Integration 101

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The amount of data and number of business systems data is stored in make getting a unified view on information a real challenge. But without proper integration, your data is as good as lost.

Businesses have constantly been trying to produce the perfect mix of business systems to fulfill their data storage, protection and analysis needs. They have deployed diverse and distinctive business systems to store their business critical data, which has ultimately led to building disparate and isolated data siloes. We like to have our customer data stored in a CRM solution, or contacts and emails on an Exchange server, often under multiple accounts, our documents in SharePoint, our marketing plans in Trello, our files in Box, etc. But what can you do if you need to an at-a-glance overview of your data or update all the related records in multiple systems at one go?

The API conundrum

What is an API and why should I care?

Because APIs are the key to your peace of mind. Generally speaking, an API (or application programming interface) is a set of subroutines, tools and protocols used to build software applications. They are a sort of building blocks to be put together by developers, thus greatly simplifying the utilization of specific technologies and systems.

However, in the API economy, this term has grown to denote a set of methods enabling a piece of software to communicate with a specific end system by calling these methods. This communication enables you to retrieve data from those end systems into your applications – and put them back there, with APIs functioning as touch points between your apps and systems.

That sounds easy enough. Where’s the catch?

Getting all the system vendors to unify their approach to integration was a whopper. Getting them to speak the same language is downright impossible. As a result, you need to master all the innumerable methods, variables, data structures, remote calls, syntax and routines of each individual system, which can cause a minor headache to the best of us.

To illustrate, here’s an example of a simple file listing in Google Drive through API calls using Java:

Not that easy, is it now? And this is just one of the many systems you are probably using. To be fully in control, you need to be able to use several of them, with each system speaking its own distinct language.

What can I do?

You can give up on data and do business based on gut feeling. It kind of works for many, or does it?
Or you can hire an army of in-house developers to master all the API-related tiddly bits about all the systems your invaluable data is stored in and waste weeks and innumerable resources developing your own integration solution.

Or you can be clever and avoid all the risks and complexities inherent to the expensive and time-consuming development of a custom solution.

Our Connect Bridge software integration platform enables you to integrate end systems with your apps in a matter of hours, instantly turning you into an integration expert – and conduct a whole data symphony. The term platform is key here, as with over 30 connectors available so far, your integration options are virtually limitless.

Instead of mastering thousands of API calls and data structures, you only need to learn 4 simple SQL statements, which you probably know anyway and your developers say them in their sleep: SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE and, obviously, DELETE. The rest rests on our shoulders, as your end applications do not need to communicate directly with the business systems, but only with our platform, thus saving you lots of time, resources and sweat. With Connect Bridge, Files in Google Drive can be listed through: “SELECT * FROM Files;“ and that just looks easier than through the API, doesn’t it?

I don’t want you to fiddle about with my data

And we won’t, we promise. Because that’s where the magic happens. Connect Bridge doesn’t manipulate your data directly, rather it keeps its distance.

This is how it works: Your business systems keep in touch with the world through web services accepting API calls. What Connect Bridge does is translate the SQL queries from your custom applications to provide, insert, update or delete data, which it receives through standard ODBC, JDBC or web services protocols, to API calls to the listeners of your end systems, thus ensuring perfect data integrity.

Why should I bother at all?

Systems and data integration is not a modern convenience. It’s today’s necessity, as it enables us to quickly and flexibly react to business opportunities. Yet, due to the lack of flexibility of pre-built solutions and the inherent costs, risks and complexities of custom applications, it has been out of reach for many. Connect Bridge, however, enables you to build your unique custom solutions quickly, cheaply and safely, requiring only minimal effort and coding. After all, you don’t need to conduct a whole orchestra to become a recognized maestro. Sometimes all you only need is a simple tune on the IT piano.

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