No matter how much you want to carry out all your work using a single application, it’s almost impossible. There are several applications, fulfilling dedicated needs and roles within businesses. Thus, instead of depending on one application, you inescapably end up depending on many. Although this helps you accomplish numerous tasks, handling several applications and the data within each can be challenging. This is where application integration steps in. It helps you maintain, manage, and keep all your applications updated while reducing data repetition and redundancy.
When you create an integrated network, allowing applications within an enterprise to interact with one another, all your business and work procedures can be performed more proficiently.
Wondering how? Read on to find out more.
In this blog, we’ll explain what application integration is and how it can help your business operations.
What is Application Integration?
Application integration is a process that enables the consolidation and sharing of data, resources, and processes among an organization’s different applications. The end goal is to enhance business efficiency.
Generally, the process uses middleware to transfer resources from one application to another. Without middleware, it would depend on wearisome amounts of programming and manual efforts.
Using a code-free middleware with visual UI can make your application integration process more efficient, particularly when you are handling several applications. It helps eliminate the need to manually enter data into each of your applications, simplifying enterprise data sharing between your most critical applications. This middleware can be on-premise or cloud-based, depending on your business requirements.
Common Approaches for Integrating Applications
There are two conventional approaches to application integration:
The first approach involves manually coding applications to ensure they can “talk” to one another in a commonly understandable language.
The second method involves using an enterprise-ready application integration solution that transforms and integrates data into the required format in a code-free environment. These solutions require minimal reliance on IT teams.
While both these approaches form the fundamental aspect of any effective application integration network, the second method is considered better as it is more scalable and can account for growing volumes easily. Manually writing codes to integrate an increasing number of applications serves as a can be time-consuming and error-prone.
Nonetheless, in both cases, data access, analysis, and transformation are imperative for application integration. Because if an application is unable to transfer and comprehend data from another application, inconsistencies can arise and cause delays in business processes.
Why Enterprises Opt For It?
Most companies use enterprise applications like billing systems, ERPs, CRMs, and several others to streamline their business processes, such as sales and operations planning, inventory management, etc. Today, cloud-based and mobile applications offer an easy way for enterprises to execute jobs.
However, these applications don’t always offer the most innovative solution to business problems on their own. In a scenario like this, it becomes essential for companies to leverage application integration solutions to integrate data between existing and new apps.
Streamline Business Processes By Integrating Applications
Some of the main advantages of application integration are stated as follows:
Eliminate Data Silos
Applications designed by different vendors do not have the ability to communicate with each other without using additional technology. Integration technology acts as a glue between various enterprise applications, whether they are on-premise or cloud. It eliminates data silos that occur when an information system or subsystem is unable to connect. Data silos slow down business operations and prevent effective sharing of data; as a result, it remains isolated within every system.
Using an application integration solution eliminates data silos and enables productive use of data.
Businesses often fail to generate a higher ROI because of delays in technology deployment. By integrating various applications, companies can fast-track their business processes, reduce time-to-market, and boost their ROI.
Irrespective of the application and data format, companies can incorporate and convert data according to the appropriate specifications along with eradicating the tiresome manual procedures that often plague the addition of a new business system or product.
Depending on the industry, business procedures can diverge significantly. Application integration helps facilitate smooth data transfer among all kinds of systems and workflows to support productivity and automation.
Application integration facilitates point-to-point integration and augmented data visibility that empowers businesses to observe, measure, and embrace the data all through the workflow.
Through application integration, you can utilize data to effortlessly address customer expectations and acquire a broad view of business activities.
By integrating different applications, users can get a holistic view of enterprise data by providing users an integrated interface to access functionality and data of various platforms. Thus, creating interoperability between complementing systems, both old and new.
Challenges of the Process
Application integration is often a challenging process. This is particularly true if you are integrating old applications with new ones.
A frequently ignored aspect of this type of integration is related to applications that are firmly connected with other systems, such as ERP applications. They are not only connected but are reliant on one another to support a particular process. These applications become particularly challenging to integrate, and don’t often respond well to updates and changes. As a result, these integrations are fragile and expensive to maintain. This is where application integration solutions come into play and simplify integration.
Businesses often find it difficult to integrate several applications into their enterprise data architecture. However, there is modern technology out there that can help with application integration with minimal effort.
For instance, Astera Centerprise is one such application integration solution that comes with built-in cloud and on-premise application connectors, simplifying integration challenges. The solution offers out-of-the-box connectivity and scalability your business requires, reducing integration intricacies.