Deploy Application Integration Services to Ensure Smooth-Running Operations

It most often occurs during a merger or acquisition, but other events can also create the need to deploy application integration services. The root issue is the integration, which intends to introduce and integrate disparate software applications within a newly-formed or recently-modified organization. Regardless of the reason for performing such an action, the final results are certain to maximize the performance and potential of the change which initiated the process of application integration services. Often, this involves integrating new cloud applications with existing (and essential) legacy software to fully modernize operations and optimize data collection and analysis methodologies.



As technologies continue evolving, demands for fluid connectivity between different applications, various departments, and varying levels of skill and expertise amongst employees will only become greater. This points to an ever-growing need for digital transformation (currently 1/3 of companies have undergone a digital transformation while another 34% intend to deploy a digital transformation strategy within the next year); it's further estimated that a full 40% of future technology spending (approximately $2 trillion as of 2019) will be focused on digital transformation strategies. And with more businesses trending towards digitally-driven data and strategies, application integration services will play ever greater roles supporting businesses in attaining their goals by leveraging their technological tools and integrating seemingly disparate information and services to work in tandem for optimal results.

Events Which Trigger the Need for Application Integration Services

As already mentioned, various events can trigger the need to perform application integration services. Although the reasons for deploying application integration services vary, the end results are generally the same: upgrading software operations to better reflect current demands and potentials. It serves you well to better understand how certain events will generate such a need, so an explanation of each potential event follows.


Acquisitions and Mergers


Perhaps the most obvious, but not always the most common, acquisitions and mergers are events which almost always call for the deployment of application integration services. Often, overlapping data needs to be successfully and accurately integrated to ensure that operations continue without missing a beat, but more importantly also take full advantage of the reasons for which the acquisition or merger took place.


Business Evolution


As the economic landscape and technology evolves, so too must businesses to remain relevant in the long game. The idea of a static business serving fixed needs simply does not make the grade in this swiftly changing world of commerce; hence, the insistence upon managing the ongoing evolution and growth of business acumen and outreach, which ensures that the existing system never falls short of changing business requirements.


Cross-Discipline Collaboration


Granted, most enterprises have multiple and distinct departments, but this should not result in a sharing and collaboration shortage. On the contrary, different divisions are aggregating different types and forms of information, which, upon sharing across the broad expanse of business operations, may reveal new opportunities and solutions which otherwise would be overlooked in daily operations.


Feature Set Expansion


Target audiences are not static; neither should the platforms you utilize to connect with an ever-expanding marketplace and specific demographic profiles be static or limited. Application integration services are perfectly poised to take advantage of newly-emerging platforms, giving business owners a significant and profitable boost of market share and consumer recognition.


Internal Business Realignment


Natural business growth is rarely orderly, which means that as your firm grows, so does its complexities. That is unless the proper awareness and attention is provided which allows disparate information from various departments to meet, greet, and integrate with each other. Performing internal business realignment should not be a one-off event, but be instead a regular, ongoing function of internal business practices.

An Overview of Application Integration Services

Business should be simple, but as operations grow and evolve, simplicity often takes a back seat to accommodate a variety of applications which have some relevance to other applications but no immediate pathway for communicating such valuable connections. Unfortunately, this slowly evolving situation typically results in a potpourri of loosely related applications all vying for the attention of different specialists and divisions within the organization.



Hence, the need for application integration services to better manage and develop communications between different software applications and packages. Thanks to its diversity and flexibility, application integration services can achieve the following:



  • Allow onsite and cloud computing to remain on the same virtual pages

  • Develop accessibility which accommodates the needs and devices of different users,

  • Facilitate older and newer applications in sharing key information

  • Oversee digital transformation (with minimal glitches and hiccups along the way)


The above benefits will lead to significant improvements in current performance, productivity, and profitability, and that is merely the beginning of what effective and professional application integration services can accomplish.

The Four Standard Levels of Application Integration

When it comes to enabling different individual applications to work together, application integration is the only true path to accomplish that goal. As you perform application integration services, it is soon revealed that most applications fit into one of four major categories; realizing this interrelationship makes application integration services much more effective and logical, resulting in true and fuller integrations of seemingly unique applications. Do keep in mind though that, like most aspects of business, no department is an island which operates in its own realm; rather, most technologies, even when falling into one of four general categories, will have overlapping technologies which can aid other departments and divisions.



By envisioning operations as various entities connected to the larger and greater whole of the business, each department is provided with the necessary tools and utilities to keep it running optimally, while also developing crucial and clear windows which offers glimpses into every other facet of business operations.



The four standard levels of application integration can be identified as follows:


Business Process Integration


In today's fast-changing and technology-driven business culture, the synchronization of different internal operations with other internal divisions and external partners and colleagues allows for complete automation of business processes, including management, operational, and support processes.


Communications-Level Integration


It seems as if each year delivers yet another method of communicating within an organization and with pertinent outside players; no one style of communication will dominate the airwaves, but being able to stay on top and ahead of newly-emerging communication applications and devices is an ongoing task for those organizations who understand the importance of communication at various levels of depth and intimacy.


Data Integration


If data is king, then consider the merging of data from two organizations as similar to the marriage of two powerful kingdoms which forms an even stronger new realm of rule and domination. This makes data integration an especially important and pertinent candidate for application integration services, with the goal of consolidating and connecting various databases into one working and functional resource point, with full and clear communication possible between all resources and data banks.


Presentation-Level Integration


All too often, new applications are acquired and put into use over time; this can result in a conglomeration of valuable apps unable to share important information with each other. This situation is one of the original reasons that application integration services arose; it was sometimes referred to as "screen scraping" due to the practice of employing transitional software (sometimes called middleware technologies) capable of collecting and organizing information from multiple applications.

Applications: Top Candidates for Integration Services

Where does one begin the process of application integration services? It should come as no surprise that most applications in use within an organization are obvious candidates for this important process, but especially those listed and explained in further detail below.


Business Process Management


In the midst of daily operations, it's not easy or natural to also assess and modify business processes, but this fact does not mean that gaining greater understanding and control over business processes can be ignored. Especially during major changes, such as a merger, acquisition, realignment, or evolutionary business leap, knowing how such changes are impacting the typical business processes is essential to remaining on track and to potentially make significant improvements in ongoing operations. Through proper performance of application integration services focusing on business process management, any new changes being integrated within your operations are clearly revealed, along with recommendations for the smoothest transition to new or modified business processes.


Customer Relationship Management


Without a customer base, there is no business, which is why managing customer relationships is key to continued growth and deepening loyalties among your client base. In the event of an acquisition or merger, integrating customer records is not only essential in retaining as many customers as possible, but such an action may reveal more opportunities opening up where clients can take full advantage of new or upgraded features and benefits. By capturing and attending to as many existing customers as possible, client attrition can be reduced or even eliminated through professional and authentic customer relationship management; this is precisely what occurs when application integration services are used to deepen and strengthen customer relations.


Database


The demand for multiple databases is a natural business need. Different divisions are seeking different kinds of data for various reasons and purposes, but such diverse data collection should also be aggregated to reveal more possibilities, identify inefficiencies, and tweak performance levels of the workforce through accurate and intelligent data analysis. Working with multiple databases which are all managing similar content and information is not only inefficient, but can lead to misinformation and incorrect strategies when overlapping data sources are viewed as independent and unrelated to other sources. By initiating effective and professional application integration, you can ensure that your databases are accurate, do not contain duplicate information, and deliver relevant and actionable strategies which make the best use of your valuable data. Most importantly, such an action creates true and clear communication between apps and users.


Enterprise Resource Planning


One of the larger challenges faced when dealing with mergers or acquisitions is the proper and effective integration of multiple enterprise resource planning suites. When enterprise resource planning management involves coordinating and merging two or more suites of business applications into one fully-functional suite which covers all new and modified aspects of business operations, performing application integration services as it relates to enterprise resource planning should be high on the list of actions to be taken.


Productivity Software


When it comes to word processors, spreadsheets, graphics, and other productivity software, it seems as if there are almost as many packages as there are users. Certainly, no one these days should perform acrobatics in learning new productivity software, since there are more ways to compose a letter or make a graphic than you can imagine. However, thanks to this vast variety of user choices, there is an even greater demand to make certain that information contained in any format (text, graphic, video, sound, etc.) can be accessed and relevantly used by other users, outside partners, or end consumers. This is another area where regular assessment of needs determines when application integration services can be used to better manage and connect productivity software.


Project Management


Viewing business operations from afar, one perspective seen is that of a patchwork of projects constantly in process. Some projects involve an individual, while others may involve teams or entire departments. Project management software is the best way of managing ongoing projects with shifting priorities and deadlines, capable of providing overviews of progress and sounding alarms or delivering alerts when something falls between a crack. It's not unusual for different divisions to use different project management software, but being able to bring it all together into one clear picture can be done through effective application integration services.


Resource Management


When it comes to corporate resources, there are different animals to consider, ranging from the skill sets of individual employees to the use of productivity software; the proper pre-planning, scheduling and allocating of resources results in higher productivity, improved efficiencies, and fuller use of the resources on hand. This is an area requiring continuing attention and oversight, as needs and demands will change to satisfy consumer preferences, new technologies will be adopted, and resources themselves can evolve or expand to keep pace with business goals and targets.


Time Management Software


Nowhere is the adage "time is money" more true than in your own enterprise; the more effective time is managed, the more revenues which can be generated, resulting in noticeable and strong bottom line improvements. When situations arise which result in more than one time management system in operation, this can create conflicts in scheduling and managing the time of your valuable workforce. Consequently, using application integration services to fully integrate various time management software applications eliminates this potential pitfall.



As you can see, application integration services can be performed for multiple reasons and at various times, not just when major events calling for reorganization comes into play. Through effective use of application integration services, you can ensure your business remains relevant, current, and poised to take advantage of the many changes we experience through the process of performing our business. As you will soon learn, this is not a one-off process, but should be performed regularly to ensure smooth-running operations as the needs of the organization regularly evolves and matures.