Companies of all sizes and industries have different business applications for different functions. Often, businesses face several challenges in managing these applications independently and dealing with multiple data silos can impede information access and accuracy. That’s where application integration draws its essence. Over the past few years, the concept has increased in adoption, and experts predict the enterprise application integration market will reach $26 billion by 2026. On that note, here’s a guide to application integration and the concept’s benefits for small and large businesses.
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What is the meaning of application integration?
A quick Google query for “what is application integration?” brings up millions of articles. However, many people have consistently confused application integration for data integration. So, it’s essential to start this guide with a simple distinction between the two concepts even though they are similar. The underlying difference is that application integration focuses on connecting multiple software application systems. In contrast, data integration involves transforming information from different data sources into a unified data architecture.
Often, businesses use app integration software solutions to bridge cloud applications with older legacy systems. The integration platform enables the two systems to communicate seamlessly without redundancy issues. Independent app vendors design applications differently, at different times, and with various business rules. These apps are not inherently designed to talk to each other and may require additional middleware technology to facilitate inter-system communication. Let’s see how application integration makes that possible.
How does it work?
Application integration platforms may vary depending on their planned use-case benefits. However, the concept deploys a general process that begins by creating application programming interfaces (APIs). An API is a set of rules allowing users to interact with specific parts of an application for their own purposes. Developers rely on APIs to gain easy access to the features and functions of several applications through a single interface. An app integration platform also uses data mapping to ensure customers’ data remains consistent and up to date throughout different applications across an enterprise service bus (ESB).
What are the main benefits?
Application integration platforms can offer businesses several benefits, including the following.
It helps with data management and sharing
Sharing information across an organization has become essential now more than ever as the COVID-19 gives rise to virtual collaboration environments. Efficient remote working demands instant and hassle-free sharing of valuable information. Application integration platforms enable separate departments to communicate freely and access information without meeting independent application demands.
It helps reduce IT costs and technical reliance
Businesses that fail to integrate their applications end up creating independent data silos, which is costly, especially for small businesses. Siloed data environments also produce duplicates which might cause your workflow to lag behind your operational capacity. Silos can also demand effective hardware and middleware solutions to ensure business effectiveness. In contrast, application integration gives businesses more for less. Application integration acting as a connector across a business’s applications can help reduce time and money, cutting out complex IT solutions.
It helps to automate business processes
Application integration can streamline operations and increase workplace efficiency through automation. Organizations that engage in multiple work processes may appreciate this benefit more. Sometimes, manually fielding multiple work environments requires your employees to perform the same tasks multiple times. Apart from the fact that repetitive tasks bore employees and stifle their innovation, it can be a wasteful way to manage your operations, robbing you of valuable time energy. Application integration can give you access to operations performed. You can model one application’s process and use it for another application with a single click.
All in all, application integration automation has a strong potential of increasing an organization’s control over its activities. Companies can gain access to multiple operations using a single automated interface, which can significantly enhance decision-making and enable your administrators and IT team to improve your business’s value.
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