a phased approach has been designed to transition all processes across entities over a period of 6 months. This was done to ensure that service outages or disruptions are kept to an absolute minimum during the transition period and to ensure that there was sufficient time for multiple rounds of testing and user training to be carried out. Stackyon’s highly available, highly scalable architecture provided the needed confidence to the organization to entrust the mission critical change management necessary for continued and friction free growth.