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What is Application Integration? Know the Basics

August 17th, 2023

There are several applications that fulfill dedicated needs and roles within businesses. Hence, instead of depending on one application, organizations use multiple applications to meet their requirements. However, handling several applications and the data within them can be challenging. This is where application integration middleware steps in.

Application integration helps you maintain, manage, and keep all your software updated while reducing data repetition and redundancy. When you create an integrated application network, all your business and work procedures can be automated and performed proficiently.

Wondering what API integration is? First, we need to define ‘integration’ and lay down the meaning of integration in the context of data warehousing. Read on to learn more.

What is Application Integration?

So lets define application integration. It is a process that enables the consolidation and sharing of data, resources, and processes among an organization’s applications. In other words, it is the combination and improvement of workflows and data across software applications. The end goal of this process is to enhance business efficiency. However, it particularly focuses on communicating between various enterprise systems.

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 code-free middleware with a visual UI can make your enterprise integration process more efficient, particularly when you are handling several applications. Another benefit of an integration platform is that it eliminates the need to enter data into each of your applications manually.

Common Approaches for Integrating Applications

There are two conventional approaches or types of enterprise application integration:

The first approach involves manually coding applications to ensure they can “talk” to one another in an understandable language.

The second method involves using an enterprise-ready integration solution that transforms and integrates data in a code-free environment. These solutions require minimal reliance on IT teams.

While both these approaches can be used, the second method is generally preferable as it is more scalable and accounts for high data volumes. Manually writing codes to integrate an increasing number of application servers can be time-consuming and error-prone.

Nonetheless, in both cases, data access, analysis, and transformation are imperative for API integration. Because if an application is unable to comprehend data from another application, inconsistencies can arise and cause delays in business processes. Hence, whichever type of application integration your organization uses, the end goal is to connect applications for analytical purposes.

Why do Enterprises Choose Application Integration?

Most companies use enterprise applications like ERPs, CRMs, and billing systems to streamline their business processes. Today, cloud-based and mobile applications offer an easy way for enterprises to execute jobs.

Let’s take a look at an API integration example to understand it better. For instance, an organization stores its customer information on Salesforce and accounting data on Oracle. Using the integration of applications, the company employees can get both sets of information combined in one place for analytical purposes.

However, these types of 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 different system integration points. Enterprise API integration solutions can be used to integrate data between existing and new apps.

application integration

Source: Medium

Advantages of Enterprise Application Integration

Some of the main benefits of application integration are stated as follows:

Eliminate Data Silos

Applications designed by different vendors cannot communicate with each other without using additional technology. Integration middleware acts as a glue between various enterprise applications, whether they are on-premise or cloud. Data silos slow down business operations and prevent the effective sharing of data; as a result, it remains isolated within every system.

Using an enterprise application integration solution eliminates data silos and enables the productive use of data.

Faster Time-to-Market

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.

By utilizing API integration tools, companies can incorporate and convert data of any format to the appropriate format without any manual effort.

Process Automation

Depending on the industry, business procedures can diverge significantly. Enterprise application integration helps facilitate smooth data transfer among all kinds of systems and workflows to support productivity and automation.

Data Visibility

Application integration facilitates point-to-point integration and enhances data visibility which in turn enables businesses to observe, measure, and embrace data. Moreover, you can utilize data to effortlessly address customer expectations and acquire a broad view of business activities.

Challenges to Application Integration

Despite the benefits of integration, it is often a challenging process, especially if it involves integrating old applications with new ones, which causes connectivity challenges.

It’s very common for enterprises to have a dozen different applications (such as CRM, ERPs, and SCMs), and trying to integrate each one with custom-coded integrations becomes a very tedious task. Manually it’s unscalable, but an automated integration platform with built-in connectors simplifies the entire API integration process.

How To Integrate Applications

API integration is not possible without the use of an application programming interface or API. API is the set of rules or protocols for building application software. It’s a method of communication that facilitates the interaction between applications and system software. Furthermore, it allows access to data trapped in cloud sources.

API allows flexibility and control for end-users whilst ensuring that the original creators maintain their application without any external interference. Whereas data integration involves the consolidation and migration of data into a single repository or data warehouse. This explains the difference between application integration vs data integration.

API has been long used for the integration of on-premise software systems. Nowadays, APIs are being used for different purposes, such as real-time data retrieval, system integration, system synchronization, and system updates.

Wrap Up

Businesses often find it difficult to integrate several applications into their enterprise data architecture. However, application integration tools have modern technology that can help with integrating with minimal effort.

Astera Centerprise is one such enterprise application integration tool that comes with built-in cloud and on-premise application connectors, eliminating integration challenges. The solution offers out-of-the-box connectivity and scalability your business requires, reducing integration intricacies.

Ready for a seamless application integration process? Download Astera Centerprise’s 14-day free trial now!

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