Table of Contents
- What is EAI?
- Uses of APIs
- Use Case Examples
As a business expands, there is a need to adopt enterprise applications to streamline operations and increase productivity. From accounting, customer support, supply chain to analysis.
Common software applications include customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management, business analytics, human resource data and enterprise resource planning (ERP).
Communication between these platforms is critical to reducing inefficiencies in administrative delays and periods for business processes. A quick fix to this problem is enterprise application integration (EAI).
With the increased complexity of tools and technologies, traditional forms of data integration need to scale up to match today’s business need. Thus, modern enterprise program integrations need to support the ever-changing business environment.
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What is EAI?
EAI is the process of bridging communication inefficiencies between various enterprise applications. The aim is to form one robust enterprise infrastructure with easy data flow from one program to another.
How it Works
EAI facilitates changes in operating systems, data formats and languages that prevent various components’ interoperability. For EAI to function, several methods are used. Let us discuss the different ways how EAI works.
Data silos for different enterprise programs lead to difficulties in sharing information. Companies require tedious manual processes to copy data from one enterprise application to the other. However, using a shared database helps to centralize information from different applications.
A single database helps avoid redundancies in duplication of information and unnecessary data storage. Having a common database allows programs to synchronize seamlessly with each other. Moreover, a shared database leads to more control and fewer data leaks.
Read-Only Application Integration
It is a legacy method used in EAI for point-to-point integration. A script is extracted from one application then modified to fit different applications’ structures.
A manual process is also involved in the success of this method. For instance, a change in the physical inventory relies on the online inventory change. It implies that if the system gets 20 purchases, there must be an actual removal of the 20 items for the two inventories to be in sync.
Uses of APIs
Application programming interfaces (APIs) have become a popular solution to EAI. An API has a set of commands that allow different programs to communicate efficiently.
APIs capture data from one program and deploy it to the other. APIs enable automation and reduce manual interventions of data transfers.
Use of Middleware
Middleware is software with an operating system that supports integrating different enterprise programs.
The middleware allows the different applications to communicate and exchange data. Consolidation of the various database entries and synchronization of data on disparate systems becomes simplified.
Use of Integration Connectors
Integration connectors allow users to combine different applications into one solid framework.
The connectors merge different databases into a common pool of information. This action allows users to access and track performance progress from one place.
Businesses and Companies – Businesses and companies have different departments that work independently but as a unit to achieve different goals. For these departments to work as a unit, they need to communicate through information exchange. However, without proper systems in place, it might be hard to perform tasks effectively.
The EAI allows the systems and software from various departments to automatically exchange data and provide it in good time. This way, workers can respond to operations and scale up the business.
With EAI, we can look forward to having a system with reduced inefficiencies by manual transfer of data. It will also save on time and allow businesses, companies and organizations to improve scalability.
This architecture has gone through major changes ranging from an information-oriented application to the current service-oriented application.
As technology improves, the EAI will experience an increase in professionals and experts and achieve a measure of standardization. Users anticipate that there will be efforts to work on the challenges that are facing EAI and make its functionality seamless.
It will be essential to work on creating an infrastructure that has a strategy and whose security is guaranteed.
Use Case Examples
a. Marketing Team
The performance of ad campaigns is critical for marketing departments. It is important to track how each advertisement is doing to know whether there the intended objective is met.
Going through special applications such as social media accounts can be cumbersome and tiring. An EAI combines all the social platforms’ analytics to provide a central dashboard.
Viewing all metrics from a single dashboard allows marketing executives to make data-driven decisions faster.
b. In Billing
Checkout is an important aspect in conversion, and different applications come into play. Accounting systems need to be in sync with billing systems.
The EAI helps the two systems to communicate effectively. The accounts system needs to receive payment from the billing system in real-time to track the funds effectively.
c. In Customer Service
Customer service uses different applications for excellent use. For example, the CRM and email platforms need to communicate to avoid redundancies and misinformation effectively.
i. Reduces Business Complexities
The IT structure of a business can be very complex. This sophistication can make it hard to apply the required technologies in a company efficiently. EAI simplifies and streamlines the processes in the company and synchronizes multiple applications.
By integrating old and new software, a company saves on the cost. There are elements in old software that are essential and need to be retained.
The new software also comes with advancements that lack in the old software. EAI technologies save entirely deleting software and pay an extra cost for specific features.
Further, integration of applications in a business makes it possible to build new products and services which can be useful internally and externally, thus saving money.
iii. Ease of Data Exchange
Every company depends on data to make quality decisions. The EAI allows applications, structures and different parts of the organization to integrate and share information faster and easier.
Employees can access software and data from where they are and know how to structure information to avoid duplication and redundancy.
iv. Competitive Advantage
A business needs to apply different technologies to harness the market’s opportunities and be ahead of the competitor.
Poor infrastructure and technology can lead to poor or decreased productivity, which may cause a company to incur losses. At times, the lack of technology can lead to a business’s closure.
Implementing the EAI allows a business to explore different opportunities and take advantage of what works for the business. It allows the business to compete favorably in the market and stay ahead of its competitors.
EAI increases the ability to solve problems facing the business. With the elimination of problems, a business’s efficiency and performance improvements. It is possible to incorporate other aspects such as marketing and create visibility in the market space. A combination of these factors creates a competitive advantage.
v. Saves Time and Energy
Integration of various systems and software enables a business to have detailed information, and employees can access data. When data and information are available, the ability to perform tasks is enhanced.
This way, the company reduces the amount of time and energy used. It also cuts unnecessary tasks and allows large tasks that take a long to accomplish in a short time.
vi. Increase in Business Opportunities
A business’s ability to realize the available opportunities in the market is considered a great strength. These opportunities allow the business to move to the next level.
EAI enhances monitoring and streamlining, making it simple to spot business problems. The EAI provides a foolproof mechanism and tactics that allow employees to realize and respond to good time opportunities.
The enterprise application integration provides information on management issues, the company’s reputation, and any changes in the marketing policies. With this information, a business can align and place itself in growth and expansion.
Enterprise applications help in business efficiency and automation of processes. However, adequate communication between these applications is essential for smooth company operations.
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