Application integration and data integration are two essential elements in the world of software development, often used interchangeably has a big difference between the two, although they are both generally cloud-based. Application integration helps connect different software applications so that they can share data and information, whereas data integration combines data from various sources into a single view. In this blog, we will explore the differences between application integration and data integration and where they can improve the efficiency of your software development process.
What is application integration?
Application integration involves connecting two or more software applications so that they can share data and information. You can do this via an application programming interface (API) or an integration platform. API-based integration is the most common form of application integration. In this type of integration, each software application exposes an API for the other applications to access its data and functionality. API-based integration can be either synchronous or asynchronous.
- Synchronous API-based integration means that when one application requests another application via an API, it waits for a response before continuing. Real-time applications where data needs to be processed quickly, such as e-commerce or financial applications, use this type of integration.
- Asynchronous API-based integration, on the other hand, means that when one application requests another application via an API, it does not wait for a response before continuing. Applications with offline data processing, such as CRM or ERP applications, use this type of integration type.
Integration platforms are another way to connect two or more software applications. They provide a middleware layer that allows applications to share data and information without requiring each application to expose an API. Integration platforms typically provide a graphical user interface (GUI) that will enable developers to connect applications easily without writing any code.
Integration platforms can connect applications either synchronously or asynchronously. Application integration is a critical part of many business operations. It allows different software applications to share data and information, making businesses more efficient and effective.
What is data integration?
Data integration brings together data from multiple sources into a single repository. It gives businesses a complete picture of their operations, customers, and other essential data points. There are a few different approaches to data integration, but the most common is ETL (extract, transform, load). This process involves extracting data from various sources, transforming it into a consistent format, and loading it into the repository. Another common approach is using middleware. It is software sitting between two systems to facilitate communication between them. It can connect systems that use different protocols or add extra functionality to existing systems.
However, modern-day data integration also requires ensuring that the data is usable, i.e., creating new functional data sets. This usage data is core to optimizing your analytics for improved decision-making, more efficient operations, and opening the door to innovations. Therefore, batch integration and real-time integration combined with automation enable error-free data integration to create new usable data sets. They are fundamental to ensuring that your systems and data work together seamlessly.
Both application and data integrations are vital to an organization, and there are noticeable differences between the two.
Application integration vs. data integration
The main difference between application integration and data integration is that application integration includes the process of connecting two or more applications to share data. In contrast, data integration involves combining data from multiple sources into a single database. Additionally, application integration typically requires some more complex coding and configuration than data integration.
Application integration works in real-time with smaller data sets, so organizations can respond to new information or performance issues even as they occur. It also instantly provides uniform access to the information within the application as it is updated. Typically, application integrations are part of the organization’s DevOps in software development. They help connect various applications to improve workflows, using a custom integration platform or an existing one.
Data integration is generally done in batches after the completion of processes to ensure data quality and remove redundancies. Moreover, data integration deals with large data sets at rest, with the integration occurring after creating new data sets. You will need data integration if you are looking to combine and analyze static data. Moreover, the size of data sets can vary, and you must ensure that the data is consistent and easily accessible for data analytics. You can use data integration capabilities to ensure greater accuracy and gain new insights to streamline your business operations.
Use cases of application integration and data integration
You will need application integration when you collect data from IoT devices for storing and analytics; to synchronize legacy or on-premise applications to cloud-based CRM. You will also use application integration to enhance your workflows with automation between applications.
On the other hand, you will find that data integration is ideal for migrating from multiple data sources to a data warehouse, i.e., integrating data from disparate sources and consolidating them into a single source of truth.
The choice between application integration and data integration will depend on your needs. Both offer automation with artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to further your business. Both have their purpose defined and enable improved data management for the end users. Whichever approach you choose, application and data integration are essential to keeping your business operations running smoothly.