It is important to have an ordered movement of work between applications and components to increase efficiency and save money. This article talks about application integration, why it matters, application integration strategy, and what tools can help.
What is Application Integration?
Application Integration enables several applications to communicate with each other. This facilitates data sharing, resource sharing, and process consolidation among the applications within an organization. This increases business efficiency and flexibility, makes your business more responsive to new opportunities, and yields faster time-to-market and performance-enhancing benefits. Application Integration helps you to transition to new technologies quickly and easily and makes your people much more productive.
Well, how do I know whether I need Application Integration? You need Application Integration when one or more of the following is true:
- You need to integrate multiple applications
- You might need to integrate several future APIs
- You would need to publish services or APIs that can be consumed by other applications
- You need a platform that can scale seamlessly
- You should be able to use any communication protocols
Application Integration Use Cases
Here are some of the industry-specific use cases of application integration:
- Banking – The banks can integrate customer accounts, credit card services, load application services as well as other backend services with their mobile app to be able to provide better services to their customers.
- Manufacturing – You can connect devices used for monitoring the production process to other systems such as scheduling applications and systems that can control the manufacturing process and in doing so, unravel that can help identify the potential problems in the production process and help improve quality, reduce costs, and improve throughput.
- Healthcare – Integration of a patient’s record with an electronic health record system (EHR) would enable the doctors to access the patient’s medical history, treatment details, and other related medical and insurance information of the patient.
- Syncing Data Pertaining to Multiple Systems – Enterprises often maintain multiple systems with the same data. This can happen due to mergers and acquisitions – enterprises might have multiple data repositories.
- Sales Dashboard – Many organizations today are fostering a data-driven culture. Creating a sales dashboard is yet another use case of application integration. These dashboards enable you to know how the sales and marketing teams are doing as well as insights on ROI.
The Need for An Application Integration Strategy
A well-defined Application Integration strategy helps an organization to reduce risks and the associated costs of dealing with the risk. To reduce risks and increase the success rate of Application Integration in an organization you should have an Application Integration Strategy in place. This should in turn mention how the business applications should work together to help the organization attain its goals.
Here are some of the reasons why your organization might benefit from an application integration strategy:
- Reduced Costs – If you have an established Application Integration strategy, your costs will decrease since you won’t need to reinvent the wheel every time an application integration strategy is required. An effective and well-defined Application Integration strategy can help you save costs and increase productivity.
- Reduced Risk – A well-defined Application Integration strategy would also help your organization reduce risks and the associated costs.
- Scalability – You should build a scalable integration platform to be able to support applications of all types that are needed to grow your business.
- Better Control – Application Integration helps in improving the control of information flow in an organization. It allows for better data visibility. Organizations can observe, measure, or embrace data at every stage of their workflow.
Application Integration vs Data Integration
Data Integration is a batch-oriented process that is used to search for information from various sources and then consolidate the information to provide a unified view of the combined data. It deals with data at rest – it is a concept that has evolved out of the usage of relational databases and the need for moving data between them. It is a process that ensures data quality, provides data portability, and eliminates data redundancy.
Application Integration differs from Data Integration in that while the former links different applications at a functional level and transforms and transports data from one application to another, the latter consolidates data from several data sources into a single data repository. Application Integration helps simplify and automate business processes while helping you to manage and maintain your applications, keep your applications updated, and reduce data redundancy.
Application Integration 5 Tools
In today’s enterprise infrastructure application integration tools are imperative for deriving more business value from your distributed applications and systems. There are many application integration tools available, making it difficult to find the right tool that suits your needs.
When choosing an application integration tool for your organization you should consider certain factors. You should try to get a solution that is flexible, can integrate beyond the cloud, and can connect to several endpoints.
That said, let’s take a look at some of the popular application integration tools.
IBM MQ Series
IBM MQ Series is an enterprise application tool that works with several computing platforms, applications, web services, and communications protocols and can be leveraged to build flexible, reusable architectures. This tool can be used to allow applications to communicate with each other in a variety of computing environments. You can use this tool to leverage your existing software and hardware assets and integrate your backend and external systems in a reliable and consistent manner.
Microsoft’s Biztalk Server assists organizations in optimizing business processes. It uses adapters, which are designed to communicate with various software systems within the organization. Biztalk contains tools that can help you to develop, design, deploy, and manage such processes. You can read more on Biztalk from here.
The Oracle Fusion application integration tool provides one of the most comprehensive and unified application integration solutions available. It allows you to build, monitor and improve processes over time. One of the most notable aspects of this application is its modularity. This means that you can only install, configure and use the services your organization requires.
The Tibco application integration tool contains the most advanced business process management features and is widely used for integrating enterprise applications in various organizations that have heterogeneous business systems.
Talend is an open-source application integration tool that can help your organization derive more business value and achieve better operational agility. Talend application integration tools offer a simple graphical user interface (GUI) that you may use to easily create, test, and publish applications and services.
Application Integration Summary
Application integration enables the sharing and consolidation of business processes and data across a wide range of applications in an organization. Businesses often utilize application integration software to connect new cloud apps with existing on-premises systems, allowing diverse applications to operate together.
Application integration can be complicated. It is often difficult to do, particularly when you integrate legacy applications with the newer ones. This allows applications to share data with one another by calling the services exposed by these applications. It also helps create interoperability between disparate systems.