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Home > Services > Integration > Styles of Integration

Styles of Integration

The term Integration covers a lot of concepts. Therefore we identified a number integration styles, to help clarify our services offering. Styrone Inc has proven experience in each of these styles and can help you realize each integration type that best fits your needs.

 

Application Integration:

This style forms the basis for many EAI solutions, as it ensures enterprise-wide access to information in a timely and reliable fashion. It stands for connectivity between applications, based on reliable messaging as a foundation for routing and transformation processes. This comprises:

  • (Meta) Data definition: to describe the logical and physical formats of various message types which enables data transformation as well as content-based routing.
  • Data transformation: to build messages from inputs of a different type in order to provide target applications with information in a format that they can natively understand; to isolate the source application from any concerns regarding the format requirements of other applications.
  • Data delivery: to transfer data from one application to another, providing reliability, transaction ability, persistence, prioritization, segmentation,...
  • Data routing: to allow the delivery of data from one or more sending applications to one or more receiving applications, based on static rules, dynamic message content, or dynamic subscriptions; it isolates applications from concerns regarding what other applications they need to share information with.
  • Data aggregation & augmentation: to combine content from separate but related messages into one consolidated output, augmented with data from internal or external sources

This style is not concerned with the activities to be performed by the participating applications, but rather provides for a degree of isolation between them. This allows the applications to exchange information without any need to concern themselves with the characteristics of other applications in the system, such as their availability, location, data format, and so on.

Examples of application integration: quote to order transformation, credit verification.

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Process Integration :

This style coordinates and controls activities that may span multiple systems and involve people in a variety of roles. It automates and manages business processes, with the possibility to provide runtime measurements that can assist in improving the process models. Process integration can support long-running transactions and roles-based human activities where the business process can not be automated. The flow of a business event through the process can be modified by external input either by parameters provided when the process is instantiated, or by information retrieved from external data sources, or by human decisions.

An important goal of process integration is to facilitate reuse of the various components in a process flow. This could be the programs implementing work steps or whole sub-processes. It is a common and central feature of process integration middleware that processes can invoke other processes and be invoked by external processes or applications themselves (nested process layers).

Process integration can also be seen as the business logic layer that determines what needs to be done at a given point in a process as opposed to how this gets done, which is typically the task of the application integration layer and, primarily, in the applications themselves. Separating the what from the how allows flexibility, since one can be changed without affecting the other. This, in turn, reduces complexity and increases the agility required to adapt systems to constantly changing business needs. Ideally, process integration gives us an infrastructure where the application modules and their interfaces are well defined and delineated, sub-processes for recurring sequences of activities are available, and the high-level end-to-end processes can easily be put together on top of these building blocks.

Examples of process integration: approval processes, insurance claims processing.

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Extended Enterprise Integration:

This style combines the previous two styles, augmented with cross-company security and encryption, support for automated document (EDI, XML or custom file formats) exchange and tracking, e-standards business processes and trading partner profile management. It is used to replace error-prone manual processing of paper- or fax-based business documents and data, and to reduce the length of this document processing cycle.

Examples of extended enterprise integration: EDI purchase order processing, e-procurement.

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Composite Applications & Portals:

This form of integration enables a business to build and deploy new composite applications that integrate existing assets, such as CRM systems or ERP packages, possibly with new technologies, such as Web services. It also allows to provide a Web services based interface to legacy systems and delivers information drawn from multiple sources in a personalized fashion through diverse channels. This style is used when business applications are not aligned with users' job functions, where the user has to be the "glue" to fill gaps in application functionality, or when there is a lack of access to required information and functionality.

The integration middleware used by this style, is typically represented by J2EE application servers, possibly in combination with Portal technology. The J2EE applications running on these servers can integrate with other applications in a number of ways, such as JMS, JCA, JDBC, or Web services. Whenever an integration solution requires the coding of new functionality - typically involving but not limited to the front end - this style is usually invoked.

Examples of composite applications: customer services representative interface, real-time management reporting.

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