Understanding Enterprise Integration & It’s Value Add to Your Business
Back in the day, communications between systems were relatively easy because of simple data frames and applications. But today with the growing on-cloud applications, complex databases, and changing customer demand, enterprises require systems that can seamlessly exchange information without any friction, day in and day out.
These systems also send and process messages, data, and requests while saving all the information. This means that the system should also be able to organize and analyze a treasure trove of data to understand customers better and makes it accessible across the organization. With enterprise integration, developers, business analysts, CEOs, or anyone in the organization can access the needed data from the systems and do their jobs better.
What is Enterprise Integration?
Enterprise Integration can be defined as interconnecting all the business applications, data, processes, and devices across the entire IT landscape to functionally work together as a larger single system. It uses technology and methodologies to connect functionality and communication across systems, allowing organizations to react quickly to business needs.
Given the exponential growth of disparate applications, running simultaneously in a complex environment, many CIOs have started to view enterprise integration as a cornerstone to unlocking greater responsiveness and agility. Over 80% of enterprise Business Operations leaders say data integration is critical to their ongoing operations.
Another interesting example is Zuellig Pharma Holdings Pte. Ltd, one of the largest healthcare services groups in Asia. It uses cloud-based integration to make healthcare more accessible in almost 13 Asian markets.
Why Should Businesses Adopt Enterprise Integration?
Business transformation is ramping up fast as enterprises are embracing digital trends. Companies need to attend a level of data control that they previously have been unable to attain. Enterprise integration removes this gap between computer programs and helps in managing data through simple interfaces.
Overall, it’s the key to the enhancement of internal processes and business activities. It also helps in the conceptualization, implementation, and distribution of critical applications. Specifically, enterprise integration enables you to easily do the following:
- Enterprise integration makes data less complex and in a universally consumable manner.
- It makes software upgrades easy and quick and makes systems communicate and share data seamlessly.
- Sharing important information, simplifying processes, and maximizing opportunities, help companies improve their operational scalability and increase their reach and revenue.
Types of Integration
Enterprise Integration connects critical systems and applications across all lines of business using the following types of integrations.
- Application Integration
Application integration merges individual applications, designed for a special purpose, to seamlessly work with other such applications. It optimizes data and workflow between multiple software to modernize infrastructure and support agile operations. Through seamlessly interconnected processes, data can be shared in real-time and deliver improved insights, visibility, and productivity across the organization.
Application integration also helps bridge the gap between existing on-premises systems and fast-evolving cloud-based enterprise applications. It allows enterprises to orchestrate a variety of functions across their entire infrastructures, enabling businesses to operate more effectively and efficiently.
- Data Integration
As the name suggests, data integration is the process of discovering, retrieving, and compiling information or data from disparate sources to provide users with a single structured and unified view. It makes data more freely available and easier to consume for both system and users, ultimately enabling analytic tools to produce effective, actionable business insights.
Integration typically begins with the ingestion process and includes steps such as cleansing, ETL mapping, and transformation. When done right, data integration can improve data quality, free up resources and reduce IT costs, fostering innovation without changing existing applications or data structure.
- Process Integration
Earlier, integrating business processes was limited to large-sized companies who could afford it. But today, a business of all sizes needs to streamline processes between marketing, sales, customer service, supply chain management, etc.
With process integration, also known as Business Process Integration (BPI), businesses can connect systems, workflows, and processes efficiently to transform operations and drive efficiency. It also automates management, operational, and supporting processes, giving businesses an edge over competitors. This way business leaders can spend less time and energy concerned about the integration challenges and more on driving new business.
- Device Integration
Device integration connects various devices so they can communicate, interact and interoperate to support business needs and drive productivity and efficiency.
How you can implement Enterprise Integration?
To implement a successful enterprise integration, business leaders need to consider several steps before taking an action. One of them includes evaluating the need for the implementation and what your organization aims to achieve through it. Other steps include:
- Creating a roadmap for integration to avoid overlapping processes.
- Determining the metrics to measure the effectiveness of the strategy.
- Keeping track of the results and refining methodology to minimize errors and inefficiencies.
Here are some best practices to employ and ensure the proper integration of your business’s data and applications.
Best Practices for Enterprise Integration
- Build an Integration Center of Excellence (ICoE).
Assigning a cross-departmental team of experts dedicated to implementing and guiding integration best practices across the organization helps companies create better and faster integration strategies. These experts should belong to various disciplines like compliance and security as well as different lines of business to combine different skills into one team.
An ICoE can mitigate unnecessary duplication of projects, and oversee applications and data directly impacted by the integration. This allows companies to easily integrate, boost speed, and improve efficiency all in a coherent, scalable and cost-effective manner.
- Consider a Platform-based approach.
Following a platform-based approach help businesses support multiple dimensions of enterprise connectivity. It caters to a wide range of integration use cases including application, process, data, usage, sensors, and others across on-premise, cloud, and hybrid ecosystems.
- Use APIs.
APIs are crucial for enterprise integration as they serve as interchangeable components within a platform framework. It supports the integration of people, processes, and systems and helps them seamlessly interact with each other, especially when critical data is concerned.
- Democratize Integration.
The integration aims to empower all users with or without technical expertise. By making integration accessible to all business users of all backgrounds – having technical capabilities and ones with no-code build experiences – can update and build integration. This helps to maximize the value of the business while reducing dependency on dedicated developers.
- Create Management Plans.
Implementing management plans supports the enterprise integration strategy. It helps to push patches and upgrade runtime engines whether on-premise or in the cloud. The plan must include access control, change management processes, rules for extending integrations, management of system credentials, and data encryption.
- Use predictive analytics to maintain data quality
Maintaining data consistency is another crucial aspect as the integration process can tamper with the data quality. There are high chances of data duplication, data loss, or wrong entries of data. Using data analysis and predictive intelligence, companies can recognize integration patterns, draw insights from the flow of data and prevent quality issues across the organization.
How iLink help you simplify the enterprise integration?
Selecting the right partner who helps with the enterprise integration process is one of the most strategic decisions a company can make. iLink’s Enterprise Integration approach provides the most flexible integration that allows organizations to connect applications, data, and devices on-premises or in the cloud.
Our services offer hybrid cloud-based, enterprise-class integration services by seamlessly enabling businesses to connect applications & data between heterogeneous systems in real-time. We specialize in strategic consulting, architecture analysis and design, implementation, and testing using modern architecture principles to drive time-to-market and vigorously improve operational efficiency.
Our approach to integration offers the necessary speed and agility to succeed in the digital era. Get in touch with our experts to find out how we can transform your business.