Application Integration is the implementation of clear and reliable means of linking applications to eliminate what would otherwise be islands of information. Although Application Integration may be achieved through relatively non-technical means such as sending known-format worksheets between business units, each of whom then re-enters or uploads it into their own system –along with hard-if-not--impossible to track typographic errors and omissions!– effective Application Integration relies on both your organization's processes and technology to ensure continual reliability.
Application Integration is best when built on industry-standard technologies such as those which make Web 2.0 a reality: XML, Web Services Description Language (WSDL) and HTTP. Enterprise-focused components based on Message Oriented Middleware, Message Queuing and SQL are essential parts of many larger Application Integration efforts. Finally, most organizations also benefit from leveraging their investments in vendor-originated technologies such as SAP BusinessObjects Data Services, Microsoft's .NET and Oracle's Fusion Middleware for Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA).
By building on the solutions in which you've already invested your organization's capital –not just time and money but your personnel's personal investments to make them successful– you are able to get more than the sum of the parts. Here are just two examples:
Actionable Business Intelligence (BI) depends on effective Application Integration, because reliable BI can only be developed when information from multiple systems is in alignment. It is this alignment that ensures your business leaders are able to make informed decisions reliably and in a timely manner.
Easy access to pre- and post-sales information is an effective means of strengthening your relationships with your customers. Application Integration makes it possible for you to present your customers with near-real-time information on your inventory, their orders, shipment and incident tracking.
Application Integration is always a challenge. Transferring information and functionality between systems requires an in-depth understanding of each of the technologies involved in the process. Finding the appropriate experts is paramount to your success. Failure to do so may… no, will result in additional product defects and product delivery delays.
Therefore, you should turn to the organization that has been successfully delivering Enterprise Application Integration products and services since 1985, long before most of the acronyms you've read here had been coined: Chateaux.