Enterprise Application Integration Essay Samples
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Advancement in Information Technology has played a great role in the functioning of any enterprise in the world. Each business grows and develops with respect to a given automation. In earlier days, many businesses used a developed custom automation. However, with rapid development in information technology, many businesses are using packaged applications automation. This has led to development of Enterprise Application Integration (EAI). EAI entails the task of integrating various applications in businesses with an aim of enhancing information sharing and free processing. It involves the creation of quality and efficient business solutions by integrating various applications using middleware and a variety of technologies. EAI was developed by industry system analysts to help information technology businesses to understand and choose the best software that enhances efficiency in integration (Linthicum, 2000).
Various types of EAI applications exist that businesses may adopt in order to improve efficiency in their operations. They include application interface level EAI, user interface level EAI, data level EAI and method level EAI. Application interface level EAI are applications that help in leveraging interfaces that are developed by custom applications. Their main aim in business enterprise is to assist in accessing both simple information and business processes. This type of EAI application allows developers to combine many applications and allow them to share business information. It is applicable in ERP applications like Bann and PeopleSoft (Bernstein and Ruh, 2005).
In addition, user interface level EAI is an application that allows developers and designs to integrate applications using their user interface. On the other hand, Data level EAI is a technology that allows the transfer of data between data stores. Ideally, its work is to obtain information from one database then it processes the information, updates it and transfers to another database. Finally, method level EAI is a technology that allows sharing of business information that exists in an enterprise. This application is able to access methods in any given application.
Factors Driving organizations to the use of EAI applications
The use of EAI has played a great role in improving enterprise system architectures. In the past this architectures were poorly managed with many organizations building their systems using cool technology without information that such systems would help in sharing information. The systems were faulty because many organizations had different types of open and proprietary systems. Each system had its own database, development, operating and network system that were inefficient. Their tireless efforts to correct the issue were in vain until the emergence of EAI that has rectified all this faults (Clark, 2005).
Another driver to adoption of EAI in organizations is the broad acceptance of packaged applications. EAI uses a variety of packaged applications an outstanding example being Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications. These applications are very crucial in helping organizations to address and solve various problems that face heir departments. Organizations have come to realize the need of using EAI applications to interconnect disparate systems. ERP applications have played a great role in helping such organizations to interconnect disparate systems thus promoting efficiency in meeting the needs of their businesses.
With the use of EAI, it has become the order of every organization to successfully design, architect and come up with systems that use EAI technology. However, there are many EAI technologies to apply in business but their applicability differs and are not used anywhere. Therefore, it is important for organizations to focus on understanding the EAI technologies well in order identify the right time when they should use EAI technologies. The degree of efficiency in the use of EAI technologies depends on the ability of an organization to select appropriate technology and applying it well to the problem.
Underlying architecture of an EAI system
EAI system design has several technologies that are integrated. First, it contains a bus or hub made by connecting various middleware products such as application server and message bus. In addition, EAI systems contain an application connectivity that is linked to the hub or bus. The application connectivity is linked to bus or hub via a set of adapters that referred to as connectors. The adapters allow communication into way, notifying the hub when an interesting event occurs in the application and executing all the requests from the hub against the application. EAI applies an application that is independent to data format. This application plays a great role in helping in preventing each adapter from converting data to every other application format. The EAI also contain a data transformation service together with assisting a conversion between common formats and specific application. The adapter helps in handling this issue by converting information from application’s format to a bus’s type of format.
According to Cummins (2002), communication architectures of the EAI consist of four components that are very important for its functionality. The first component is a centralized broker whose work is to handle communication, security and access of information. It is built by integrating servers such as the enterprise service data. In addition, it also contains an independent data model whose basis is on a standard data structure. Furthermore, it contains a connecter that allows each application, interface or vendor to build a single component allow proper communication with centralized broker.
Role of Enterprise Application Integration
The main role of EAI is to allow organizations to combine various applications quickly and easily with an aim of enhancing efficiency in their operations. Through applying EAI technologies successfully, organizations are able to leverage their existing business operations to offer new and advanced products. In addition, it helps organizations to improve services, streamline their operations and develop a strong relationship with customers, suppliers and other stakeholders it offers service.
In addition, EAI plays a great role in making it possible for an organization to streamline interactions in a long-term perspective. Furthermore, integrated EAI infrastructure is a big solution to online services of an organization. Ideally, this is because it allows an organization to go online very faster as compared to when using traditionally developed applications that could take ages before they load online. The reason behind this is that EAI applications consist of well-developed technical infrastructure that enhances efficiency. As a result, EAI applications are very vital in making an organization competitive in the business market it operates.
Moreover, EAI applications are important in creating and developing new strategic business solutions. It does this through integrating the existing applications, new code and commercial packaged applications using a middleware. Middleware is a technology that allows application independent services that function between applications. It also contains software products that help in the implementation of the middleware services. In the past, this software was found inflexible but middleware has come to rescue. It helps enterprises in the integration of applications with minimal complexity. To do this, middleware hides the complexities of a given technology source and target systems. By doing so, it prevents developers from wasting time focusing on low-level network protocols but instead help them to concentrate on sharing information. Besides, the middle ware also uses mechanisms that assist applications to organize business processes efficiently.
Furthermore, EAI applications are also very important in improving customer relationships. Customers are optimistic from the enterprises to which they do business with. As a fact, customers expect quality service from enterprises since they are the reason to why enterprises exist. They expect each department to provide information that is different from each other. This is to mean that if one department provides information to them then their expectation is that the next department should give them different information. As a result, EAI technologies apply in such situations thus helping departments to provide different information depending on their functionality. EAI technologies play a great role in making customers feel the difference in various relationships within a day. They allow organizations to create opportunities of selling additional products and services to customers who had previously traded with the organization that are related to the first transaction. Therefore, EAI applications integrate customer relationship demands thus improving their service.
Moreover, EAI applications assist in improving supply chain relationships of an organization. As a part of enhancing quality customer services, organizations also focus on improving the supply chain relationships. EAI technologies provide this assistance to organizations that need to improve their overall business performance. It does this by allowing smooth flow of information among the supply chain partners of an organization. EAI helps an organization in developing electronic links with its shipping partners. This plays a great role in promoting information sharing thus improving supply chain of an organization.
Besides, EAI technologies are also very important in improving the internal processes of a business. EAI can be used to develop efficient information flow between the departments or the divisions of an organization. Besides, EAI applications are also crucial in providing integrated information that is useful in making business decisions. Furthermore, it is possible for EAI to use provide data useful for analysing market trends, determining the effectiveness of a business strategies and evaluating the performance of an organization within the enterprise framework. Therefore, EAI applications enhance internal processes by mediating the flow of information from one data house to another. In addition, it also does this by supporting data conversion of different types of applications formats to a common format.
Finally, EAI play a great role in reducing the time required to market. It has been a serious problem to information technology organization when it comes to maintaining development of critical applications in a timely manner and within the required budget. However, the development of EAI applications has to come to rescue organizations by minimizing the time to market. EAI does this by improving the functionality of codes for the existing applications. Strengthening of codes make it easier for organization to improve their web hence reducing the time required to market (shelly, 2011).
How EAI has led to B2B integration
EAI applications have played a great role in enhancing the integration of business –to- business transactions. For instance, it has played a role in enhancing information sharing among business partners. Business-to-business transactions involve those transactions that exist between one business and another. An outstanding example of a Business-to-business is a transaction between a manufacturer and a wholesaler. The success of B2B transactions depends on the quality of information shared between the businesses. Ideally, this means that proper information sharing between business leads to quality transactions. As a result, EAI has come to rescue business by providing them with an interface to enhance their communication that improving their transaction performances.
In addition, EAI plays a great role in streamlining the internal processes of an organization. As a result, it has led to growth and development of B2B. For an organization to succeed in B2B transactions then it should have strong internal process. Strong internal process acts as a monitory tool to an organization. This is because they help in assessing the marketing trends of the business and evaluating business operations and performance. This creates a platform for improving business-to-business transactions early in advance. EAI is an important tool in developing strong internal processes crucial for B2B integration.
Furthermore, EAI applications are crucial in developing efficient supply chain systems that are vital for business-to-business transactions. Businesses to business transactions require very efficient supply chain in order to be successful. As a result, EAI plays a very vital role in the integration of B2B through the development of efficient supply chain systems. It does that by developing a good communication platform that allows proper transfer of information among the partners involved. In so doing, EAI applications assist organization to improve their supply chain (Sandhusen, 2008).
Finally, business to business transactions requires good relationship between the businesses involved. The relationship existing between the businesses determine the degree of success in the transactions. EAI technology has ensured this relationship exists between the stakeholders of an organization. This means that the application of EAI technologies by the business that want to be involved in B2B transactions can be very helpful in strengthening their relationship thus enhancing their success in the transaction (Laudon and Traver, 2002).
How web-services are likely to simplify EAI in the future
Web services aim at developing a conducive environment through which various applications can interoperate to enhance efficiency of organizational operations. It is a flexible in that it allows integration of applications using a common protocol to share information. With this in mind, web-services may be of great help in the development functional EAI systems in the future. For EAI to function properly, it is important for organization to ensure that they are well integrated. Web-services play a vital role in integrating various applications effectively thus may assist in development of EAI in the future.
In addition, following the internet communications advancements, the web services assist in paving a clear path for the universal enterprise. The strength of web services to do this lies in their ability to extend applications beyond the boundaries of the existing technologies. As a result, web services may be very important in helping EAI in advancing their functionality by developing their technologies to match with changing business needs.
Furthermore, web services are very crucial in offering easy access and consumption in business enterprise. However, EAI fails to interoperate natively as they should to enhance efficiency in organizations. Ideally, this means that the web services may be crucial in developing sound EAI systems within an organization. This is because web sites have the authenticity and ability to interoperate with no or minimal friction. Application of web services in a business enterprise may very important in enhancing EAI application development. Therefore, integration of web services and other business information technology applications will help in enhancing the development of EAI in future (Gunton, 1988).
The great move by business to use EAI applications is pushed by various factors. Advancement in information technology impels businesses to focus on enhancing competitiveness in business. Proper application EAI technologies in an enterprise may a great role in promoting effectiveness thus improving performance. EAI application in organizations has played a great role in improving customer enterprise relationships. In addition, it has assisted in improving the internal processes of organizations by allowing easy evaluation of business operations, performance and analysing market trends. Furthermore, EAI have assisted organizations on improving their supply chain by enhancing efficiency in information transfer between the organization and its partners. The above-mentioned benefits of EAI technologies have also played a great role in enhancing the integration of business-to-business transactions in the world.
EAI is growing rapidly and thus it is becoming a very important tool in Information technology due to the need to develop business imperatives. However, to ensure proper functionality of the EAI technologies, it is important for business to understand its workability. Proper understanding of EAI helps organizations to make a decision on when it needs to use the technology. Proper integration of the platforms, protocols and data formats is very important in ensuring that the systems work effectively and efficiently.
Bernstein, B., and Ruh, W., 2005. Enterprise integration: The essential guide to integration solutions. Boston: Addison-Wesley.
Clark, B., 2005. Enterprise application integration using .Net. Boston: Addison-Wesley.
Cummins, F.,2002. Enterprise integration an architecture for enterprise application and systems integration. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Gunton, T., 1988. Business information technology: End user focus. New York: Prentice Hall.
Laudon, K.,and Traver, C., 2002. E-commerce: Business, technology, society. Boston: Addison Wesley.
Linthicum, D., 2000. Enterprise application integration. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley.
Sandhusen, R., 2008. Marketing. Hauppauge, N.Y: Barron's Educational Series. p. 520.
Shelly, G.,2011. Systems analysis and design. Boston, MA: Course Technology, Cengage Learning. p. 10.
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