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Enterprise Application Integration: How To Digitally Transform Your Business

25 Oct 2021

Successful companies need different software and applications. However, managing them across platforms would require a lot of effort, time & money. This was the core idea that led to the introduction of application integration strategies. Many companies are beginning to implement them and, above all, to look for new ways to apply them correctly.

Enterprise application integration (EAI) is critical for driving change for adopting application modernization, cloud computing or business process modernization. Today, it is primarily driven by the desire to support the mobile workforce, achieve organizational goals for optimizing internet and e-commerce usage. It offers better and greater control for the company with faster production, reduction of time and effort, along with storage and protection of data, and more.

Through this article, we’ll help you understand the concept, approach, how it works, best practices and how your business would benefit from it & much more.

What is Application Integration?

Simply put, it involves the exchange of critical business data and processes within an organization. It enables the consolidation and sharing of data, resources, and processes across different applications. This helps you seamlessly connect various on-premise & cloud apps to transform & utilize data for smooth workflows.

And, EAI is the process of integrating enterprise applications using IT-enabled systems. It is over a common platform and requires data integration in the back end for the smooth functioning of the connected applications. Further, EAI helps streamline processes like billing, marketing, accounting, customer relationship management with increase data availability. It helps establish a middleware framework that enables free data flow between applications without significantly changing the database configurations or the applications themselves. Wondering what the ROI-led advantages are? Give our blog a read on why you need to invest in application integration & how we can help future-ready organizations like you develop a powerful standalone solution!

Advantages of Enterprise Application Integration

Think about all the applications you use within your organization. Now think about the ones that require integration. Modern integration connectors transform data so that it is competent with IT architecture & streamline processes. And in this hypercompetitive world, small to large companies are placing greater emphasis on integrating their applications.

Are you wondering how EAI technologies can simplify all critical concerns? Read this, if you wish to get a clear insight into the business benefits of EAI.

Benefits of application integration

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5 Models of Enterprise Application Integration

Since there is no one-size-fits-all approach for integration, there are various models that help establish a connection between different applications. However, here are five types of EAI that we can help you with:

1. Point-to-Point Integration

It handles simple interactions between two data sources.

  • As part of this approach, a script pulls, translates & transfers information from one application to another.
  • Proved to be effective with relatively small operations and become inefficient while handling several systems, all at once.

2. Hub-and-Spoke Integration

As the name suggests, this model uses a central “hub” where applications and systems connect via “spokes.”

  • The information is reformatted and distributed from one central database thus eliminating the need to interconnect subsystems.
  • Yet the development team would still have to engage components that would automatically set the route information to the appropriate destination.

3. Bus Integration

An advanced method of the hub-and-spoke model, it performs the same tasks but in a different architecture.

  • It runs without human interference, using a defined set of standards that govern data flow between applications.
  • It enables data transmittance and retrieval as the rules of each service.

4. Middleware

This software works with application interfaces and operating systems to translate & support communication. It simplifies data aggregation across systems using different scripts and formats.

5. Microservices

This is the standardized architecture for modern cloud-based enterprise applications. Organizations that use web-based integration can collect big data through internal and external sources with the help of application programming interfaces (APIs).

Application Integration Strategy

Your strategy is as important, and we’ll explain everything you need to know about how these strategies can benefit you.

Batch Data Integration

Irrespective of whether applications are used for internal or external-facing software, EAI helps synchronize all databases thus allowing complete data access throughout a business. Here, an application reads information from another app or software and begins the integration process. With data transfer, a relationship needs to be established between various elements like file format, location, standards, privileges & more, which should be created beforehand between both parts.

Shared Database

Most organizations have individual databases that help teams carry out daily activities. However, since many people have access to it, there are chances of duplication and redundant storage of information. With the right application integration strategy, you can centralize all the information in a single repository that can be used multiple times and yet avoid duplication & buildup of unnecessary information.

Remote Procedure Invocation

This takes place when an application exposes its function through an interface that acts as a layer to manage complex datasets. With a robust and defined interface, other applications can make use of it.

Messaging Strategy

With a messaging integration strategy, various applications within an organization stay connected through a messaging bus. The bus helps with the exchange of information, functions and data, thus creating a seamless flow of communication.

SOA/ESB

The ESB infrastructure and the architectural model powered by the SOA technology are the most preferred methods of integration by organizations.

Enterprise Application Integration Best Practices

1. Devise the Right Integration Plan

Laying down a solid EAI strategy is a must and an enterprise application integration team can help you layout the plan. Keeping the end goal in mind is a must and here are four ways to overcome deployment issues:

  • Monitoring – The primary components included in enterprise software must be enabled for real-time monitoring. Instrumentation helps with clear identification of CPU utilization, system, memory utilization, or open resource connections. This provides the development team and administrators with the support they need to streamline and operate the system at optimal performance.
  • Accountability – Apart from the initial support and installation, updates for integration rules and components like adapters may need regular activity. The components and regular updates ensure the continuity of operations.
  • Service Level Agreements – The SLA is offered before installation and underlines the system’s requirements at run-time regarding availability, system performance characteristics and resource consumption.
  • Deployment Plan Upfront – A deployment plan brings to the surface important issues rather than having to deal with them at a later stage.

2. Use Pre-Built App Connectors

APIs are crucial for enterprise application integration. The set of rules help two or more applications seamlessly interact with each other especially when critical data is concerned. Web APIs are easily available on the internet and are made with XML or JSON to create connectors for apps. With the use of APIs, connectors can help build and deploy solutions like ERP using plug & play models.

3. Maintain Data Quality

Maintenance of data consistency is another crucial aspect since integration can create issues with data quality. The chances of duplication, data loss & wrong entries are quite possible. Proper mechanisms must be in place to prevent data quality issues as well as mechanisms that drive data transformation and validation.

Designing data structures is also key for flexible ways of adding new tables and fields. Common data rules like the canonical data model (CDM) can be applied across the organization. Also, during integration, application connectors are added to reduce the time spent on writing manual integration connectors.

Top Enterprise Application Integration Tools

Since there are many application integration tools in the market, we aim to help you make the right choice for your business. Here are some that you can consider:

  1. IBM WebSphere MQSeries
    It helps you integrate backend and external systems into your applications. With this tool, you can take advantage of your existing software and hardware assets without writing complex codes and access to an array of APIs.
  2. BizTalk
    This tool helps your organization automate & optimize business processes with reliable and powerful tools to design, develop and deploy various applications.
  3. Oracle Fusion
    This tool helps with connecting the right people to your applications even when data is scattered across places. It helps you develop, monitor & optimize processes with time and at optimal portability.
  4. Workato
    Whether your applications are on-premise or on the cloud, this tool helps with unifying them. You can automate workflows that integrate applications with tasks that users create with a combination of actions, triggers and apps.
  5. Cloud Elements
    As one of the top enterprise application integration tools in the market, it features an API integration product with pre-built connectors that are commonly known as Elements. These elements thus support connections with various cloud service endpoints to provide event-based workflows, provide standard authentication, search & discovery APIs and unified error management.

Why Choose Us?

At Rishabh, our mission is to ensure that we help every business realize its full potential and create lasting value through the integration of B2B enterprise data. We can help you tailor an approach that meets both the specific needs and budget of your project. Whether you are an SMB or a large enterprise, we can help you integrate and develop applications so that you work smarter, faster & better with our enterprise application development services focus.

Wrapping Up

Businesses often struggle with integrating various applications into their enterprise data architecture. However, the application integration tools today are embedded with the technologies that help companies get more out of their business with minimal effort.

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