The advancement of technology has revolutionized the way businesses use any software. Today, domestic software development has become passé as an increasing number of businesses favor specialized solutions such as ERP, SCM, CRM, and ECM; that doesn’t involve coding and can easily be customized.
However, integrating an enterprise application is not easy. Enterprise application integration (EAI) implementation needs significant time, effort and is complex to build. According to a report by ebizQ, nearly 70% of the EAI projects fail, due to management issues.
So, let’s take a look at several enterprise application integration best practices you should follow to ensure a successful integration:
- Create a Post-Project Investment Stream
One of the biggest barriers of EAI is changing business needs. “EAI implementations are very fluid; they change frequently, require changes in different components and what's more, they spread across businesses and even across value chains into different companies as a business process integrated all the way through from start to end.” said Mr. Steve Craggs, Chairman of Integration Consortium European.
Companies usually create budgets at the end of a particular project. This isn't right since load requirements and service levels may increase after deployment. So, an ideal solution would be to create a post-project investment stream that allows for more than just basic maintenance.
- Incorporate a Competence Center
EAI has a business-critical, real-time nature and controlling it can be very challenging. It may negatively impact service levels throughout and beyond the enterprise. “It really requires a whole set of disciplines, tools and procedures to be built up to deal with things such as capacity management and load balancing, security, change management and monitoring. The business analyst is the one defining the flows, but the IT people are the ones responsible for the actual execution.”
Most of the businesses find the best solution is to establish EAI administrators in line with the database administrator who interacts with both IT and business. Although this is a solution, it is only a partial one. Companies need to streamline the reporting system, such as who reports to whom. To ensure a smooth and well-structured system, competence centers should be implemented as well.
- Keep All Kinds of Records Handy
Once integrated, you may find a lot of information is unimportant. However, this information may prove to be very useful and crucial when the EAI system expands. For example, operational requirements may differ when a business goes beyond the project development stage. Therefore, it is advisable to maintain all kinds of records, such as the records of definitions, interfaces, flows, structures, and gathering statistics.
- Increase the Number of Information Systems only When Needed
Development and maintenance are the two most challenging parts of application integration. They require additional efforts and increase the complexity of the enterprise system. It is thus highly recommended that businesses increase the number of information systems only when there is a critical requirement to do so, otherwise taking up unnecessary complexity can set the stage for future errors.
- Refrain from Implementing Unnecessary Features
The cost and complexity of EAI increases when real-time integration and other unnecessary features are implemented. Businesses should focus on making the integration project ready to go into production within a realistic time frame, which will ultimately help generate a positive return on investment (ROI). So, it is advisable that businesses do not implement real-time integration or any other features unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Identify Restrictions and Conditions
It is important to identify the restrictions and conditions associated with an application-integration solution before the requirements can be defined. To avoid business-case problems that often accompany EAI projects, businesses should make a distinction between strategic and project specific restrictions and conditions.
This way, when selecting an application-integration solution, long-term goals of the organization can also be taken into consideration.