There are various methods that can be used to connect enterprise systems. Some require minimal IT resources whereas others may involve more extensive coding or customization for deployment.
Application Programming Interface (API)
An API is an intermediary that is used for point-to-point integrations, enabling two different software systems to talk directly to each other and securely exchange data and functionality. Because APIs have a defined architecture and protocol for sharing information, they simplify the integration process. Typically, SaaS PLM vendors will provide customers their own APIs for integration. REST APIs are well-documented, fast, and can be implemented as needed to support greater scalability.
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
An EDI is a standard electronic format that is used to move business documents from one organization’s computer system to another. It automates and replaces paper-based transactions such as invoices and purchase orders. EDIs can be challenging to implement and maintain due to the unique and ever-changing requirements of each business.
Middleware is software that lies between the applications and their operating system. It functions as a “hidden” translation layer between systems, enabling communication and data management capabilities beyond what is provided in the operating system. This approach is used when more complex business rules are needed, or a large volume of data is transmitted between systems. Middleware requires extensive programming and can be costly to configure and maintain. It does not allow for scalability.