In the hyper-competitive world, enterprise application integration (EAI) has become a critical concern. According to the RightScale survey, application integration solutions are getting adopted rapidly.
As a business owner, you might be thinking about how enterprise integration will help your business prosper. Thus, roll out the curtains; let’s explore the benefits of it. However, before diving into the benefits of enterprise application integration, let’s quickly understand what is EAI, the different approaches, the importance and the benefits of EAI for businesses. Let’s get started!
What is EAI (Enterprise Application Integration)?
Enterprise application integration bridges the gap between different software programs. It’s generally known as EAI, which enables data flow from one program to another. It also provides interfaces to manage the data flow.
When done correctly, this mechanism allows companies to realize their software investments’ full benefits and use data as fully as possible.
The main goal of EAI is the sharing of data. Moreover, it makes seamless the process of the businesses in between data sources and related apps. When it comes to types of EAI, there are mainly three:
- The Data Integration Model.
- The Functional Integration Model.
- The Presentation Integration Model.
Here’re some typical applications targeted for EAI:
- CRM (Customer relationship management).
- Human resources data.
- ERP (Enterprise resource planning).
- eCommerce Optimization.
- Internal and marketing planning (ERP).
- Business Intelligence and analytics.
- Supply chain management.
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Different Approaches to EAI
The simplest form of integration, it’s a tightly-coupled integration between two or more endpoints. This is the simplest form of integration, but simplicity comes at a price. Since it is coupled with the apps they are created, they can’t be reused. Thus, the probability of increasing the complexity of the overall integration portfolio linearly. Moreover, this approach can be challenging to monitor and easy for these one-off solutions to become lost.
This approach works best with the small infrastructures, where only one, two, or three systems are integrated. It also provides lightweight integration solutions that are customized as per the needs of the infrastructure. On the other hand, additional components are added to the infrastructure, and a number of point-to-point connections are required to create a comprehensive integration architecture to increase exponentially.
To prevent coupling problems, middleware is introduced, whereby the number of integration points is equal to the number of systems.
It is an intermediate layer that provides generic interfaces through which the integrated systems can communicate. The middleware performs tasks such as routing and passing data.
Compared to the point-to-point integration, the middleware approach supports many apps and does not need maintenance. Apart from these benefits, it must be noted that there must be an added initial complexity of setting up the middleware and converting existing apps to use the middleware APIs.
This approach is good only if businesses need such a type of both business processes and data.
A database-centric method, which involves data extraction from a database and updating those data into another database. In other words, data-level integration deals with moving data between multiple data stores, e.g., databases.
This approach is typically used when the app is up for integration and does not provide any APIs or client interfaces. It’s typically represented as the only option with custom apps lacking app APIs.
The key advantages of such an approach are it is low-risk and low-cost profile. Since there is no need to modify the existing code of the apps; thus, there is no need to get the expenditures associated with developing, designing, testing, and deploying new versions of the apps.
The disadvantage of a data-level integration approach is that an intensive number of databases and tables are generated. Therefore, there will be a requirement of a Database designer to figure out the data.
What’s the Importance of EAI in Business?
Simply put, EAI makes communication easier, lessens their time, efforts and provides maximum efficiency, better functionality, and enhanced controls of the organizations. Also, it enables businesses to identify and respond to various new opportunities.
The industry sectors like banking, insurance (BFSI), business services, manufacturing, healthcare & IT services are prominent EAI application areas.
A few Goliaths’ names in enterprise application integration (EAI) are IBM Corporation, Microsoft, Red Hat, TIBCO Software, Oracle Corporation, SAP SE, and Hewlett-Packard Company.
Benefits of EAI (Enterprise Application Integration) for Businesses
1. Information Sharing
Information sharing is an essential part of every organization. If each information is conveyed correctly, then it can give surprising effects as no one would have imagined:
- Enterprise application integration (EAI) allows sharing information among diverse software programs running within and those connected to the company from outside.
- It combines data collection and eradicates redundancies that emerge in the case of collecting data from individual systems.
- Enterprise Application Integration is also responsible for creating SPOA (Single Point of Access) of data. To put it another way, with the help of this, people generally spend less time searching for data and information.
- It also provides a powerful collaboration between individuals and departments.
2. A Set of Collective Opportunities
Every business needs to realize the importance of collective opportunities for the better. Since businesses lack software, good techniques, and reliable mechanisms. In such situations, the Enterprise Application Integration is the one that businesses should need to look for. By doing so, it helps companies’ staff to be aware of suitable opportunities for their businesses quickly.
It also helps address the shift in marketing policies, management issues, and reputations. We all are aware that it’s essential to grab new upcoming opportunities for businesses and make the most out of it as EAI does. The best part of implementing EAI is that business owners can control every single access to their data and enforce tactics right from a single interface, which is a unique feature.
3. Outstanding efficiency
Undeniably, outstanding efficiency is every business dreamed of. It’s believed that if an organization embraces a higher level of efficiency, then it will get a higher amount of revenue.
Here is what a whole package of enterprise business includes for businesses:
- Enhanced functionality: The more your employees’ workability, the faster the entire work progresses. Enterprise apps let your staff a working experience that will be absolutely loved by them. Moreover, it also makes the functioning process seamless for the whole firm.
- Reduces time in the effort: Selecting for EAI helps in faster performance of any work. With a diverse functionality mechanism, a tremendous amount of work can be done in a shorter time.
- Better control: EAI provides different mechanisms to align better control of information flow. Being an owner, if you want to manage your business perfectly, then it’s high time to pick EAI and take your business to the next level.
4. Simplified IT Process
The more simplified the IT process, the greater satisfaction the users will derive. Nothing is more significant for any organization than to serve its customers with the most simplified technologies with the highest level of satisfaction. In current times, the present advanced technologies make our lives easier. It generally becomes difficult with more prominent organizations to handle the company’s IT infrastructure that results in a complete loss.
Therefore, the Enterprise Application Integration can be a savior in such conditions. Its simplified processing makes the whole process of any organization a lot easier. The EAI executes a better technique combining functionality and information of different apps into a single package. With this simple technique, the users will be able to access their data, and the organizations will also find it a lot easier to serve data to their potential customers. As a result, it’s a win-win situation for both parties.
5. Automation in business processes
EAI is responsible for organizing well the entire process of your business, including data and monitoring different software applications. For example, the database of CRM (Customer Relationship) integrates with an email marketing platform. Doing so, it helps to acknowledge the messages based on customer’s priorities, behaviors, and demographics.
The data can be combined with analytics if you want to calculate the success rate of email campaigns. This way, it helps organizations to analyze its procedure and invest resources in the right place.
6. Flexible Infrastructure
EAI helps businesses to remain flexible in the context of IT infrastructure. Organizations can quickly expand their IT facilities, depending on the growing demand and promptly responding to their customers’ expectations.
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If you are building an enterprise application just because your competitors have one, does not make any sense, being a business owner. Rather than this, enterprise application development will help you succeed if implemented correctly from your business perspective. Hence, all you need to work on is understanding the users’ requirements and aligning your team’s development skills. The real game will begin when you completely fathom the problems, find out the ideal solution, and implement it to benefit the users.
Want to cruise your business with success? Follow the above guidelines of the blog post. If you want to share your knowledge on Enterprise Application Integration, you can drop in the comment section below.
This article is written by Hardik Shah. Hardik works as a tech consultant at Simform, a mobile development company in Dallas. He leads large scale mobility programs that cover platforms, solutions, governance, standardization, and best practices. Connect with him on Twitter to discuss the best practices of software methodologies.