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What is an Enterprise Application Integration (EAI)?

What is an Enterprise Application Integration (EAI)?
09/10/2020

The English term “Enterprise Application Integration” (EAI) is also known as Echanges Inter-applicatifs de Données (inter-application data exchanges) in French. This term refers to an IS architecture that allows the intercommunication of several types of software with each other, and basically manages these various exchanges.

Here we can also talk about managing inter-application flows. Briefly, the middleware software tools used to create these EAI architectures are called EAI software. EAI software allows you to connect to all types of data sources, to extract data, manipulate and structure data, and then deposit it in any other data structure. The execution of these manipulations and the synchronization of data is programmable, and triggered by any type of “event” (meaning an action or occurrence set up to be recognized by the software).

In this era of Big Data, large volumes of data have become the raw material of Information Systems within many companies, and therefore it seems obvious that businesses should take advantage of this data and use it. Indeed, today’s enterprises may want to use data from all of their software infrastructures across parallel tools, while ensuring quality and reliability at all times.

Finally, the goal of an EAI is to collect, route, and synchronize data from different applications. In fact, this avoids directly interfacing the applications with each other, and thus creates a complex and tangled (spaghetti) architecture.

Why perform EAI application restructuring?

Rationalize the application fleet and centralize flows with an EAI

The EAI allows companies to overhaul their entire software organization. This can be considered a mandatory crossing point given the mille-feuille architecture of companies computer systems. Switching to an EAI requires systematically and methodically being able to assess the usefulness and practices of keeping a particular software active within the company. Passing this step allows you to conduct the various mappings required for the integration of a company’s business applications. The EAI thus manages a set of flows that are ultimately centralized.

Valuing historical data

When setting up EAIs and reordering data, it is possible to extract this data in a standard format. Historical data recovered from outdated and/or unused applications can be reconfigured with more recent and valuable data in the company’s database.

Reducing costs through the EAI

Avoid more costs associated with maintaining the data stored in outdated systems. EAIs eliminate the maintenance and licensing fees of obsolete data, which tend to increase steadily with a company’s age. In addition, these savings will allow investment to be regained and put towards other areas. Finally, the EAI allows you to add services to already existing streams without re-mapping them.

Data security

Setting up EAIs helps to isolate sensitive data (for data protection purposes), and thus make it unattainable from external threats is made possible by an EAI’s compliance management tools.

Data harmonization

In a business context of reconciliation and external growth, an EAI will allow the harmonization of data and the management of its archives. It is also a good way to meet regulatory expectations and structure data archiving.

What applications can be connected to EAIs?

There are a significant amount of applications that can be connected to EAIs. The ones that are most often used, and of major importance, are often the ones that communicate least with each other! In this context, it is a matter of identifying priority applications in the company which will communicate with the EAI.

  • In particular, ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning), or IMSs (Integrated Management Software), are at the heart of all industrial companies. Publishers like SAP, Sage or CEGID are already interoperable with EAIs.
  • CRM or Customer Relationship Management and GRC for Gestion de la Relation Client in French. There are many indelibles with EAIs like Sales Force, INES, Microsoft Dynamics, and so on...
  • Some publishers, such as StockIT, are already collaborating on the implementation of EAI for the WMS (or Warehouse Management System) whose objective is the management of storage warehouses.
  • TMS or Transport Management System software manage transport operations. This software is at the heart of all organizations that handle customers/suppliers orders in tight time-restricted flows.
  • EDI or Electronic Data Interchange translators are software that allow information exchanges between two entities, such as trading partners, using standardized messages. These messages can be purchase orders, delivery orders, invoices, etc., Tenor EDI Services has been a major player in EDI for more than 30 years.

What kind of EAI projects exist?

CRM and ERP integration projects

Companies that evolve or change CRM/ERP often find themselves in a situation where recovering and exploiting historical data is extremely complicated, or impossible. Implementing an upstream EAI solution facilitates the migration of information and the evolution of the IS infrastructure. To do so it will be necessary to implement an ETL or ETL Architecture.

Consolidating subsidiary accounts

The most convincing business use for EAIs is the consolidation of existing management systems. Nowadays, groups evolve through external growth, mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs, ... In short, the need to be able to quickly consolidate (marry two heterogeneous management systems together) without embarking on heavy and expensive ERP migrations, is essential. An EAI is the ideal alternative to consolidate your ERP and accounting quickly and efficiently.

Interfaced Web portals

User portals (externally accessible) or extranets (internal private networks) can be a real security headache. Thus, it is vital that they are able to communicate and exchange information with the heart of your IS safely. Into the bargain, these portals and e-commerce sites are made by companies in addition to your management tools, and this creates major security vulnerabilities. An EAI allows data to be safely synchronized between your e-commerce portal, your extranet, your customer portal or supplier, and your ERP management tool.

The EDI Interface

Use the data already available in EDIs to communicate with software such as CRM, ERP, TMS, and so forth ... Also, having an EAI allows you to construct simplified mappings and monitor simplified streams. All the benefits of EAIs lie in the quality of their interfacing and interoperability with multiple software. It is necessary to secure data and track it over time. But also, to ensure the ease of implementation of new services once they are installed.

Check out our DEX 10 offer to launch your EAI project. You can also get close to our experts to identify your needs and qualify what your specifications are. Experts in data flow exchanges for more than 30 years Tenor also accompanies you throughout your EDI and paperless billing/invoicing projects. Contact us to launch your project now.