In the current times, organizations rely on several applications to assist them with specific functions. While working with several applications helps businesses speed up processes, managing those multiple applications and the data running through them can be challenging.
When you have islands of technology with data scattered across applications and business systems, that leads to data silos, data duplication, and unoptimized processes. Unless you integrate your business systems with your ERP, you will not have a clear view of all your data and processes. An application integration tool or software can help you mitigate these challenges.
At To-Increase, we have developed a configuration-based, no-code application integration tool – Connectivity Studio for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain Management. Our platform is an embedded solution which means it’s built inside the Microsoft D365 environment and has helped several of our customers simplify the integration process, improve the quality of their data, and streamline operations.
We hope our article will help you understand the basics of application integration and whether an application integration platform is worth considering for your business.
What is application integration?
Gartner defines application integration as “the process of enabling independently designed applications to work together”. Therefore, application integration is the process of syncing your applications using a common platform that helps them communicate with each other. The integration allows applications to exchange and share data thereby optimizing business processes.
Organizations can modernize their infrastructure by connecting their data between several applications. Application integration plays a pivotal role in this process of bridging the gap between on-premises legacy systems and more modern cloud-based enterprise applications. As a result, organizations benefit from an enhanced data flow between a multitude of specific applications which can now work together smoothly.
It is important to note that application integration can be carried out between any combination of on-premise and/or cloud applications, and web services to organize the data required for business workflows. These independently designed applications address distinct business requirements and could range from ERP systems to a CRM platform.
Why is application integration important?
Prior to using an integration platform, applications are disconnected, and function in silos which means they cannot communicate with each other or share any data. Therefore, manual intervention is needed to carry out this task of transferring data between applications which is more often than not, time-consuming and can be error-prone. Using an integration platform or middleware can help you automate this process of data transfer, saving time and giving you a more accurate view of all your data.
Application integration is important as it assists in managing the data in your application landscape and reduces the chances of data duplication and data silos. When you create an integrated application network, all your business processes can be optimized to work seamlessly.
If you are looking to streamline your processes, then consider adding application integration to your data governance strategy. And once your applications are integrated and data synchronization is achieved you can work towards your digital transformation strategy and look for ways to improve the quality of your data and accelerate business growth.
Methods of integrating your application
There are two ways of integrating your applications. You could either do this in-house or implement a middleware tool.
1. You can hire a special team of developers in-house who can build a customized platform. Point-to-point interactions between each application will need to be programmed in such a scenario. But if you have several applications that will need to be integrated as you scale, this becomes unsustainable. Supervising and building several integrations by development is time-consuming and challenging.
2. Alternatively, you could invest in an integration solution that synchronizes and integrates data without the need for any coding. The solution should be easy enough for even business users to work with.
Keep in mind a ready solution will be easier to work with as you scale and need to keep track of high data volumes. Whichever method you lean towards, any application should be able to transfer and read data from another application without any lags as that could result in other issues.
What are the most important capabilities of application integration?
Gartner outlines 3 commonly required capabilities for an application integration platform
1. Should assist in maintaining a separate record of data consistently for every (independently designed) application.
2. Capable of managing the integrated flow of several activities performed by disparate applications.
3. Maintain a single user interface to manage data flow, access, and functionality of all integrated applications.
Who is application integration a good fit for?
Organizations across industries use application integration software to connect their application network, improve data quality and streamline processes. We have had customers from pharma, manufacturing, food distribution, automobile, and retail, successfully use our application integration solution – Connectivity Studio to achieve their business goals and upscale.
We can share the example of our customer, a global food distributor that used To-Increase’s integration solution – Connectivity Studio to connect to their ERP Microsoft Dynamics and their logistics system to simplify communications and processes. Connectivity Studio has also helped them with process automation and data transfers for several applications.
Is an application integration platform for you?
To answer this question, you need to first assess your application network and answer a few questions. Do you have several applications that are creating data silos? If yes, do you think your organization would benefit by implementing an application integration platform or would you rather have a development team, work on a platform in-house that needs to be managed end-to-end?
If you are interested to learn more about application integration but unsure about the answers to the above-mentioned questions, you would benefit from reading our eBook. We share three business scenarios prior, and post-integration and explain how businesses have used an application integration platform to not only modernize their architecture but also build closer relationships with their trading partners.