Data integration and application integration are two concepts that are very different from each other. Yet, they both pose a significant challenge for every organization as they require different approaches. But before looking into potential solutions, let’s understand the concepts.
Every organization manages tons of data obtained in diverse formats from various sources. This data is all scattered, which makes it difficult for the various departments of the organization to use it in a unified way. As such, there is a need to store them in a centralized system (“data warehouse”) which can be accessed by all users from their individual systems. This centralization process, known as data integration, helps break down data silos and improves communication, productivity as well as decision-making at all levels of the organization.
Likewise, all organizations dream of being able to manage their activities and processes through a single system or software. Unfortunately, the reality is something else as each application is generally dedicated to a narrow set of tasks. This forces organizations to use a variety of applications which are more or less compatible. The good news is that it is possible to bridge these applications and enable them to talk to each other seamlessly. This process, called application integration, helps create a network that allows you to enter data from any application. The data thus entered is then automatically routed to other appropriate systems. As all this happens without any manual intervention, there is no longer any need for multiple entries for the same data, which often lead to errors and waste of time.
But how can these integration processes be achieved?
FME – A tried-and-tested solution
The FME platform has long been recognized for its capacity in processing CAD and spatial data. Using the ETL approach (Extract, Transform, Load), FME supports more than 450 applications and data formats (spatial and non-spatial), to connect and process a large variety of data in a single system. There is no need to worry about the requirements of each application or system since the data models are already integrated in FME.
In addition, with more than 500 transformers, FME allows you to process your data as required to improve and export it to other systems or end users.
Though it is more widely recognized as a data integration tool, FME is also used to integrate systems and applications. In this latter case, the connections are established with programming interfaces (API)* specific to each application. There are, in fact, several options for connecting the applications to each other, either by using already programmed connectors or by developing your own connector for specific cases.
While it is possible to integrate applications with just the desktop version of FME, the use of the FME Server version allows you better to manage the processing sequence and execution in a corporate IT environment. In fact, you can define precisely when your processes should be launched, and even assign them triggers such as the arrival of an email, the transfer of data to a specific directory or the modification of a file.
Whether you are looking to integrate a multitude of disparate data into a centralized database or to build bridges between your systems and applications, FME is a solution to consider because it is versatile and proven, especially if you’re dealing with CAD and spatial data.
* An API is a set of rules and protocols that guide interaction with an application or system.
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