What Is an Application Integration?

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In a traditional business setting, particularly for organizations still relying on legacy systems, it’s common for applications and systems to operate in a disparate or siloed environment. Essentially, this means that the data in each system is stuck in that system unless employees manually transfer it from one to another. This is a time-consuming process, and it’s also extremely error-prone. Data is a precious resource for any business, but it’s only good if it’s accurate and up to date. This is one of many reasons that modern businesses are ditching legacy systems and pursuing digital transformations.

This is where businesses start getting rid of their old systems and start replacing them with modernized digital and software solutions. A crucial part of this process is application integration. What is an application integration? Simply put, it’s a method of making separate systems and applications communicate with and share data. These integrations allow your business to operate in new ways and can vastly improve productivity and data analysis when used correctly. Integrations can even help you create new and better business processes altogether.

How does it work?

These integrations are made possible largely thanks to application programming interfaces (APIs). Every piece of software has its own API, and it sets the rules for what the software can do, what data forms it uses, how it completes its tasks, and what kinds of data it can share with other systems. Programmers work with API portals to ensure their solutions are compatible with the right APIs to enable integrations. Without APIs, disparate systems could never communicate.

Application integrations also depend on the event-driven architecture. This is an evolution of the standard request-response architecture that’s still used by some applications. One application sends a request to another application or server with request-response and has to wait for a response before any action is taken. This process is repeated for every step.

With event-driven architecture, complex events can be processed all at once, making systems much more efficient. Here are some ways application integrations can improve your business.

Enhance Customer Experiences

Sure, the technology you use is important, but you have no greater resource than your customers. Integrations allow your customers to interact with your business like never before. They’ll be able to search your site more easily and shop from anywhere.

You can provide better customer support as well as be integrating digital communication with your support center. This will allow customers to contact your support agents via their preferred methods, creating a more memorable, personalized experience.

Increase Productivity

Naturally, when employees have the best tools for their jobs, they can work more efficiently. Integrations allow them to interact in ways they wouldn’t have been able to before as well. For example, if you’re running an integrated CRM solution, that makes it easier than ever to store and retrieve customer data. If this solution is also integrated with sales team software, you can easily share customer data, so your sales team can create unique offers for your most loyal customers and increase retention. Integrations open up new ways for all departments to work smarter.

Maintain Current and Accurate Data

As previously mentioned, integrations can help you with much more efficient data analytics. Once all your systems are integrated, it’s easy to collect all of your data in a single source of truth. Since integrated systems send updates automatically, your data center will constantly be updated with the best data available at all times. You’ll be able to rest easy knowing that you always have the most valuable data to draw insights from and drive your business processes.

The more you integrate your software, the easier it will be to adapt to new technologies as they become available. There’s no doubt that you’ll continue finding new and exciting ways to take advantage of application integration.