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Enterprise Application Integration Strategy: Your Complete Guide

Enterprise Application Integration Strategy

There’s no doubt that the arrival of digital technology has changed the way businesses operate forever. From the humble computer in the 50s to the rise of dot com enterprises during the 90s, the business-tech partnership has come a long way. And with the Fourth Industrial Revolution underway, things have been changing at a rapid pace. With the need for smoother communication between programs and software and real-time responses, the best way to stay ahead is a bulletproof enterprise application integration strategy.

Diving straight into the integration game without a plan or strategy is a recipe for disaster. Going through all the trouble while your organization has no blueprint, desired outcomes, or overarching goals that they expect from enterprise application integration will wield little or no results and no way to gauge your success.

Instead, this article will go into the fundamentals of a solid integration strategy: the different types of EAI strategies, the benefits, common pitfalls of EAI adoption, and recommendations. 

 

Possible Enterprise Application Integration Strategies

Here are some avenues you can take on for your enterprise application integration. It is important to remember that no two businesses are alike, and the best strategy will depend on your business objectives and needs.

 

Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA)

Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is the most contemporary and common EAI strategy adopted by many enterprises. SOA utilizes REST (Representational State Transfer) services or SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol)-based services for independent and agile outcomes. 

In this context, web services expose their interfaces to ‘talk to’ other systems (including external ones). Each system can consist of one service or a set of services, each dealing with a single key function. 

SOA can be implemented in two ways- point-to-point integration and ESB (enterprise service bus) infrastructure. SOA pays off by enabling the smooth and speedy inclusion of new services, and provides an easier alternative to existing ones. 

 

Batch Data Integration

File transfer or batch data integration is another popular integration strategy used by enterprises because of its simplicity and straightforwardness. With this strategy, an application or software reads another piece of data or information and reads it in reverse, enabling the integration process. This strategy enables the integration process by allowing applications or software the ability to mutually read one another’s data or information. 

But before we can allow applications or software to do so, we have to establish a link between them. This relationship has to be built between several elements like location, file format, standards, and privileges, and as such. 

 

Remote Procedure Invocation

A key principle in this method is encapsulation, a powerful structuring mechanism in application design. Encapsulation enables applications to request specific data or modifications, preserving the integrity of each other’s data. It also allows an application to change its internal data without affecting other applications that rely on it.

Several technologies can implement Remote Procedure Invocation (RPI), including CORBA, COM, .NET Remoting, and Java RMI. Web services also benefit from this approach, as they can work smoothly with HTTP and bypass firewalls.

One of the significant advantages of this strategy is its ability to offer multiple interfaces to the same data. This means the same data can be presented and viewed in various ways, and updates can be made through different interfaces.

 

Solid Enterprise Application Integration Strategies: Why Bother?

When done right, a proper strategy can help your business glean countless benefits of integration. It also allows you to get faster, clearer, and more tangible results. Here’s what you can expect when you integrate with clear objectives and a carefully thought-out strategy.

  • A complete view of the enterprise: With businesses split into various divisions and departments, it can be quite impossible to get a clearer look at the bigger picture. But once everything is integrated, you will be able to check out in-depth data analytics and gain useful insights.
  • The ability to leverage the latest technology: With a clear integration strategy, you will be able to utilize IoT, AI-based analytics, and automated tools in key business processes. 
  • Smoother, connected enterprise proceedings: Proper integration will connect different applications, making countless business processes and operations faster and more efficient. It also makes it easier for IT and other employees to find specific pieces of information, making their jobs more convenient.

 

Common Mistakes Made When Creating an Integration Strategy

There are many errors and mishaps you have to keep an eye out for when creating and implementing your application strategy. Here are a few things that businesses tend to overlook in their integration endeavors:

Data quality and integrity

Often, integration strategies ignore ensuring proper data quality. Duplicated data, data that has been altered or corrupted during its journey through different integration layers can slip through and result in incorrect insight, leading to poor decisions. Businesses have to create appropriate mechanisms to ensure that only ‘good’ data is used.

Security

A particular risk of integration is that the interconnectedness makes data much more accessible to malicious users. To get around this, your enterprise needs to incorporate stricter security and authorization protocols and restrict access to those that need specific data.

Proper Quality Assurance

At the end of the day, any integration project will be pretty touch-and-go. There will be mistakes and setbacks. You may have to go all the way back to the drawing board and rethink your strategy and tweak things as you go along. The best way to know whether you are in the right direction is through vigilant quality assurance. Assembling an experienced and vigilant quality assurance team is just as important as carefully putting together your integration strategy. 

Final Say

The right enterprise application integration strategy can make all the difference during periods of disruption and uncertainty. Taking the time to plot out your next move and figure out the most suitable integration tools for your enterprise will go a long way in future-proofing your business. And if you aren’t sure where to start, PlektonLabs will be more than happy to give your enterprise a helping hand!

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