What the heck is an Integration?

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Integration is a path between two different systems. An integration usually uses an API to transfer data between two pieces of software. The integrated software is usually something like a CRM and an ERP. For an e-commerce business, it could be the webs shop and the warehouse system.

Why Integrate

By connecting disparate systems we encourage the organization to be more efficient, and productive. Most businesses can save money by creating more efficient systems than what they are currently using. Computers are a great way of potentially reducing overhead while the business continues to grow.

Integration is one of the key aspects of a successful digital transformation. A successful integration should do more than having two systems talk to one another. A successful integration should add value by allowing staff to do things they couldn’t do previously.

How are Integrations normally done?

Most integrations are done through the use of an Application Programming Interface or API. One of the systems will call the other system looking for changes.

Enterprise Application Integration

Well designed integrations will use middleware or an enterprise service bus to make sure that the integration can scale and handle failures.

Integration middleware is designed to make application development simpler. The majority of integration middleware is configuration based instead of software development based. An example of a middleware is Celigo or Boomi. Celigo requires almost no code – it’s user interface driven so just about anyone could potentially connect applications like Salesforce and NetSuite together.

An enterprise service bus is a system that is designed like a router – it connects a sender to many recipients. My blog post What is an Enterprise Service Bus has more details.

Wrapping It Up

Integrations allow businesses to potentially save a lot of money by reducing duplicate data entry, reducing licensing costs, and allowing systems to interact end to end.

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