At the core of the idea of software integration is the effort to create a connection between various software subsystems used for particular business operations, so they can run as one combined unit. But how is this achieved?
What does software integration look like on a random Tuesday? The practical manifestation of this is what can be called a software integration service.
How can we define a software integration service?
To put it more clearly, a software integration service can be looked at as an activity performed along with the deployment of tools whether physical or virtual, to enable different applications to collaborate more smoothly.
Depending on the complexity of an organization’s software systems and the unique desired result, software integration services can come in different forms.
Examples of software integration services
Some of the common software integration services out there include data integration services, enterprise application integration and designing service-oriented architecture. Let’s paint a more detailed picture of what is involved in some of these:
Data Integration Services
These often involve the use of techniques such as automation to merge data in different applications and of varying file formats, and also combining Database Management Systems (DBMS).
This must also be carried out while ensuring the integrity of the data as it is transferred.
The objective is to bring together any related business processes such as the awarding of discounts or points in loyalty programs, email communication with participants and the overall budgeting for marketing and promotional activities.
During data integration, it is important to understand how to handle different business logic schemas, follow ETL best practices and reliable version control procedures.
This involves the designing of an operational blueprint and putting in place instructions/order in which technical tasks will be carried out, and also how data will be accessed when using the same logic interface.
The ideal Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) allows for interoperability between web services, reusing integrated systems and system independence.
Enterprise Application Integrations
The solutions delivered here facilitate communication between platforms that are crucial to conducting business. These may include but aren’t limited to accounting, content management, customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, digital marketing, and reporting and analytics.
Depending on the level of customization you feel is needed to run your business’ software systems effectively, there are a number of secondary services, some of which may fall under the scope of what is mentioned above. Others could be a bit more unique and play minor supporting roles.
These can include bi-directional data transfer, upstream and downstream communication, event pattern publishing/event-driven responses etc.
Others include real-time maps, ephemeral chat and encrypted messaging, and live collaboration within applications, allowing for instant traceable changes to documents by numerous users.
Sourcing software integration services
It is not uncommon to find that many software integration services, for one reason or another, intersect to an extent.
This means that it is probably better to source these services from a singular solutions provider who can carry out the integration while considering the relationship between every aspect of your systems.
They can also provide continued support through their engineers/specialists when it comes to architectural design, testing and ultimately, execution.