Application integration is the process of connecting two or more applications so that they can share data and work together. This is achieved using application programming interfaces (APIs) that set the rules for how software programs and devices can communicate with each other on a server.
If you’re looking for enterprise solutions to business processes, you’ve likely at least heard of application integration before. If you’ve caught yourself wondering “what is app integration?” it’s basically a way to help all of your business applications communicate and share data, so you can improve your data quality and automate workflows and business processes.
Successful integration of enterprise applications is a major part of any successful digital transformation initiative, and it can help with the automation of customer relationship management (CRM) systems, business intelligence platforms, and much more. Here are the basic types of app integration and how you can implement them as part of your enterprise resource planning.
Understand the types of application integration.
There are many great benefits of implementing application integration into your business, such as reduced data duplication, improved workflow efficiency, easy data sharing between systems, and more. Here are the three main ways to incorporate app integration.
Application Integration Middleware (AIM): This is software that connects applications together to allow them to share data and functionality. 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.
Integration Platforms: This is a software application that acts as a middleman between the different software applications that need to be integrated. It can handle the communication between them, as well as the transferring of data. This is a good option for businesses that have a lot of different software applications that need to be integrated, or for those that have a lot of different data that needs to be shared between applications via master data management (MDM). You’ll need a data transformation solution to make the most of this approach.
Integration Brokers: This is a service that is provided by a third party. The broker will work with the different software applications that need to be integrated and will help to get them talking to each other. This is a good option for businesses that don’t have the time or resources to set up an integration platform themselves.
Once you have an idea of which approach sounds best for your business operations, you can start defining what you need for your automated processes.
Gather requirements for the automated processes.
Requirements gathering is a critical part of the application integration process. You need to understand the business process that you are trying to automate, as well as the existing systems that will be impacted by the new system. You also need to understand the data that needs to be transferred between systems, as well as the security and performance requirements of the new system.
Once you have gathered all of this information, you can begin to design the application integration solution. This may involve creating detailed diagrams of the existing systems and the new system, as well as writing detailed specifications for the new system. You will also need to create test plans and test cases to ensure that the new system works correctly.
Once the new system is implemented, you will need to test it thoroughly to ensure that it meets the business requirements. You may also need to train employees on how to use the new system. When the system is up and running, you will need to monitor it to ensure that it continues to meet the business requirements.
Ultimately, you have several options for implementing application integration. You’ll just need to define which processes you’re looking to automate, determine how automation will impact other systems, and decide which approach makes the most sense for the scope of your business.