Application Integration

Empowering Enterprise Application Integration with the Accurity Platform

Michal Fiedler
November 9, 2021 | 11 min read
Enterprise application integration (EAI) is crucial in the modern world of data as no single application does it all anymore. It is vital that the applications you use and work with are able to exchange data with other applications in your system.

What is application integration?

Application integration is the process of merging and optimizing data and workflows enabling better business efficiency – these are the key rewards that the Accurity platform can bring to an organization. Application integration is different from data integration which primarily involves the consolidation and migration of data into a single repository or data warehouse.

The challenges of application integration include:

  • Integrating old applications

  • Connectivity compatibility

  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications are reliant on each other

  • Fragile situation and expensive to maintain old integrations

What are the advantages of application integration?

In all cases, the end goal is to connect applications and make life easier. The Accurity platform can become your cockpit to the single point of data governance truth inside your business, as it can integrate with other enterprise applications and create governance over them. Here are some of the possible advantages of doing this:

  • Elimination of data silos

  • Interoperability

  • Bridging the gap between on-premise and the cloud

  • Process automation

  • Saving time and money

  • Real-time visibility of data and all aspects of the business

  • Uncover insights / make better business decisions

Benefits at the operational and organizational level include being able to access any data anywhere, creating a positive environment, resolving individual application idiosyncrasies, allowing integrators to focus on integration, and the modernization of systems that could introduce new capabilities e.g., data analytics for e-commerce.

The bit in the middle

Many organizations, enterprises, and businesses will need to connect multiple applications and technology systems together. However, all of these may not speak the same language, so there is a need for something that can do the heavy lifting of connecting these disparate applications and systems.

One option for the bit in the middle is creatively called “middleware”. This will simply be yet another enterprise ready, software application with a visual user interface (UI), that connects two other applications or systems together. But middleware can be costly, especially when it needs to work with many different systems, and ultimately it may not even work with everything that you need it to work with.

Although middleware can also use an Application Programming Interface (API) for integration, it is possible to directly use APIs for the integration, removing the need for the middleware. The best APIs are common technologies with in-depth supporting documentation. Complete application integration is not usually possible without APIs.

The API

APIs can be used for different purposes such as real-time data retrieval, system synchronization, system updates, and, of course, system integration. There are four types of API:

  • Open APIs (aka Public APIs)

  • Partner APIs – these types of API are not publicly available

  • Internal APIs (aka Private APIs) – again, these types of API are not publicly available

  • Composite APIs

Whichever type of API is used there are always five golden rules for using them:

  1. Ease of adoption

  2. Flexibility

  3. Stability and consistency

  4. Security

  5. Documentation

Some common APIs include Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), XML-RPC, JSON-RPC, and REpresentational State Transfer (REST).

Application integration concepts

Modern-day application integration is just like a great and winning team. Teams that work well together will be successful. An efficient and effective team will be greater than its individual parts – when it is done properly application integration can make a business’ infrastructure and operations more efficient and provide added value. Application integration has some standard rules:

APIs

APIs allow developers to access the functionality of other software easily and quickly through distinct data structures. The API is a set of rules or protocols for building application software and that stipulate how software should cooperate with each other. They allow access to trapped data such as that held in unusual sources. APIs are very common in service-oriented architecture (SOA).

Events and actions

Events occur within your connected applications which in turn trigger actions or scripts. An obvious example would be where a customer places an order online and pays for it. This will trigger multiple actions such as creating a new order record, updating stock information, generating an invoice, etc.

Data mapping

Connected systems will always be exchanging information and this is where data mapping comes into play. For example, a sales system may store customer details (name, address, etc.) but so may a different system such as customer relationship management (CRM). Application integration needs to be able to map these common fields correctly.

Being RESTful

REST is not really a protocol or standard like other, traditional web services – it is more a set of architectural principles to which it must conform. It is an industry standard for interoperability, to help with integrating applications at an enterprise level, with great efficiency and simplifies integration challenges. It has a uniform interface, decouples the client-server, is stateless and cacheable, and a layered system architecture. Optionally, it can have “code on demand”.

Additional benefits of using REST include security, performance, and ease of use. When utilizing the REST API developers should:

  • Handle errors gracefully and return standard error codes

  • Allow filtering, sorting, and pagination

  • Maintain good security practices

  • Use versioning

Most importantly, when developers create quality REST APIs, they must be consistent in using web standards and conventions, such as HTTP status codes. Performance is always important, and it is where using caches can come into play. REST APIs provide a lightweight and flexible way of integrating applications.

Accurity utilizes modern technologies such as the REST API enabling you to integrate other applications from within your company IT ecosystem to Accurity and use Accurity as a single point of truth for managing data. It also gives you the ability to distantly find, read, modify, or delete elements of Accurity via third-party applications using the API. A full guide to each available user command is available with examples, via Swagger, within Accurity.

How Accurity integrates

The Accurity platform is your best team player in enterprise application integration with several components (Glossary, Catalog, Quality, and Reference). It is available in many different, flexible solutions on-premise or in the cloud (SaaS), for example, Data Catalog & Business Glossary, Data-driven Business Process Visualization, and Reference Data Management.

It is important to be able to combine data from multiple applications and have complete information throughout an organization i.e., there is one source of truth, data are not duplicated in various subsystems, and data are consistent. Data does not need to be manually entered multiple times.

Our solutions offer connectivity and scalability combined with ease-of-use. If you would like to see just how Accurity can help your business, we offer a free 1-on-1 personalized demo that you can easily schedule online, at a date and time that works for you.

You can also read one of our customer’s stories where our use of the REST API played a major part in enabling overall data management for their media and entertainment business.

Michal Fiedler
Senior JAVA Developer
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