Enterprise application integration: Five tips for a streamlined process

By Jonathan Crowl

As new coding languages and tools continue to improve the app development process, enterprises are becoming more eager to create these solutions. But development and integration are two separate entities that each come with their own set of potential problems. In fact, executives might find that enterprise application integration (EAI) is more complicated than they originally expected. This process requires a lot of IT’s time and resources, especially in cases that involve complex app ecosystems. Though enterprise application integration comes with its challenges, a skilled team and a supportive environment can pull off the job.

Here are five tips to help you streamline the process:

1. Make sure that you have the right middleware in place

A successful EAI project will require the use of additional software tools. These tools, known as middleware, handle many of the most complex aspects of enterprise application integration. As TechTarget notes, you can usually get middleware in convenient packages that include every product you’ll need for a successful integration. It’s crucial for enterprises to find the middleware suite that best fits their project needs, as these packages can differ in their tools, features and strengths.

2. Don’t build anything that you don’t need

Business leaders might be tempted to build additional integration options into their enterprise apps, especially if they don’t grasp the technical challenges of such an effort. Unfortunately, this can be a recipe for disaster. Companies should focus on integration options that are necessary to their project and overall business goals. After all, enterprises should strive to complete their project on time and within budget, with the potential to earn a strong ROI.

3. Keep segmentation to a minimum

EAI provides a simplistic system architecture. In this system, the risk of error is reduced by the fact that there are fewer moving parts and degrees of complexity.

Nevertheless, some companies try to segment an application before they integrate it, because they are under the impression that this might simplify the management process. The thinking is that segmentation might make problems easier to isolate should they arise in the future. But in practice, this only complicates matters. As such, enterprises should trust the EAI architecture and avoid segmentation wherever possible.

4. Don’t use EAI for data management

Some companies might be tempted to shoehorn data management tasks into an integrated enterprise app, but this would be a big mistake. Instead of misusing software in this way, enterprises should invest in master data management (MDM) systems. MDM can help to improve master data, thereby alleviating some of the burden on an integrated app and decreasing the risk of integration fallout.

5. Retain all information from the EAI process

After the integration process is complete, it’s important for enterprises to make sure that all information relevant to that process is saved for future reference. This information can serve as a record that illustrates definitions, interfaces, structures and other critical information for modifying or expanding an EAI system in the future. Because it’s likely that your business needs will eventually change, it’s crucial for you to retain this ability to modify the system.

Above all, enterprises must make sure that they have a strong, experienced IT team behind them before they start to put an EAI plan into action.

Written By

Jonathan Crowl

Reporter

Jonathan Crowl has served as a tech writer and reporter for a number of tech publications and corporations. Specializing in mobile technology and digital startups, he is based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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