As a company expands and adopts a growing number of applications, the importance of syncing business data becomes increasingly apparent.
Applications can be integrated through various approaches, including custom code, Point-2-Point, and cloud-based middleware (iPaaS – integration platform-as-a-service) like the Celigo platform. In this article, we will explore the best practices to adopt when using an iPaaS.
In addition to the prebuilt connectors and other components that an iPaaS provides to facilitate and standardize common integration patterns, you will benefit from following time-tested best practices to ensure successful integrations, as described below.
Define clear integration goals and objectives
Before starting an integration project, it’s crucial to define clear goals and objectives:
- List the applications to be integrated
- Identify the data to be exchanged
- Analyze the processes to be automated
Having a clear understanding of the project’s scope and objectives will ensure that the integration project stays on track and meets the organization’s needs. One great way to capture these details is by leveraging use cases.
Choose the right patterns
For each integration, try to benefit from the experience of Celigo and its customers by identifying a known integration pattern. Likely, a similar pattern is well suited to address your business needs, considering both functional and nonfunctional requirements.
Remember the “stateless” rule
An iPaaS is stateless, meaning it does not store any state information about previous transactions or messages (aside from providing message tracking and error-handling capabilities), thus ensuring that each message is processed independently.
This stateless architecture allows an iPaaS to scale dynamically and handle large volumes of data without any performance issues. An iPaaS, simply put, is built for speed in delivering content from one system to another and ensuring data accuracy and consistency, even in the event of network or system failures.
With this design principle in mind, you should avoid storing large quantities of data in middleware. If you intend to process the data further before sending it on to the target system, instead store it in a database or data warehouse for the best performance.
Test and monitor integrations
Before deploying integrations to production, it’s essential to fully test the integration components, data mapping, and workflows. Testing can help identify and resolve issues before they become problems in production.
iPaaS providers often offer separate “sandbox” environments that allow you to test your integrations in before deploying them to production. Once deployed, it’s important to monitor integrations regularly to ensure that they’re functioning as expected.
Use data analytics
Integration metrics and analytics can provide valuable insights into how integrated applications are performing. By analyzing data flows, you can identify bottlenecks, performance issues, and other problems that affect an integration’s overall performance.
Analytics can also help you identify opportunities to optimize your integrations further.
Implement Integration Lifecycle Management (ILM)
Integration projects are never complete, requiring continuous maintenance, updates, and enhancements to support evolving business needs and API updates.
Lifecycle management helps throughout the integration lifecycle, including design, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance. ILM involves creating processes and procedures to manage changes to the integration – offering rollback and displaying visual differences – to ensure that development is made in a controlled and consistent manner.
Embrace agile methodologies
Agile methodologies such as Scrum and Kanban can help you manage your integration projects more effectively. Agile provides a framework for collaboration, continuous improvement, and rapid iteration, which can help you respond more quickly to changing business needs. Agile also emphasizes customer value, which can help ensure that integrations meet your needs and deliver value in a useful timeframe.
In summary, application integration is essential for modern businesses, and using an iPaaS is an excellent option for organizations looking for a scalable, cost-effective, and standardized integration solution. By following these best practices, you can ensure the success of your integration projects and maximize the value of the applications within your technology landscape.