What is enterprise application integration?

Enterprise application integration (EAI) encompasses the technologies and processes that facilitate the automated exchange of information between enterprise applications. Different departments in a large enterprise use different applications for tasks like payroll management, enterprise resource planning, and customer relationship management. It can result in data silos as different applications capture different data aspects of the same entity. Enterprise application integration supports data synchronization so organizations can automate business processes and enhance productivity. Data flows freely between applications without making significant database or application code changes.

Why is enterprise application integration important?

Enterprise application integration is vital for organizations due to the complexity of modern digital architecture. It gives businesses a competitive edge for the following reasons.

Removes data silos

EAI tackles the issue of data silos that emerge when different departments or systems in an organization operate independently without communication or data exchange. Instead of isolated information stores, data flows freely across systems, ensuring that all organizational units have a consistent and unified view of business data for comprehensive analysis.

Creates process efficiencies

Many business processes in an organization involve multiple disparate systems. For example, a finance system processes payments, while a supply chain management system places product orders and tracks shipping and delivery. When systems don’t communicate, data transfers and duplicated efforts diminish productivity, waste resources and time, and increase the chance of data errors. EAI automates data exchange and allows systems to communicate—for fast, smooth, and error-free operations.

Reduces IT expenditure

Maintaining multiple stand-alone applications can be expensive in terms of licensing, support, and infrastructure. EAI can reduce costs by providing a unified framework that uses existing infrastructure. Organizations can maximize the value of their current systems without incurring additional expenses.

Provides real-time data access

Modern businesses require real-time data to make timely and informed decisions. EAI allows applications to exchange data so that changes in one application are instantaneously shared across all integrated systems. It provides stakeholders with the most current information for timely decision-making.

Enhances customer experience

By integrating systems like CRM, sales, and support, businesses can provide a consistent customer experience across multiple channels. EAI ensures that customer information is available and up-to-date across all touchpoints. Businesses understand their customers better and can offer personalized experiences, leading to higher satisfaction and loyalty.

What are the use cases of enterprise application integration?

Enterprise application integration seeks to simplify complex digital architecture and increases business agility. It connects disparate systems to increase collaboration. Integration allows many services, tools, and systems to work together to efficiently complete operational tasks. The following are some examples.

Order processing

You can use enterprise application integration to connect e-commerce, inventory, and CRM platforms. Consider when a customer places an order—with an EAI system in place, the stock available data changes automatically, order details are transferred to the dispatch center, and customers get notifications throughout the process.

Marketing automation

You can use EAI to connect marketing services into one central hub. You can integrate both the creative and financial side of marketing to ensure a high level of data availability and efficiency. As an extra benefit, you can automate the payment of marketing services and transfer invoices directly to your financial records.

Project management

EAI tools can connect your human resource and project management systems. You can schedule projects, assign responsibilities, track task progress, and include financial reporting modules in one place. EAI is useful for simplifying complex management architecture.

How does enterprise application integration work?

EAI technology uses business rules to combine multiple applications and streamline workflows. Technically, you can approach enterprise application integration system design as follows.


Point-to-point integration is an early form of EAI that creates connections between two endpoints. It extracts data from one application and moves it to another. If necessary, you can transform the data during the transfer process to ensure both endpoints can use it.

Point-to-point connections are not scalable because of the need to directly connect every application pair that needs to share data. For example, with 10 applications, developers have to maintain 45 unique connections between each application. However, they work well with smaller systems. 

Hub-and-spoke integration

A hub-and-spoke model of integration acts as a central hub that distributes data to many connected applications. All applications can send information to the hub, which then transforms, reinterprets, and sends data to other applications. 

As a communal system, a hub-and-spoke integration provides a high degree of visibility and management efficiency. It eliminates the need for point-to-point dependencies, significantly reducing the number of connections required. For example, with 10 applications, only 10 connections (spokes) would be needed. However, while this model reduces complexity, it introduces a single point of failure. If the hub encounters issues, it could disrupt the functioning of all integrated applications.

Service-oriented architecture

Service-oriented architecture (SOA) focuses on making software components as reusable as possible. It decomposes business processes into individual services with standard interfaces that abstract underlying functionality and allow software components to interact. The main components in SOA architecture are:

  • Services.
  • Service registry where services are listed.
  • Enterprise service bus (ESB) which facilitates communication between services. 

The ESB acts as a middleware framework that handles routing, transformation, and various communication tasks. It provides capabilities to connect, mediate, and control interactions between different services. All SOA implementations don't use ESB, but an ESB can be incredibly beneficial in complex systems where many services need to interact in a flexible, scalable, and maintainable manner.

SOA offers greater flexibility than the hub and spoke model. You can couple, uncouple, and recouple services as business requirements change. However, it requires a disciplined approach to service definition and governance. 

Microservices architecture

Microservices is another flexible architecture that extends SOA by reducing service dependencies even further. In a typical SOA, an individual service might encompass multiple business functionalities or domains that serve broad purposes for different consumers. Services also share databases and other resources, making them less flexible and harder to scale individually.

In contrast, microservices break down the application into the smallest autonomous components. Each microservice has its own database and state so it can be developed, deployed, scaled, and maintained independently. Microservices also communicate directly with others using APIs and standard protocols, eliminating the need for service bus integration.

Microservices are critical for designing cloud-native solutions that maximize the benefits of moving enterprise systems to the cloud. However, they require additional tools and skills to implement—capabilities that all organizations may not have.

What are the key considerations in enterprise application integration?

The following are core considerations you should make when creating an EAI system.


You need to ensure data governance in your EAI systems as data moves across your architectural model. A comprehensive security strategy covers all integration aspects, from communication endpoints to network and data storage. For example, you can implement robust authentication and authorization mechanisms to ensure that only authorized users and systems can access and perform data operations. Data encryption at rest and transit is a must to meet regulatory compliance standards.


Scalability in EAI implementation refers to the ability to handle increasing volumes of data and transactions without performance degradation. It is important to consider the scalability of every component within your EAI system to prevent bottlenecks. Developers plan for horizontal scaling (adding more server nodes) and vertical scaling (adding resources like CPU or memory to existing nodes) so EAI solutions can distribute load effectively. Cloud-based integration offers elastic scalability, so the system can dynamically adjust resources based on demand.


Usability in the context of EAI is about how easily business users, IT staff, and developers can manage and operate the integration. A user-friendly interface reduces the complexity and technical barriers for business users. Similarly, straightforward APIs, comprehensive documentation, and development tools support developer use. It is also important to provide training and support to ensure the full capabilities of the integrated applications are used.


The diverse nature of business applications, data integration formats, and system integration requirements add complexity to EAI. Proper architectural design, modularity, and loose coupling significantly reduce complexity. Additionally, adopting middle-layer components like API gateways creates consistency and predictability in interactions between different systems.

How can AWS help with your enterprise application integration requirements?

Application integration on AWS is a suite of services that enable communication between decoupled components within microservices, distributed systems, and serverless applications. You don’t need to refactor your entire architecture to benefit—decoupling applications at any scale can reduce the impact of changes, making it easier to update and faster to release new features. For example:

  • Amazon API Gateway allows developers to create, publish, monitor, and secure APIs for application integration.
  • Amazon AppFlow is a no-code integration platform designed for communications between SaaS and AWS services.
  • AWS AppSync helps developers create an API to access, edit, and combine data across multiple data sources.
  • Amazon EventBridge allows developers to build a managed enterprise service bus for event-driven architectures.
  • Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) is a high-throughput publish and subscribe messaging service for application-to-application integration (A2A).

The AWS Enterprise Transformation Program supports organizations in leveraging Amazon mechanisms, learnings, and working methods to drive faster integration. We work alongside your staff for experiential learning to better implement change and training.

Get started with enterprise application integration on AWS by creating a free account today.

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