Business Application Integration
Business Application integration is the process of enabling individual applications—each designed for its own specific purpose—to work with one another. By merging and optimizing data and workflows between multiple software applications, organizations can achieve integrations that modernize their infrastructures and support agile business operations. Some of examples are integration between CRM with ERP or ERP with DMS. Today, businesses in all sectors rely upon multiple business systems and applications to drive growth and improve company performance. These systems such as an ERP, CRM, WMS or eCommerce solutions store relevant information and transaction based data within operations and trading environments. Independent systems and applications achieve what is asked of them for a specific purpose; the only downside is that they work in isolation causing process bottlenecks and productivity issues which can put an organisation at financial risk.
Information sharing is an important asset to every business organization. Each suitable information, if conveyed correctly to the employees can do wonders in ways no one would have thought off. Thus, the application integration does the same thing. With such boon, the flow of any information be it of any complexity can be simplified to the largest extent. With the help of integration process, any data can be flown smoothly through various software and users who are in need of that information. It can be done using many different technical models. Integration can be done on the database level, but in the last decade it is mostly done using web services or APIs. But regardless what integration level is used, it can be done using development or customization in application or developing independent integration services. But this independent integration services can be found on the market without additional development as Data Integration Tools and using making connection to database model. A well-designed platform gives data integration tools the opportunity to offer code free data integration across practically any online or on premises information system or database store. But in all those models, the most important part is data mapping. Data mapping specifies the information exchange that's to be used. For example, when you complete and submit contact forms in one application, this event can trigger actions that map those form fields to other corresponding datasets on other applications, categorizing the information entered into first name, last name, status, etc. This simplifies the process of exporting data for easier grouping and analysis.
Application Integration vs Data Integration
In discussions about the importance of integrated applications and services in an enterprise setting, the terms "application integration" and "data integration" are sometimes used interchangeably. However, the concept and use cases behind each of these processes are very different.
What is data integration?
Data integration is the practice of locating and retrieving information from various sources while combining that information into a unified structure and view. Also referred to as batch-based data processing, data integration involves collecting an extensive amount of data over time, storing it, and then eventually processing it in batches. Data integration isn't necessarily conducted in real-time. It is commonly used after processes have been completed, so it can provide administrators the data portability they need to analyze application performance over time, eliminate redundancies, and ensure data consistency and quality.
How is application integration different?
Application integration is different from data integration in that it directly links multiple applications at a functional level. Application data may be linked in near real-time, allowing organizations to create dynamic and highly adaptable applications and services. There are a number of proven application integration styles that can be used independently or in combination—from modern API-led integration where business IT assets can be exposed and discovered in a rapid and secure way, to more traditional service oriented architectures.
Bringing Systems and Applications Together
Having disparate applications means that business processes become disjointed, employee productivity decreases and business growth stagnates. For example, businesses initially install accounting software or an ERP system for their business needs, over time departments implement an application that is suitable for their exact requirements – this results in disparate systems and applications which do not have the ability to ‘talk’ to each other. As the business grows, administration and the demand of real-time cross-departmental data increases.