What happens when you have different systems operating on separate platforms that each play an integral role in your business? You become subject to data loss, disjointed information, and misalignments.

The word integration in itself talks about the act of combining one thing with another to form a whole. That meaning applies in the meaning of an app integration workflow process; it means combining and linking up different apps in a workflow together to make a whole system of workflow.

Integration eliminates the need for carrying out any kind of manual assignment considering the fact that in organizations most individual tasks are being handled by different softwares. The whole process allows of course for each app to carry out its individual tasks or roles; but as soon as each app performs its own specific duties, an app integration software like ZapUp steps in to fulfill its own duties, which is simply ensuring that the app that has just concluded its own work is connected to the next app to fulfill the next task in the workflow process and can transfer appropriate data and information relevant to the fulfillment of the next task and the whole workflow for the ultimate goal of workflow process execution.

In the midst of doing all of this, apps like ZapUp employ the use of appropriate triggers and actions. These help the different apps to signal each other as regards when to take over and begin their own operations in the overall workflow.

An App integration software helps to interconnect with all the other apps, software, and even systems in use. More specifically, an app integration application like flow does exactly what the name suggests; I.e it integrates applications together. It connects two apps to automate work.

Application integration can be better understood with the help of this

How Exactly Does App Integration Workflow Process Work?

Although, the whole process is geared towards making different applications combine together and linked up together to automate workflow, the exact mechanism of action or pattern of operation with which these apps make this happen still looks a little blurry. The technology and core processes that make this happen and execute the process in the software itself is quite unclear.

After quite a lot of research, we found out Workflow automation makes use of API (Application Programming Interface) connectors for the purpose of linking up all the various SaaS applications and microservices that organizations use to complete work, and “trigger events” that cue the automation to make the next step in the workflow, to power the flow of information through a business process automatically.

Application programming interfaces are a kind of computing interface that defines interactions between multiple software intermediaries. They literally specify the kind of communication and interactions that occur between the interconnected applications to define the next line of action in the workflow process.

Furthermore, It defines the kinds of calls or requests that can be made between these apps, how to make them, the data formats that should be used in transferring and receiving data, the conventions to follow amongst many other things. It basically defines the mode of operation and communication in the integration process loosely speaking.

APIs allow applications to access data and interact with external software components, operating systems, or microservices. To simplify, an API delivers a user response to a system and sends the system's response back to a user.

The integration workflow process acts by serving as the connectivity that unites the disparate parts in an organization. The following are some of the ways in which it is executed:

1. Making use of APIs: Application integration is typically done with the use of APIs which are simply package of functions or rules that define a particular part or location of an application and thus allow a user to reference and interact with such parts of the application for their own purposes.

APIs are sets of definitions and protocols which allow the different softwares in a workflow to talk and interact with each other using a simple set of commands. Acting as messengers, APIs deliver one application’s request to another and return a response in real-time. It simply exchanges requests and responses between the different softwares. So long as the software has a request or a response for the next software, the API is ever ready to make the transfer. More importantly, it makes the transfer of only authorized requests; I.e there are restrictions on what can be sent or received and the APIs give appropriate replies and responses to signify the success or failure of a transfer while stating the reasons in the case of a failure.

2. Making use of Middleware: Middleware can be characterized as the glue that connects different software platforms and devices together. Without middleware whose architecture is illustrated

app integration

Integration software would rely on tedious amounts of programming and manual intervention (even more so with enterprise application integration).

Middleware is being increasingly leveraged day by day for the purpose of integrating self-sustaining applications with new software updates. Likewise, in application integration in organizations, middleware helps to keep the different apps connected and effectively communicating. It offers a set of general-purpose services that enable applications to work together and prevent systems from duplicating efforts

Using middleware in a program to launch allows for your applications to communicate with each other directly while eliminating the need to manually enter data into each of the applications.

3. Self-made Connections: With the use of an HTTPCaller, it is possible to connect to a URL via HTTP or HTTPS giving you the flexibility to connect to any application of choice via web API. This implies that the different applications and softwares in action can be manually connected using HTTPCallers, the request and responses will also have to be manually specified to ensure that a break in communication won’t occur.

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Levels of Application Integration

Application integration software has four standard levels. These standard levels are not per se levels or stages of operation. Instead, they can be seen as processes that are overlapping technologies that, used together, create a complete application integration solution connecting new applications with existing ones as highlighted in this Tweet By Mas bend

They include:

  1. Presentation-level integration,
  2. Business process integration,
  3. Data integration,
  4. Communications level integration

1. Presentation-level Integration: Presentation-level application integration is also known as “screen scraping” for the practice of using transitional software i.e middleware technologies to collect and organize information. In simpler terms, presentation level integration presents several applications as a single application that has a common user interface (UI) serving as a middleman by using middleware technologies to receive and transfer information amongst all the applications. It involves using middleware technology to collect the information that a user enters into a web page or some other user interface. It helps by serving as a middleman of some sort that helps to collect data and distribute it to other applications that need the data

2. Business Process Integration: For the purposes of faster delivery of goods and services to customers, reduced chances for human error, and lower operational costs, business process integration identifies the essential logical processes required to make the business works and maps them onto the business’ IT assets thus defining how the different individual applications in use will react for the automation of the essential business processes. It connects essential business processes to local and cloud servers. It also helps to connect individual applications, organize and prioritize workflows, and improve efficiency while reducing errors and eliminating roadblocks.

app integration 1

3. Data Integration: This refers to the transfer or exchange of information between applications without which integration isn’t complete, and efficiency, accuracy, and efficacy all suffer. Data integration is achieved by either writing code that enables each application to understand data from other applications in the enterprise or by making use of an intermediate data format that can be interpreted by both sender and receiver applications. Irrespective of the preferred method, access, interpretation, and data transformation are very important in ensuring successful data integration. If an application can’t exchange and understand data from another application, inconsistencies can arise and business processes become less efficient.

4. Communications Level Integration: In actual fact, communication-level integration acts as a method for executing data and business process integration. At some times, it translates that underlying business processes and data integration are communications-level integration. It uses APIs to create go-betweens and ensures every application is receiving information it can understand while transmitting information that’s useful and clear to the other applications. Furthermore, the APIs specify how applications can be called, and connectors that act as intermediaries between applications.

Conclusion

Application integration workflow is very integral to the coordination of all the apps and software in action in any organization. Application integration simply refers to how these various applications in operation maintain communication so they can work closely together and maintain efficiency.

Workflow automation software like ZapUp help to both implement a very efficient workflow process as well as integrate all these applications involved to properly implement the workflow and ensure that applications communicate effectively in support of the overall company goals. The essential processes, tasks, and actions that need to be executed for achieving an aimed goal

In fact, Azuqua States that, "Making apps play nicely together is the only means to cloud application integration’s goal, enabling workflow". In this Tweet

This is implemented by these apps using APIs, middlewares, and self-made connections across the four overlapping levels of integration.

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