Is your business heavily reliant on multiple applications to operate effectively? Handling multiple applications is challenging; application integration is a knight in shining armor.
Do you want your applications to communicate with each other and share data internally? Application integration can do it for you.
Need to cut manual labor and time-consuming activities? Application integration can do it for you.
Want to process orders at lightning speed? Guess what! Application integration can do it for you.
We know you want to put your business in order. Today, your search for optimizing your business workability will get its solution. Ready to enhance your business’s efficiency once and for all? Let’s go.
What is Application Integration?
Application integration is the process of connecting different software applications so that they can share data and communicate with each other.
Say for example you have a retail business. You would be using several applications, from ordering raw materials to keeping inventory status updated to taking from and delivering orders to your customers. By all odds, these applications work great individually. But it wouldn’t hurt to have all these applications’ data on one platform, a single dashboard for you to have it all at one click, would it?
Application integration is here to take the floor for you.
It is a potential solution for better decision-making since all the data is available at a single node. Application integration makes communication seamless between diverse software applications.
By connecting enterprise systems, the process reduces overhead costs and enhances scalability adding up to overall productivity.
Levels of Application Integration
There are four levels of application integration. They are presentation-level integration, business process integration, data integration, and communications-level integration.
These levels represent overlapping technologies that form a complete integration solution, linking new applications with existing ones.
> Presentation-Level Integration helps unify the user interface and experience of different applications, ensuring consistency.
> Business Process Integration automates workflows by connecting applications.
> Data Integration optimizes data merging across applications, supporting comprehensive data sharing and analysis.
> Communications-Level Integration enables smooth interactions between applications using APIs and other integration technologies.
In today's dynamic business landscape, application integration enables businesses to function more effectively and efficiently.
Application integration sounds promising, doesn’t it? Now the only question is how to perform it. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.
How to Perform Application Integration?
Application integration is a complex process. It relies on three main steps to achieve seamless connectivity and data flow between different software applications.
Let us walk you through the three essential steps to lay the foundation for designing effective integration solutions for optimized efficiency and productivity.
Step 1: APIs - Bridging Applications with Standard Communication
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) provide a standardized way of communication. APIs are typically offered by application vendors and are commonly available in REST or SOAP formats.
These formats allow your business to have endpoints from which the applications can request and exchange data. Once this is done, your multiple applications can communicate within the ecosystem.
Step 2: Event-Driven Actions - Orchestrating Integration
To create a successful integration, it's crucial to apply logic when integration actions take place. Process-based integration often leverages events triggered by one application to drive the integration forward.
Webhooks are commonly used in the source application to respond to specific events, triggering integration actions. Webhooks are user-defined HTTP callbacks that allow web applications to receive real-time notifications and data updates from external services or APIs.
If the source application lacks webhook capabilities, data can be retrieved periodically through its API using a polling mechanism. An intermediary application or middleware may be required to retrieve, transform, and send data to the destination application.
Step 3: Data Mapping - Harmonizing Information Across Applications
Data mapping is a critical aspect of application integration. The information formats and fields between applications often differ. When events are received from the source application or retrieved through its API, they are in the source application's format.
Data mapping involves translating or transforming the data to match the format and field requirements of the destination application. It accounts for variations in terminologies and configurations used across different applications.
Application integration demands a solid understanding of both the source and destination applications' contexts. It is to ensure accurate and meaningful data mapping. Organizations can successfully achieve application integration, streamline workflows, and enhance overall operational efficiency by effectively leveraging APIs.
Benefits of Application Integration: What Kind of Leverage Awaits For You
Benefit 1: Enhanced Efficiency and Productivity
Application integration helps eliminate manual data entry and reduces redundant tasks within your business’s ecosystem.
It connects different applications and integrated workflows, allowing employees to focus on value-added activities that contribute directly to your organization's goals. As a result, efficiency and productivity are significantly enhanced across the entire enterprise.
For example, as a retail business, your team can use application integration to connect your website, order management system, and warehouse management system. This would allow you to process orders more quickly and efficiently and to keep track of inventory levels in real-time.
Benefit 2: Real-Time Data Sharing
One of the key benefits of application integration is the ability to develop real-time data sharing between various programs. Integration ensures that information is up-to-date and consistent across your organization, regardless of where it is accessed or modified.
For example, client-facing teams can receive real-time data from several integrated systems, providing them with detailed insights into consumer interactions and preferences.
Benefit 3: Cost Savings
Application integration offers significant cost-saving advantages for your organization. By eliminating duplicate data storage and manual data transfers, integration optimizes resource allocation and reduces operational expenses.
Instead of maintaining multiple copies of the same data across different systems, integration ensures a single source of information, minimizing the need for redundant data storage.
Moreover, automation of workflows through integration reduces the dependency on manual labor, leading to lower labor costs. As employees spend less time on repetitive tasks and data management, they can be assigned tasks that add value to your organization.
Benefit 4: Improved Customer Experience
In today's competitive business landscape, providing a satisfactory customer experience is essential for retaining customers and gaining a competitive edge.
Application integration plays a vital role in enhancing the customer experience by enabling different systems to work seamlessly together.
When customer-facing teams have access to integrated data from various systems, they can provide customers with consistent and accurate information.
Benefit 5: Agile Business Processes
In the fast-paced business environment, agility is a critical factor for success. Application integration empowers your organization to automate and optimize business processes. It reduces response times and improves overall agility.
Automation of workflows enables rapid execution of tasks. Your business can reduce manual intervention and potential delays. Additionally, it allows you to respond quickly to changing market conditions and customer demands by orchestrating business processes efficiently.
Benefit 6: Data Accuracy and Consistency
Data accuracy and consistency are necessary for making informed business decisions. Manual data transfers between systems often introduce errors and inconsistencies.
Application integration addresses this challenge by ensuring that data is seamlessly exchanged between applications, minimizing the risk of data discrepancies.
Benefit 7: Scalability and Flexibility
For your business to grow and evolve, it requires systems that can scale to accommodate increasing data volumes and evolving business requirements.
Application integration offers the scalability and flexibility needed to support your organization’s growth and adapt to changing market dynamics.
Benefit 8: Competitive Advantage
In today's competitive landscape, gaining a competitive advantage is essential for sustainable success.
It's necessary to do what everyone is doing. But it is even better to do something that your competitors are not doing to come out on top.
Application integration’s increased speed can give you a better perspective on your business’s success while increasing productivity with improved quality.
Benefit 9: Seamless User Experience
A seamless and intuitive user experience is crucial for employee satisfaction and productivity. Application integration provides users with a unified interface, simplifying workflows and reducing the complexities of switching between multiple applications.
When your employees can access different applications through a single interface, they can work more efficiently. Now, they don’t need to navigate between various systems.
Benefit 10: Innovation and Digital Transformation
Innovation and digital transformation are key drivers of business growth and success in today's technology-driven world.
Application integration forms the foundation for innovation initiatives, allowing your organization to leverage data-driven insights and foster collaboration between different systems.
We are sure you are wondering how to apply application integration to your business. Let us share some use cases so you can analyze how they can be fruitful for your business.
Use Cases for Application Integration
Use Case 1: Banking
Digital banking is roaring and has grown like anything in the last decade. A bank can integrate customer accounts, applications, and back-end systems in its mobile app. This way, it can provide services to existing customers and attract new ones through the app.
Use Case 2: CRM Platforms
Customer relationship is essential to a business. By combining several tools and services, CRM platforms can work at their best efficiency. Automated marketing and customer support result in an increased number of sales and better product development functions.
Use Case 3: Manufacturing Industry
In manufacturing, connecting devices to other systems can help identify production problems and optimize quality, cost, and throughput. By connecting devices to parts inventories, scheduling applications, and manufacturing environment systems, manufacturers can gain insights for better decision-making.
Use Case 4: ERP Systems
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems serve as a hub for all business activities in the organization. Integrating ERP with supporting applications and services can streamline and automate mission-critical business processes with enterprise application integration.
This can help organizations save time and money, improve efficiency, and make better decisions.
Boost processes, make data-driven decisions, and perform routine and occasional tasks at a faster pace with application integration. Big organizations around the world have adapted to it and now it is time you integrate it into your business’s operation.
If you need help with your application integration process, we would happily help you. Our experts work on the development and integration of software every day of the year. Contact us today for application integration services.