Automation Consultants has substantial experience in integrating applications from different vendors, both with purpose-built integration tools such as those by our partner Tasktop and with custom integration utilities.
Integrations with Tasktop typically involve two or more best-of-breed applications by different vendors. Examples of integrations performed by AC with Tasktop products involve:
Custom integrations can include writing utilities to access different applications through their APIs. Integrations can be real-time, periodic synchronisations or batch synchronisations. They typically run in the background as services or daemons, but in some cases have a GUI.
The technologies used to access the linked applications include HTTP(S) (especially for web services), direct database access and remote procedure calls with object oriented languages. HTTP(S) has been the most common method for a number of years.
Integration is conceptually straightforward, but complexities can arise when changes to the data are rapid and frequent, or if multiple parallel processes can change the data to be synchronised. Here it may be necessary to implement a locking mechanism to ensure only one change to a piece of data at a single time. If an update of a system’s data fails, perhaps because the record in the target system was deleted before the update could be made, the integration tool needs to be able to handle errors gracefully, and report on them. This enables any errors to be corrected manually if need be, or at least to be recorded to meet compliance deadlines and requirements.
Examples of custom integrations by AC include
- Automated creation of issues in Jira based on incoming emails.
- Integration of Blackberry usage system with incoming invoices from Blackberry.
- Real time integration of two mobile phone companies’ billing systems, one a provider of phone services to users but without a network, the other the underlying network provider. AC developed a tool to transfer customer update information to the network provider. The data transferred consisted of data such as new addresses and bill payments (although not the bill detail).
If you have a requirement to integrate two or more different applications, and there is no out-of-the box solution, contact AC for a consultation.