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Most large companies use software to perform the daily tasks of the business. Some examples include accounting, payroll, sales, and inventory management. Enterprise application integration (EAI) is the process of integrating these independent applications into a single access point. This is a strategy that makes it easier for the business to see data from multiple departments.
System integration is the most modern method of creating a computer application. The approach combines multiple commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software applications into a common set of business tasks that can be used throughout the company. Enterprise application integration typically works well because it combines the best software applications into a unified system.
The health care industry is a good example of a field that uses enterprise application integration software. Health care companies require sharing of medical records, insurance information, and medical procedures. The software used in this industry is typically niche and requires special applications. Using EAI strategies speeds up the sharing of data, which can assist with an accurate diagnosis and prescriptions.
Several commercial software products are designed specifically for enterprise application integration. These applications use interfaces and special connectors that enable the integration of business functions. Some examples of this software include IBM MQ Series®, service oriented architecture, and the business process execution language (BPEL). These software programs vary in price and complexity, and each is designed for a specific business purpose.
There are many ways to design and implement an enterprise application integration plan. The most common approaches include data integration, business process integration, or user interface integration. Each approach has several benefits, but is typically specific for a particular business problem.
Data integration is a form of integration that attempts to combine a company's common data sources. This approach is best suited to organizations that have several software applications that perform similar tasks. Some examples include companies that have acquired smaller companies but have decided to keep the existing software running. Another benefit of using enterprise application integration is that it allows companies to integrate legacy software with more modern technology. This can extend the life of older technology investments, which allows companies to modernize at a smaller cost.
Cloud computing is quickly becoming the next generation of enterprise application integration. This technology enables companies to share services and software on the Internet. Many software companies are providing their integration services through this cloud technology. This will create a platform for smaller companies to integrate business-to-business solutions.