As information technology is getting engrained into enterprise management processes, the challenges of integrating systems, data and flows are becoming increasingly important.
System integration ensures the integrity and consistency of all information in the enterprise. Avoid duplication of data entry, as well as improve the timely exchange of information between all groups of employees, departments and contractors.
The range of integration is very wide: from making two business applications talk to each other, to the creation of a single information environment within the enterprise. Integration can go beyond a company four walls. Today, the integration consists of orchestrating and integrating systems and applications of business partners along in addition to streamlining processes within an enterprise…
The complexity and relevance of integration are also highlighted by the impressive investment amounts spent on such integration projects. Independent analysts estimate that the biggest part of IT budget in large companies, is spent on integration tasks and projects. The strategic approach and the right choice of integration technology can reduce the risks and costs associated with systems integration projects.
The statistic reveals the IT functions most commonly outsourced by IT leaders worldwide. As you can see from the graph below, system integration was outsourced to 29% of respondents.
Let’s list and analyze the factors that affect integration projects:
Processes acceleration. Business development requires more and more often to change the data structures, business processes, let alone the design and user interface, which is just constantly in change.
Dispersal. Organizations are becoming increasingly large, and the challenges are increasingly complex, with logical, organizational and geographical dispersion.
Heterogeneity. In a large project, it is almost never possible to adhere to platforms and tools from one manufacturer. Many companies use different on-premise and cloud/on-demand applications such as Microsoft SharePoint, Lotus Notes, Salesforce.com, or other industry specific software and applications. Thus, you have to consider and support the features of multiple platforms.
Heredity. Inability to completely abandon the legacy system, old hardware, which, by the way, sometimes give quite good indicators of reliability and performance, but they do not easily contribute to integration.
Interactivity. Users constantly raise their expectations about the speed of system response, speed, and efficiency of information delivery. Most processes tend to perform in real time.
High load. The complexity of integration is affected by the number of users in the system, the amount of data, and the intensity of data processing.
Continuity of the work cycle. System integration and upgrades must almost always be seamless, smooth, incremental, and imperceptible to the enterprise and its customers.
Cross-system integration. Integration tasks are not limited within the company. Increasingly, enterprises need to integrate different complex solutions with partners, customers, suppliers, contractors and even with government agencies (B2G integration).
Selection of integration platform
The system integration remains a hot topic for many companies, regardless of their industry or sphere of activity. In integration, especially when it comes to complex and large-scale projects, the key issue is the choice of the optimal platform.
According to Wikipedia in integration loose coupling in broader distributed system design is achieved by the use of transactions, queues provided by message-oriented middleware, and interoperability standards. Four types of autonomy, which promote loose coupling, are: reference autonomy, time autonomy, format autonomy, and platform autonomy.
Generally, point-to-point integration applications become inseparable from each other, leading to risks and instability.
Therefore, it is better to focus on loosely coupled integration technologies that give the opportunity for a variety of architectural approaches and topologies ranging from the hub and spokes model to an ESB to an SOA.
It is no secret, manual programming is lengthy and risky, so to avoid manual programming or custom-coded interfaces, it is better to use standard certified connectors.
Furthermore, best practices in software integration are using standard application and technology components.
Magic xpi provides and maintains components for most of the major solutions, such as Salesforce, JD Edwards, SAP, Dynamics CRM and more.
In total Magic xpi includes 100+ prebuilt components “out-of-the-box”, lots of them are certified adapters for leading IT systems. Moreover, and a Connector Builder for everything else.
When planning and implementing an integration project, the use of a graphical user interface which can visualize processes ensures consistency of actions and facilitates communication of all integration participants.
Easy-to-use Data Mapper
Business processes are continuously changing. Therefore, it requires constant technical changes to the configurations that should be easily implemented. In the case where integration with a third-party system, such as Salesforce.com, or another ERP or CRM system is hard-coded using the point-to-point programming method, it becomes difficult to make changes.
Magic xpi allows doing all these configuration changes in few clicks to modify the flow, or the way data is exchanged or transformed, such as adding new data fields, names, types, and sizes or even changing the way the business process works.
Independent integration technology platform
Leading integration experts recommend that system integration technology, must be platform-independent. It must integrate easily with most (if not all) software solutions and be able to interact with Web applications, mobile, or even IBM i-based applications. This applies to connectors: The integration platform should offer connectors for major IT solutions, so that they can be integrated in a platform independent manner.
Experienced Integration provider
Doing business with an experienced business partner is an additional criteria companies are looking into. An experienced integration partner that is responsive, will “add value” to a company’s projects, and becomes a backup resource to their internal staff, knowing that today companies are short in resources, and management are pushing into more integration and automation projects.
It has become very common today to look for an integration technology manufacturer that is always present and backing up his software products/services. Enterprises are looking for a more human oriented technical support, and not a company who would treat its support requests as only tickets and numbers. A manufacturer who interacts with the end-user, understand his needs, supports him and build/update the software and integration platform for the real life, and not for a “virtual reality”.
Monitoring the business processes
Monitoring business processes after any integration project implementation, will allow you to monitor and manage error handling and have a visibility on performance. If interoperability is delayed, it can affect the routine of the whole enterprise.
Self-documentation of integration processes is very useful in any integration project. Inadequate documentation in integration projects may result in the loss of critical project information.
Since documentation can be a very time-consuming manual process, when an integration technology provides an automatic documentation feature based on the project flows, specialists and analysts, are much more likely to adopt and use in their integration projects.
The right integration partners
As a long-time partner of Magic Software Enterprises (a global provider of innovative end-to-end business integration and application development solutions), EDI2XML has been recommending and using Magic xpi integration platform for proven, successful integration projects.
We provide the right combination of technology, people, and processes to transform your company. Our specialists have a proven record of successfully solving various integration problems and overcoming great challenges.