Let me give you the definition of Enterprise Application Integration(EAI) today!
Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) is defined as the uses of software and computer systems architectural principles to integrate a set of enterprise computer applications.
In today’s competitive and dynamic business environment, applications such as Supply Chain Management, Customer Relationship Management, Business Intelligence and Integrated Collaboration environments have become imperative for organizations that need to maintain their competitive advantage. Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) is the process of linking these applications and others in order to realize financial and operational competitive advantages.
When different systems can’t share their data effectively, they create information bottlenecks that require human intervention in the form of decision making or data entry. With a properly deployed EAI architecture, organizations are able to focus most of their efforts on their value-creating core competencies instead of focusing on workflow management.
For generations, systems have been built that have served a single purpose for a single set of users without sufficient thought to integrating these systems into larger systems and multiple applications. EAI is the solution to the unanticipated outcome of generations of development undertaken without a central vision or strategy. The demand of the enterprise is to share data and processes without having to make sweeping changes to the applications or data structures. Only by creating a method of accomplishing this integration can EAI be both functional and cost-effective.
One of the challenges facing modern organizations is giving all their workers complete, transparent and real-time access to information. Many of the legacy applications still in use today were developed using arcane and proprietary technologies, thus creating information silos across departmental lines within organizations. These systems hampered seamless movement of information from one application to the other. EAI, as a discipline, aims to alleviate many of these problems, as well as create new paradigms for truly lean proactive organizations. EAI intends to transcend the simple goal of linking applications, and attempts to enable new and innovative ways of leveraging organizational knowledge to create further competitive advantages for the enterprise.
EAI is a response to decades of creating distributed monolithic, single purpose applications leveraging a hodgepodge of platforms and development approaches. EAI represents the solution to a problem that has existed since applications first moved from central processors. Put briefly, EAI is the “unrestricted sharing of data and business processes among any connected application or data sources in the enterprise.”
Undoubtedly, there are a number of instances of stovepipe systems in an enterprise, such as inventory control systems, sales automation systems, general ledger systems, and human resource systems. These systems typically were custom-built with specific needs in mind, utilizing the technology-of-the-day. Many used non-standard data storage and application development technology.