What is Application Integration?
Application integration is a form of integration where two or more software applications or systems are connected so that they can work together in new ways. This is often done through APIs or connectors that enable on-premise and/or cloud applications to “talk” and share data. The purpose of application integration is to create workflows and business processes that make it easier to get work done, improve efficiency, generate new workflows, and harness the original benefits of the applications.
For example, by integrating Salesforce CRM (customer relationship management) to SAP ERP (enterprise resource planning), businesses cut down on the need for repetitive manual data entry, reduce errors as data is automatically shared between the connected applications, and streamline workflows that make it easier for the business to work faster and seamlessly.
How does application integration work?
Apps can be integrated through manual, point-to-point, API (application programming interfaces) integrations; through the use of middleware like an enterprise service bus (ESB), or through integration tools, such an integration-platform-as-a-service (iPaaS).
As the number of different applications has grown, manual integration has become too slow to keep pace with the needs of the business. Integration has grown more complex, as most companies have legacy systems, on-premises applications, and cloud applications that need to connect. SaaS business applications update on their own, which means manual integrations need to be updated as well. IT does not have time to monitor and maintain manual integrations.
Why enterprises choose an iPaaS for application integration?
Modern enterprises are choosing an iPaaS as their preferred application integration solution. An iPaaS automates the integration process itself, making it easy for anyone authorized in the business to create integration pipelines and workflows that quickly improve outcomes. An iPaaS enables scalability, for a limitless number of integrations.
Using pre-built connectors, templates, and an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, the best iPaaS solutions remove the technical complexity from integration and make it simple, easy, and fast. Integrations can be done in real-time, which means the business can start using the new workflows immediately.
Additionally, an iPaaS handles not only enterprise application integration (EAI), but data integration. Data integration is not the same as application integration, though the two are often used interchangeably. Data integration is part of data management. It gathers data from different data sources (often data silos) and turns it into a usable, single view. By reconciling data, data flows, and data formats, businesses can make informed decisions from one source of data truth.
As businesses implement modernization initiatives, improving the way they handle application integration is key to making sure they can partake in a vast ecosystem of apps and services that power business today. Integration optimization improves business operations and positions enterprises to be able to meet customer expectations in a fast-moving world.