Application integration is the process of linking two or more applications together to provide a streamlined user experience. This can be done for a variety of reasons, such as to improve efficiency or to consolidate data. Application integration can be used in a business setting to improve communication and collaboration between departments or to automate tasks. In a home setting, application integration can be used to connect different devices, such as a television and a home entertainment system.
Basically, if you’ve ever wondered “what is application integration?” it’s what allows your device to communicate with other devices on a server. This is achieved thanks to application programming interfaces (APIs), which dictate the rules about how one piece of software communicates with another. Any time you perform a Google search, APIs are at work to make the communication happen. APIs are extremely important for organizations of all sizes, and they allow multiple enterprise applications to communicate at the same time. Here are some of the most important reasons you need to understand application integration and how you can implement it as part of your enterprise resource planning.
Types of Application Integration
Before you can know the best integration strategy for your business needs, you’ll need to know about the different types of application integration. There are many, but here are the most common types.
• Data integration: This is the process of consolidating data from multiple sources into a single system. Enterprises still relying on legacy systems have siloed data, meaning that data is stored in disparate systems, making it difficult to take full advantage of the data. By consolidating data sources in a master data management system, you’ll be able to share data from all systems and draw accurate insights in real-time. This is a crucial component of any effective digital transformation.
• Process integration: This is the automation of business processes between multiple applications. It can also be used to synchronize your systems, so everyone is working with the same information. Process integration can be complex and challenging, but it’s well worth the effort in the long run. By integrating different processes, businesses can improve efficiency, communication, and customer service. This leads to more streamlined and effective business processes.
• Application integration middleware (AIM): This is software that sits between applications and handles the communication between them. AIM products include adapters, connectors, and ESBs (enterprise service buses).
Adapter software is used to translate the data formats of one application so that another application can understand it. For example, a customer database might use a different format for its customer data than an order processing system. An adapter can be used to translate the customer data from the customer database into the format that the order processing system understands.
Connector software is used to link the functionality of two applications together. For example, a connector might be used to pass orders from the order processing system to the shipping system.
ESB software is used to route data and messages between applications. It can also be used to transform the data between different formats, as well as to invoke the functionality of different applications.
Benefits of Application Integration
There are a number of benefits to using application integration. First, it can make it easier for employees to access the data they need to do their jobs. By linking different applications together, you can create a single point of access where employees can find all the information they need in one place. This can improve efficiency and reduce the amount of time employees spend looking for information.
Second, application integration can help organizations automate business processes. By linking different applications together, you can create workflows that allow the applications to communicate with each other and automate tasks. This can reduce the amount of time it takes to complete tasks, and it can also help ensure that tasks are completed in the correct order.
Third, application integration can improve data accuracy. By linking different applications together, you can ensure that the data in each application is accurate and up-to-date. This can help organizations make better decisions based on accurate data.
Fourth, application integration can improve communication between departments. By linking different applications together, you can create a communication platform where employees in different departments can share information and collaborate. This can improve communication between departments and help organizations work more efficiently.
Finally, application integration can improve the overall flexibility of an organization. By linking different applications together, you can create a system that can be adapted to changes in business needs. This can help organizations be more responsive to changes in the marketplace and improve their competitiveness.
Overall, you need to know about application integration because it can improve communication and cooperation between departments, increase efficiency, and automate business processes, all of which can mean big savings for your company.