APPLICATION INTEGRATION: Definition, software, enterprise & difference

Application integration
Image Source: OpsHub

It’s no secret that modern organizations can’t function without many software apps. An increase from 8 in 2015 to an expected 110 in 2021 is attributed to the increasing popularity of software application integration as a service (SaaS) solutions among businesses worldwide. This is a growth of about 1,300% in only six years, and it doesn’t even account for the legacy, on-premises apps that many businesses still rely on. Until shown otherwise, users may assume that applications will remain integral to running a business. Of course, every one of these programs generates and consumes data, which can provide significant difficulties and possibilities. By facilitating data sharing and delivering cutting-edge capabilities and insights to the business, application integration can assist in addressing issues like data silos and data redundancy. In this article, we will discuss enterprise application integration, the framework, and the difference between data integration.

What Is Application Integration?

The term “application integration” refers to the method by which your applications share information and use one another’s services. Integrating and communicating amongst your applications is a cornerstone of any digital transformation plan because it opens up entirely new avenues of business operation.

Furthermore, applications in a conventional company environment are said to “live in silos,” They live and run separately within their respective departments or divisions and do not share data. Because these programs are frequently utilized to carry out a business activity or gain insight into your company’s state, this is a serious issue. This requires manual intervention from humans to make separate programs talk to one another, which is inefficient and error-prone.

However, when your applications merge, the barriers between them are erased, allowing them to work together without any additional input from you. There will be fewer delays and fewer mistakes in the execution of your business procedures. By combining the features of many applications, you can gain a more accurate and up-to-date view of your business. You can put your company’s powers in its hands by providing clients with transformative, one-of-a-kind interactions. With this kind of nimbleness, your company can adapt quickly to meet the needs of an ever-shifting market.

Modern application integration technologies make use of an API-led strategy and Event-driven architectures. No matter where your applications stay, you can still integrate them. Application Integration can occur between any mix of on-premises, cloud apps, edge devices, and web services hosted in the cloud. Using integration solutions made for various skill levels, application integration is no longer the exclusive purview of the IT department. As enterprise adoption of SaaS apps increases, role and skills-based solutions speed up integrations worldwide.

What Are the 4 Types of Application Integration?

There are typically four types of application integration, including presentation, business process, data, and communications. Instead of a strict hierarchy, the four tiers represent overlapping technologies that, when together, provide a comprehensive solution for integrating new applications with preexisting ones.

#1. Presentation Level Integration

One of the more advanced forms of application integration, the presentation level brings together two or more apps into one by sharing a single User Interface (UI). This is accomplished through the use of middleware technology, which also facilitates the consolidation of data.

Integrating at the presentation level has many advantages.

  • Having just one UI
  • Information compiled
  • Great for smaller apps

Challenges and constraints of integration at the level of the presentation

  • Not the most up-to-date approach to amalgamation
  • Is not as advanced as some other

#2. Integration of Business Procedures

The primary goal of integrating corporate processes is to increase productivity through the use of business automation and artificial intelligence. By bridging the gap between two or more applications, business process integration optimizes operations. Teams that rely on a wide variety of programs and software to get their work done may see a drop in efficiency and an increase in the likelihood of making mistakes. By integrating your CRM and ERP systems, you may send invoices immediately after receiving an order from a customer.

Advantages of integrating corporate processes

  • Streamline processes and maximize output
  • Minimize the potential for human error
  • Permit groups to prioritize important tasks
  • Save money on running expenses

Integration of corporate processes has its advantages and drawbacks.

  • Integration of systems increases security but also increases exposure.
  • When problems arise, they could affect the whole system, not just one program.

#3. Data Integration

When two or more apps are integrated, their data systems are able to talk to one another and share information. Businesses might lose efficiency without enriched and compiled data as data continues to increase in volume, source, kind, and format. At the application integration level, the most common format is an intermediate data format that is understood by both programs. Alternatively, programmers can write code that opens the door for two programs to talk to one another. However, the first approach provides scalability and efficiency while the second may necessitate frequent code updates.

Here are some key benefits of data integration and some challenges you face.

The main advantages of integrating data

  • Better quality data
  • Combined information for use as a single authority
  • Boost Cooperation
  • Promote Business IQ
  • Efficacy Maximization 

Data integration has its disadvantages.

  • Large amounts of disparity in data format, source, or character might make data compilation more challenging.
  • High levels of resources (such as storage space) may be needed to accommodate rapidly expanding data sets.
  • Inaccurate or out-of-date information might slow down processing and take up valuable store space.

#4. Communications-Level Integration

This is the precise strategy for integrating data with corporate processes. Comparing data integration to more advanced forms of human communication like writing, speaking, singing, or dancing is like comparing apples and oranges. Also, these translators are built using a set of protocols called Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), which guarantee that each app receives data in a format it can utilize while also sending data that is clear and valuable to the others. Point-to-point, hub-and-spoke, and Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) are just a few examples of middleware approaches that can be used to simplify data transformation within an integration platform’s communications-level integration.

  • ESB: By doing so, it frees up the hub to deal with less intensive routing duties, as each “spoke” in the hub-and-spoke paradigm becomes a processor for each requesting application. In comparison to the other two options, this one significantly boosts speed and scalability.
  • Point-to-Point: In a point-to-point architecture, communication between applications is direct. The need for each program to handle requests and replies independently creates possible bottlenecks.
  • Hub-and-Spoke: It relies on a central piece of middleware to do data transformation and direct traffic accordingly.

What Are the 5 System Integration Methods? 

The process of selecting the best Application integration software is challenging. Choosing the right subsystems, locations, and connection type is crucial. You, as a business, must have a thorough comprehension of the processes involved, their relationships to one another and to all of the parties involved, and their relevance to the overall goals of the organization. If you know exactly why and where your company needs unified systems, you can integrate them without any hitches. However, here are the 5 system integration methods.

#1. Point-to-Point Integration

Point-to-point integration or connection, in its purest form, is not the same thing as system integration. While the system as a whole is operational, the intricacy of the tasks it can complete is severely constrained. These methods of system integration are often used for a one-to-one relationship when one system talks directly to another. When there are several systems involved, the number of links required for a point-to-point integration becomes unmanageable.

#2. Vertical Integration

When compared to other types of system integration, the resulting structure is what sets vertical system integration apart. Subsystems interact in accordance with the degree of their functional similarity. As a result, we have a’silo’-like structure in which the lowest-level function is the simplest and the others are increasingly intricate. While this method of system integration is straightforward and typically only applies to a handful of components, it might be overly prescriptive. Whenever you add new functionality, it becomes its own’silo,’ which makes things more complicated to manage in the long term.

The Point-of-Sale (POS) system tracks orders and records financial transactions, while the invoicing program does the inverse. This is where the term “silo” comes into play, as the system is designed to perform one distinct and clear business function, with data being stored in a single location and without sharing information with other silos.

#3. Star Integration

One definition of star integration is “a set of integrations of systems at discrete points.” In other words, a star connection is the result of multiple basic connections working together. The larger the network of interconnected subsystems, the more nodes there will be at the network’s outset and afterward.

In addition, the series of connections can, at most, resemble a star polyhedron when using this system integration approach to link all of the systems together. Star integration is also known as spaghetti integration since that’s how the actual system integration diagram looks. If a business takes this approach to system integration, the neat and tidy IT architecture that was originally envisioned would quickly become disorganized and impossible to map. Because, as you can guess, this offers far more capability than a simple point-to-point connection, but it becomes quite challenging to manage the integrations.

#4. Horizontal Integration

When several systems share a common user interface through a single specialized subsystem, this is called horizontal integration. In other words, by linking the subsystems indirectly through the main system rather than directly, the number of connections needed for system integration is minimized. If there are five different modules, then only five connections will be possible. If you have ten individual systems, you can only have ten links between them. This method’s fundamental advantage is that it requires fewer connections to perform effectively, which reduces the number of resources expended during system construction. The middleware used in this kind of system interaction is called an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB).

Horizontal integration, especially the simpler integration of medical system components, is common in healthcare. An ESB integration interface can also successfully connect to preexisting on-premises systems if a custom software development strategy is used. Simply connecting existing data-generating or data-integration subsystems to the ESB is all that is required. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Managed File Transfer (MFT), and application connectors are all useful technologies that might be put into place to improve the efficiency of data transfer, transformation, and integration from many sources.

#5. Common Data Format Integration

Using this method, the data from the systems are transformed into a unified format that can be used by everyone. Data translation eliminates the need for using multiple incompatible systems and simplifies the procedure significantly.

Why Is Application Integration Important?

Before utilizing an integration platform, applications remain separate and do not interact with one another or share data. Because of this, moving data across programs is typically a labor-intensive, error-prone process that requires human interaction. Automating the transfer with an integration platform or middleware saves time and provides a more complete data picture.

Application integration is crucial because it helps you better manage your application landscape by lowering the likelihood of data duplication and isolation. All of your company’s processes may be fine-tuned for maximum efficiency with the help of an integrated application network.

Also, if you want to save time and effort, incorporating application integration into your data governance approach is a great place to start. Once your applications are unified and your data is synchronized, you can begin working on your digital transformation strategy, during which you’ll be looking for ways to boost the quality of your data and speed up your company’s expansion.

What Are the Benefits of Application Integration?

When businesses integrate their applications, they gain access to a plethora of advantages that boost their effectiveness. Here are some of the advantages of application integration.

#1. Disseminating Knowledge

One of the greatest difficulties for every company is achieving cooperation among its various divisions. It is crucial that the various parts and divisions of the organization are able to talk to one another quickly and easily. But the truth is just the opposite. The goal of application integration is to facilitate open communication between the various parts of a business.

All of your staff will have instantaneous access to client data and your compiled information with the help of cutting-edge application integration software. With this idea, they can streamline their business operations by only having to deal with one user interface.

#2. Automation of Procedures

In order to bring in customers and sell their products, many businesses have to engage in a number of different processes and operations. When different teams manually process customer information and make decisions based on that information, efficiency suffers. The majority of companies want to implement an automated workflow. Application integration is essential for workflow automation software of this type. With this idea, you’ll have access to all of your data and be able to manage many tasks with only a few mouse clicks. This will lead to quicker decision-making and better resource allocation inside the company.

Furthermore, application integration has additional value since it promotes openness and accountability in money management. It will be clear to all parties how each department is contributing to the company’s success through the use of its allocated funds.

#3. Simplicity in Information Technology

If you have to run many programs independently, you may end up with a framework that is overly complicated, has too many needs, and reduces your productivity. Some workers could be less comfortable with modern technology than others. This means they won’t be able to use certain tools or carry out specific technical procedures. In such a situation, you may come to rely too heavily on your IT department. Managing the company’s IT solutions will become more difficult for them in general.

The incorporation of digital solutions, however, allows the company to create novel solutions to satisfy client needs. Also, the IT solutions provided to staff will be streamlined and straightforward to use. The IT department will cease to exist because everyone will use the same streamlined interface to perform their routine tasks.

#4. Increase the Transparency of Data

Businesses have the ability to do real-time monitoring of data and activities across all of their systems when they use point-to-point integration. Because of this, developers are able to analyze performance, identify developing threats, and make improvements in real-time. Because of this greater data visibility, businesses have the ability to continuously improve the output and efficiency of their operating processes.

#5. Productivity Boost in Workplace

Application integration makes it possible for businesses to function more effectively by streamlining their communications and cutting down on the amount of time and effort spent on a variety of activities. This indicates that the firm will spend less time on complicated operations while yet achieving the same or better results through the utilization of the same resources. Additionally, it will enable the organization to respond more effectively to shifting market trends.

#6. Identifying Untapped Prospects

Any company has the potential to increase its bottom line by taking advantage of new market possibilities. It’s far simpler to monitor shifts in consumer preference and demand if all of your client data is in one place. Departmental managers may swiftly react to supply chain interruption, shifts in corporate reputation, and shifting market trends by using apps that work together seamlessly.

Enterprise Application Integration

In today’s modern business architecture, system integration, and enterprise applications is of paramount importance. Debates over what enterprise application integration is and isn’t, or how minor differences between one proprietary technique and another make it the only viable solution, are common results of the rapid improvements in enterprise application integration technology required to meet the rising demand for enterprise integration.

What Is Enterprise Application Integration?

Enterprise application integration is a middleware, or integration framework, that comprises services and technologies that allow for the smooth integration of all such systems and applications across a company, as well as the sharing of data and the automation of processes. In other words, enterprise application integration is a type of information system architecture that facilitates the interaction between various programs and, in a broad sense, regulates the various forms of communication that occur within an organization. Also, enterprise application integration refers to the process of transferring information and files between different software programs.

Enterprise application integration is an ongoing procedure that bridges the gap between incompatible computer systems by combining their respective software and hardware components.

Critical to the smooth operation of any network or business, enterprise application integration software facilitates communication and collaboration between various parts and divisions.

Furthermore, enterprise application integration solutions use a variety of middleware to standardize and centrally manage integration procedures across a whole infrastructure, eliminating the inconsistency and complexity of traditional point-to-point approaches to connecting large-scale systems.

Business processes can be added or removed from an enterprise’s operating environment with greater agility thanks to enterprise application integration services. What this means is that enterprise application integration services make it possible for different apps used by a firm to collaborate and share information and procedures.

Why Is Enterprise Application Integration Important?

Enterprise application integration is important because it enables different parts of a network or an organization to share resources, information, and data with one another. Because of this, teamwork and operations can run more smoothly, and everyone involved can save a lot of time and energy. This guarantees that everyone is using the most recent and accurate information and that all operations are conducted in the same, standardized way.

When it came to the first commercially available solutions for integrating business applications, developers took the concept of unifying integration to heart, building in every feature they could think of into centralized nodes they called brokers. Once upon a time, programmers had to manually perform the lengthy process of integrating enterprise applications. In modern times, enterprise application integration typically requires special software or other interface devices. These days, the internet is often used as the primary interface for this type of program because of the cloud computing paradigm. Some contemporary systems are designed to easily link up with and synchronize with others.

In the business world, having quick access to accurate, up-to-date information is often critical for analysts and investors to make smart, well-informed judgments. In addition, this expedites the process of conducting research and initiating trades for traders and investors.

How Does Enterprise Application Integration Work?

Enterprise application integration is a way of thinking about the software a company uses. There is no single method or structure involved. It’s more useful as a target to shoot for or an ideal to strive for than as a practical solution.

A company’s level of EAI can range from partially integrated, where some apps share data and workflows, to fully integrated when all applications share everything. In reality, most people will be in the middle, with some applications compatible with one another and some not. Any enterprise application integration installation must be flexible enough to adapt to the ever-shifting needs of businesses.

With enterprise application integration, there is no need to rewrite the software from scratch. Middleware and application programming interfaces are more commonly used by businesses to facilitate application integration. In addition to facilitating application swapping to meet changing business needs, EAI reduces the need for elaborate system designs and the associated negative effects on productivity.

A well-executed EAI implementation is not cloud- or on-premises-specific and can accommodate applications from varying origins with varying requirements for the underlying infrastructure. The goal of enterprise application integration (EAI) is to solve business problems similar to those addressed by an ERP system by coordinating the efforts of multiple, smaller applications rather than one massive system.

In addition, almost every company today makes use of enterprise application integration. One example of a basic type of enterprise application integration is using a Microsoft Excel macro or script to reformat data from one program so that it may be imported into another.

What Are the Types of Enterprise Application Integration?

Several common design paradigms have emerged, although an EAI implementation depends on the project’s underlying tools and objectives. Here are the types of enterprise application integration.

#1. Hub-And-Spoke Integration

In this method, a coordinating application coordinates the flow of information and procedures among the several apps used in the experiment. In the event of an application slowness, the software can manage the data reformatting and keep workflows flowing. Even while hub-and-spoke is superior to point-to-point in terms of speed and reliability, it takes more work and time to set up and maintain.

#2. Middleware Integration

This requires the usage of a client-side program that communicates with the back-end service on your behalf. Middleware allows for the synchronization of many interfaces and often employs a bus or hub-and-spoke architecture.

#3. Point-to-point Integration

This type of enterprise application integration is the most basic. It involves obtaining information from one program, sometimes reformatting it, and feeding it into another program. When dealing with minimal processes and technologies, these are typically straightforward to implement. However, as more apps and connections are introduced, they can quickly become huge and complex to maintain, as well as slow as a backlog or delay in one system impacts others in the line.

#4. Bus Integration

This enterprise application integration is a development on the classic hub-and-spoke layout. An ESB is another name for this concept. Applications that are part of a common bus architecture use a common set of protocols for exchanging information and coordinating processes. In addition, this facilitates speedy incorporation but necessitates effort at the preparatory stage of planning and product selection.

What Is an Application Integration Framework?

The Application Integration Framework (AIF) allows for the quick and easy incorporation of external services and programs into the Oracle Content Management user interface.

With an application integration framework, you can easily define the available activities in the web interface, react to user selections, call third-party services, and define how the results are presented to the user. The framework allows for the use of variables and expressions, and it is compatible with a wide variety of languages.

Accessing custom application integration framework apps via an app link or public link does not apply to them.

Any number of integration definitions can be kept in a single JSON file. The developer can then upload the configuration file and have the app added to the list of available apps. As an added bonus, the online interface also allows you to change and validate the configuration file, turn the app on or off, specify preferences (such as supplying tenant and account information), download the configuration file, and uninstall the app.

The configuration file controls how the program, native objects, and web interface all work together. The configuration file includes:

  • Tenant and user preferences are app properties.
  • The web interface’s publicly available operations and the corresponding service calls
  • The format in which the user is shown the results.
  • Compatible with multiple language interface string

Application Integration vs Data Integration

The primary distinctions are related to the amount of data involved and the rate at which the data is changed. Since application integration can take place in real-time with smaller data volumes, businesses can react instantly to new data or performance issues. In addition, the app’s real-time nature ensures that all users always have the most up-to-date information, regardless of where in the world those users may be located.

In order to reduce duplication and improve quality, data integration is frequently performed in batches after other processes have ended. Typically, data integration occurs after the process that produced the data has ended and huge datasets are at rest. Conversely, application integration is used to synchronize information in real-time amongst multiple programs.

Another difference between application and data integration is in the organizational management of each. DevOps is the management of software development operations that oversees application connections. Their job is to construct or use pre-existing integration platforms to link programs together to produce smooth processes. In addition, DataOps is in charge of data integration and is primarily concerned with the administration and orchestration of business data.

The Difference Between Application and Data Integration and When to Use Each

When businesses need to aggregate and analyze static data, they turn to data integration, while application integration shines when working with dynamic data in real-time.

Consider the field of business intelligence as an example. Integrating data before working with large datasets guarantees accuracy and a unified perspective for use with analytics programs. Data integration from several sources allows for more in-depth analysis, yielding valuable new insights that may be used to enhance business processes.

When time is of the essence, turn to application integration. Also, data integration takes a lot longer than application integration, but it guarantees accuracy. Whether it’s information about customers or inputs from the factory floor, data collected through the application allows you to rapidly transfer that information into other tools and apps through application integration. The scope of possible innovations grows with the availability of more and more data from various sources.

Data integration, on the other hand, consolidates information from multiple sources into a single location, whereas application integration establishes relationships between data in real-time from multiple sources. Each procedure has its own set of benefits, such as ease of use, flexibility, and comprehensive data management.

It makes no difference which method is “better” for integrating data or applications. There’s a specific need for each of them. The focus of application integration is on data, while data integration occurs at the database level.

Your company’s specific needs are what should guide your decision between Data Integration and Application Integration. Before making a final decision, you can assess these needs.


In conclusion, having all of your software solutions work together and communicate with one another is a certain way to boost productivity in your company. But if you want to get the greatest outcomes, you need to find an application integration solution that works for your company and improves customer service.

Application Integration FAQs

Is API a type of integration?

Even though an API and an integration are two different things, they both need each other to function properly.

What is application integration vs an interface?

In contrast to a software interface, which necessitates periodic updates in numerous places or regularly scheduled synchronization, an integrated platform updates the entire system instantly in response to a single data entry.

Similar Articles

  1. Best Data Management Software For Your Small Business In 2023.
  2. EMAIL MARKETING SERVICES: Overview, Comparisons, Review & Top picks
  3. CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT (CRM): Definition, Tools, and Importance.
  4. ENTERPRISE RESOURCE PLANNING: (ERP) Examples, System, Function & Workday


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like