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6 Benefits of Application Integration

Investments in enterprise applications are soaring right now. According to estimates, the application industry will reach a global value of $468. 2 billion by 2027 — which is fueling the growth of a more agile, resilient, data-driven organization. 

But as businesses continue to make these investments, gaps between their expanding array of applications are inhibiting their performance. The only way to get the best out of all these tools is when they work together.  

That’s where application integration comes in.  

 

What is application integration? 

Gartner defines application integration as a process that enables “independently designed applications to work together”, which includes:

- Keeping separate copies of data consistent. 

- Orchestrating the integrated flow of multiple activities performed by disparate applications. 

- Providing access to data and functionality… through what appears to be a single user interface or application service. 

By integrating and orchestrating the people, applications, robots, and information across your organization, you can boost productivity and improve business decision-making.  

Without integration, you have multiple applications running separately creating data siloes. And if that sounds familiar, you’ll recognize the problems this causes: less productive work, human errors, slower decision-making – and the budget you waste trying to solve them all.  

Application integration means all your software solutions can talk to each other, finding insights that you might otherwise miss, and making sure your people have access to crucial, accurate information right when they need to use it.   

 

The benefits of application integration 

1) Collaboration 

To get your teams and departments working together efficiently, they need to communicate easily with each other. But if your applications don’t ‘talk’ to one another, that’s really tough. An application integration solution increases transparency and makes sure all your employees can access data and collated information quickly. This gets rid of the need for duplicated data processing, and instead uses a single, streamlined interface to control multiple business operations. 

2) Process automation  

If you have to use multiple processes and operations to service your clients, with each handling client data and taking decisions manually, you’ll know how slow and frustrating it can be. But application integration opens the path to process automation: building workflows that make decisions automatically with collated datasets, that can be monitored and controlled in a single place.  

3) Simplified IT structures  

Running different applications separately can lead to complicated IT frameworks, which makes operating them inaccessible to less tech-savvy employees. As well as slowing down responsiveness, it also leads to an overreliance on your IT team who then have to spend time just keeping applications running rather than proactively managing and improving your overall IT infrastructure. Integrating applications means you can develop solutions that do what your business needs using simplified IT solutions that are easy for your people to operate and organize.  

4) Opportunities for improvement  

When all your client data is combined and accessible through a single interface, it becomes easier to look for new trends and changes in demand. With application integration, you can quickly spot new opportunities (or upcoming challenges) so you can proactively seize or solve them.  

5) Visibility 

Integrating applications leads to better information management – and that means every area of your business will have better visibility into what’s going on throughout the company as a whole. In the medium to long term, this makes it easier for leaders and managers to make smarter decisions based on the needs of the whole business, not just one area.  

6) Reduced costs 

Maintaining and servicing a whole host of separate applications significantly adds to the cost of running your business. But, with application integration, as well as the widespread efficiency savings you get across your day-to-day work, you’ll also spend less on usage and maintenance.  

 

Types of application integration 

There are a host of different types of application integration to consider — and while there’s too much cover in this article, these include:   

  1. Data-level integration 

  1. Web Services integration (SOAP and REST) 

  1. ECM integration (Enterprise Content Management Systems) 

  1. Connectors integration 

  1. UI/UX integration through Widgets 

  1. RPA integration (UI Path, Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere) 

  1. APIs integration (OData service for external applications) 

  1. OCR integration (Abbyy and Form Recognizer) 

  1. SAP integration 

  1. Excel integration  

 

Application integration in action 

Old Mutual, the wealth management company, wanted to expand its branch footprint from 70 to over 300. One of the big blockers to this growth was the reliance on highly trained and experienced branch service staff who needed to understand over 500 product variations, with over 10,000 product or business rules stored across 11 systems with 1,000 different work types/processes.  

Training staff in all of this took upwards of nine months – a slow and expensive barrier to progress. By using application integration, they were able to develop a standardised front-end platform housing all the complexity in a single system rather than in employees’ heads.  

In doing so, they were able to reduce training from nine months to a mere ten days, clearing the path for far greater customer service and rapid expansion. 

You can read more about how Old Mutual integrated their applications to achieve transformative results here.  

 

Unite your applications with a single low-code solution  

Fully integrating and orchestrating all the software solutions across the operations of your business can lead to incredible time and cost savings, making it easier for your people to do great work and make smarter decisions.  

Bizagi offers an integration layer that lets you integrate existing corporate systems (such as ERP, CRM, core applications and legacy systems) via our low-code automation platform.  

You don’t even have to build the integrations yourself, or rely on third party APIs. You can install Bizagi’s ready-to-use connectors from the Xchange Marketplace. To find out more, take a look at how we make integration easy.   

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