Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) is an enterprise integration approach to provide interoperability between the multiple disparate applications and systems that make up an organization’s enterprise application and infrastructure landscape. Both Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) and Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) are middleware broker technologies used for application/system integration. Enterprise architectures, by their nature, tend to consist of many systems and applications, which provide the various services the organization relies upon to conduct their day-to-day business processes. Organizations may use separate applications and systems, either developed in-house or licensed from a third-party vendor, to manage their Order-to-Cash, Supply Chain, Production Planning, and other end-to-end process requirements. In order to gain the benefits of this kind of distributed application landscape, an organization must implement an integration middleware broker that provides the following:
• Information Sharing: Enables the flow of information between applications within an organization, as well as from outside the organization’s application portfolio.
• Application Interoperability: Resolves interoperability issues between applications using different operating systems, data formats, and languages through standard APIs.
• Process Automation: Streamlines business process execution that includes activities performed in multiple applications. For example, data from a CRM can be integrated with an e-mail marketing platform to deliver targeted messages to customers.
• Data integration: In order to streamline the integration of functions supported by a distributed application environment, data interchanges between applications and systems are guaranteed with error-handling and data recovery mechanisms in place to enforce consistency across data repositories.
• Reduced IT Complexity: Streamlines business processes by combining information and functionality of several applications into a single, easy-to-use interface – thus behaving like a single application.
• Increased Agility: Allows organizations to recognize and respond to opportunities more quickly. It can help address shifts in the market, reputation management issues, supply chain disruptions and more – all from a single interface.
• Robustness, Stability, and Scalability: Highly robust, stable, and scalable integration solutions that filter, transform, and distribute data both internally and with external partners, suppliers, and third-parties.
An EAI/ESB broker provides all message transformation, routing, and other inter-application functionality. All communication between applications must flow through the hub, allowing the hub to maintain data concurrency for the entire network. Overall, the EAI/ESB broker loosens the tightly coupled connections of point-to-point integration. Thus, an application can send a message without any knowledge of the consumer’s location, data requirements, or use for the message – all of this information can be handled by the EAI/ESB implementation. This allows for a more flexible architecture, where new applications and system components can be added and removed as needed by configuring the EAI/ESB broker, where a single service can be re-used by multiple applications.
IT Architects provides a service to develop an Enterprise Application Integration Plan. The plan will include integration definition and design templates, and will be comprised of the following:
- Integration Business Requirements
- Functional Integration Requirements
- Data & Process Architecture for Integration
- Integrated Business Model
- Interface Processing Details (Risks, Quality Criteria, Latency, Complex Logic, etc.)
- Interface Approach & Options
- Integration Gap Analysis & Impact Assessment
- Release Strategy & Plan
- Physical Integration Requirements (includes Physical Interface Design & Integration Testing)
- Interface Sustainment & Support