The 2015 survey conducted by RightScale revealed a steady growth of enterprise cloud adoption. With over 93% of US companies using business applications, the future of IT vendors who provide enterprise application integration services has never looked so bright. What is EAI and how can it possibly alter the way companies operated for decades?
The enterprise application integration concept
EAI solutions fill the gap between numerous computer programs implemented by a company and help employees manage data via simple interfaces.
The major goal of software integration is to effectively use the data generated by various departments.
Among the apps subject to EAI one should name customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM), human resources, business intelligence and e-commerce systems. As a rule, these programs fall into the software-as-a-service (SaaS) category. According to Gartner, 75% of all the companies which provide IT-related services simultaneously use at least 6 (!) different applications.
An example of successful business software integration comes from Aeroflot. Russia’s leading carrier experienced a rapid growth of daily flights and addressed a promising IT company to develop a comprehensive crew notification solution. The program which distributes and monitors personal tasks in accordance with the flight schedule was then incorporated into the Aeroflot call center portal – to positive reviews from both crew members and customers.
There are three approaches towards software integration:
- Point-to-point. Business apps are connected to each other via one link. Such EAI systems are easy to build, though their scalability is limited;
- Databases and applications are connected with a separate engine which receives and manages notifications from numerous channels;
- ESB solutions. An enterprise service bus system is a multilayer solution for IT companies that use several complex business apps. The system distributes data processing operations between other parts of the network.
The choice of EAI method depends on a company’s goals and the complexity of its IT infrastructure.
The enterprise application integration benefits
- Improved data sharing and management. EAI enhances interoperability between various departments of a company. For the US automotive industry, interoperability flaws yield $ 1 billion losses. An agile enterprise software integration solution allows access to all the information collected by business apps, eliminating data processing and retrieval tasks;
- Workflow automation. For example, you can use CRM customer data to launch an email marketing campaign and automatically build reports to evaluate its efficiency. On the whole, the EAI platform enhances business processes and increases transparency of financial flows;
- Flexible IT infrastructure. Software integration allows businesses to easily expand IT facilities and timely respond to the growing customers’ expectations.
EAI offers multiple financial benefits for logistics and transportation companies, banks, network providers and retail organizations. However, enterprise application development and integration requires great expertise in coding and security protocols implementation. The fact that 66% of enterprises store only one fifth of their data off-premises shows a considerable lack of trust in both cloud and EAI solutions. And it’s the EAI vendors’ task to battle the prejudice.